Phil Spencer has turned Xbox around from the mistakes of 2013, the water has somewhat resided but the stench is still there and Microsoft has given him their blessing as he is now the executive VP of gaming. As a return, Spencer will be tasked with fixing the problem that Xbox has had since the beginning of this generation: There is no exclusives.
With the Xbox One X, Microsoft has gained the lead in terms of power and hardware but they’re missing the games to show off that power. As we walk into the receding point of this console generation as I feel this generation is coming to a close in about two years; the Xbox One is far behind the Playstation 4 in terms of hardware sales and I’m not sure what’s the sales of the Xbox One because Microsoft no longer puts out hardware reports but I bet it’s a good gap between the PS4 and Xbox One. And I bet it’s not going to get any better in 2018, when I take a look at the exclusives roster it makes for some real good depression.
In 2018 alone, Sony will offer up not just Spiderman but also God of War, Detroit: Become Human, and much more as major releases from great studios and Sony has been locking onto third party deals for Red Dead Redemption 2, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 ( Rumored title.) , Battlefront II, and much more.
The lineup for this year on the Xbox end of things are games that were delayed for the most part of 2017 and games that were announced years prior: Crackdown 3, Sea of Thieves, and State of Decay 2. Sea of Thieves and Crackdown 3 look really interesting but I must admit that State of Decay 2 looks boring and that lineup doesn’t look so great when it compared to Sony’s lineup. The cancellation of not just Scalebound but also Fable Legends were blows that wounded the Xbox One and Microsoft has a whole and definitely blew a hole in the exclusive lineup. Microsoft has been on the defensive for the most part of this generation, but now with the X in their pocket they can now react and it is time to fix this. I think it will be a challenging task for Phil as he tries to find games that will not only attract people but also put the fighting spirit back into the Xbox One.
Microsoft has had a great year no doubt with the Xbox One X. I think they know it’s quite important to have the exclusives because if you don’t have the exclusives then the power of the X becomes mute, sure third party games might use the extra power of the X but it’s not guaranteed but if you have exclusives then you can always use that extra power and it will help in the long run and in more ways than one. There has been numerous acquisition rumors that popped up as far back as January, Xbox needs exclusives so these type of rumors has intensified.
Some of the things I’ve seen going around has of late are completely ridiculous and outright unthinkable. Microsoft will purchase EA? Fat chance. Although, they might buy some unused franchises EA no longer needs like Dead Space or Medal of Honor. Microsoft will pick up Steam? Very plausible and it would be in their best interest to gain back the trust of PC Gamers and ditch Windows Store once and for all, also Microsoft might acquire PUBG corp. is not going to happen but the fact that they’re making the rounds across the internet is something to keep in mind. I haven’t heard anymore rumors but I expect to see something related to this once E3 rolls around or something along the lines of this very soon. What better to fix the exclusive problem is by acquiring studios, nailing down some timed exclusives, and releasing new franchises that not only become successful but also become as iconic and legendary as Gears and Halo.
But when it comes to acquisitions, MS has had not such a stellar record when it comes to acquiring. Microsoft brought Rare in 2002, Lionhead in 2007, Bungie which they acquired in 2000, and Mojang in 2014 and you know what they all have in common: They’re either no longer exist or Microsoft has either turned them inside out except for Mojang. Bungie is no longer with Microsoft, Lionhead was closed in 2016, and Rare has been a disappointment when Microsoft had them churning out games for the Kinect until recently with Sea of Thieves, you can say that Rare is coming back. Forza does excellent, the ID @ Xbox program is excellent for indie games like Cuphead, Tacoma, and the upcoming games like Ashen. But you can say games like Ashen and the upcoming games from Microsoft won’t put a dent in Sony’s lineup, it’s a problem that needs fixing.
Square Enix announced that the third Tomb Raider is on the way but it’s yet to see if that game will be timed exclusive like Rise of the Tomb Raider. I bet it won’t though as it limited the sales and people just lost interest when it came to PS4 a year later, and rumors are going around that Perfect Dark might make a comeback which I think is likely but also unlikely because too much time has passed, the audience won’t possibly be there, and people will remember the Perfect Dark reboot on the 360 and that wasn’t very good. But I might be wrong.
I know we will expect something at E3 2018 and I hope they show alot more and hopefully fix the exclusive problem; acquiring new studios, pushing out exclusive games and timed exclusives, nailing marketing deals similar to what Sony is doing with Red Dead Redemption 2 and the new Call of Duty is the way to do it. But it will take alot more than that to catch up to Sony and their lineup. I don’t think Microsoft is worried about Nintendo as Nintendo has always kept it to itself, but the Xbox One needs some killer games instead of the usual churn out.