Should Microsoft Be Concerned with This Year’s Xbox Exclusive Line-Up?

Within the last few day’s GameSpot has released YouTube videos showcasing the year’s announced exclusives for each major platform. The PS4 showcase was the longest of the bunch at a length of 7:33. They followed it up with the PC list, which came out at 3:25, but keep in mind: there’s no way – with a multitude of online distributors and indie games that only made it to PC – that they could list them all. The video for Xbox One lasted an astounding 1:29. Incredulous that their lineup could be so thin, I compared it to the other videos. The announcer did cut them short, spending 10 seconds or less on each game but even if she had put in as much time into each title as the PS4 narrator did, she would only have ended up at 2:09. The top comment on the PS4’s video was “Now make a video for the Xbox. Oh, wait…” And the comment section for the Xbox One video was a bloodbath. To no-one’s surprise.

The problem here is not the war between the two factions, in the scheme of things, that doesn’t matter. The fact that one console is outselling the other might trouble Microsoft’s execs when they’re sitting in their boardroom, but it doesn’t affect us when we’re sitting down with our controllers in front of our televisions. But there is a part of this war that permeates into our lives, and it’s that buying a console is an investment in a company and their platform. When we drop $300-400 on a system, it comes with an expectation that there will be content for it that will drive us to the edge of our seats. That developers will rally around a system and it’s technology and put their time and dedication into making incredible games. AAA games, games that flip a switch in us and make us fall in love – whether it’s with the gameplay or the story. And although there will always be players that stick to one system or another, what’s more important is which system the developers stick with. Whether it’s about money or signed contracts, exclusivity not only sells consoles for Microsoft or Sony but it leads consumers to make decisions on which consoles we’re going to buy, which device we’re going to invest in. This generation, the scales seem to be embarrassingly unbalanced.

I will fully disclose that I am fortunate enough to own both an Xbox One and a Playstation – but I’m fully cognizant of the fact that not every person is in that position. Some are forced to decide, some-time following a console’s launch, which one of the system’s they’ll stand behind. This decision-making process is multifaceted. Brand loyalty, which system a player’s friends are going to be on, and game exclusives all factor in. All of your friends might be on Playstation, but if you’re a dedicated Halo player the choice is out of your hands – you’re going with Xbox. But looking at the video length for announced exclusives alone, Xbox seems to be on the “losing” side of this battle.

Larry Hyrb announces “new games available for Xbox” every day, but how many of those games launched across a dozen platforms simultaneously?

As an Xbox owner I can’t help but feel a little disappointed. When it’s launch was announced, I knew where I stood in regard to their current IP. If I was buying a console at launch I’d be buying a Halo box. And after that, Forza was the only thing I felt I had to look forward to. Later, I felt 2017 was going to be a fantastic gaming year for me, but only because I had Scalebound on the brain. I couldn’t imagine myself even glancing at my PlayStation for weeks following its release. Then Microsoft squashed it. I can’t say I’m pissed at Microsoft because I wasn’t promised anything, but when I placed the pre-order for my Xbox it was with anticipation of playing that game.

If you ask me why I decided to buy an Xbox, it was for the social superiority. PlayStation had been plagued with online service outages, sometimes multiple times a year, while Microsoft hadn’t had any. Considering the cost of online service was the same on both platforms, Microsoft’s online service was objectively better (more reliable), and the majority of my friends said they were going to buy it. They didn’t. They all boarded the PlayStation train, and I was “pressured” into getting one. Every multiplayer game I own, I own on PlayStation. The pride and joy of my Xbox is Ori and the Blind Forest, and I feel to say that is sad. My favorite exclusive on my $400 Xbox is a $20 game that was later released for PC. The PC that I owned before purchasing my Xbox and am currently using to type this right now.

Brand loyalty can be argued when it’s Apple vs. Android. But when it’s an investment of my hard earned money it’s about more than that. It’s about reliability of service and access to incredible games. Now, the majority of games I play are available on both consoles so that’s not a driving factor. But I cannot help but feel a little regret when I look over at my Xbox One; lamenting that this generation, Microsoft had done me wrong. I got behind them. I used my $424 to tell them that I trusted them to bring amazing games to market, ones that would make me proud to own an Xbox, a system that would be on every night running so hot it risked the red rings of death. But I haven’t had this system running long enough to cause last generation’s defect. Even if this generation did have it – my console would be safe, and I consider that an issue.

tl;dr
– When GameSpot made videos of this year’s announced exclusives Xbox’s video was 2:09 and Playstation’s was over 7 minutes.
– The console war stops when I sit down to play, I don’t care what you’re playing as long as I’m enjoying myself.
– It seems that this year Microsoft did not reach out to as many partners as I feel they should have. Their first party line-up is as strong as ever, but their third party exclusives are lacking.
– You can argue about brand loyalty, but when you’ve invested $400 in something you expect there to be games for you to play.

@WASDmeta

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