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Letters from the Front

Throughout the generation, Microsoft has been struggling to shake off the memes about its portfolio quality, the mistrust of the 2013 original Xbox One launch, it’s failure to match Sony. For people, like myself, who are already invested in the Xbox ecosystem, Microsoft is doing a lot for us. As an Xbox consumer, I have never been so excited to see where the Xbox brand goes next.

When you look at Microsoft through the lens of something bigger, Xbox is upending everything around us from an industry standpoint. What Microsoft is doing benefits us and the world that surrounds us, Xbox Game Pass is the best thing that’s out right now for Xbox and PC gamers plus an approach to digital content that moves with you throughout different generations. Even if you’re not a fan of Microsoft or Xbox, you can’t deny what they’re doing is pro consumer and for the benefit of us all. Xbox Game Pass subscriptions are climbing, recently, just passed the 10 million mark and Microsoft is dominating Steam charts amongst other achievements.

While the exclusive side of things aren’t all that great, they don’t always resonate with critics and fans alike, they certainly seem to resonate with a lot of people out there. After two years of being out in the wild, Sea of Thieves is a tour de force on streaming platforms and on Steam. As of this publishing, Microsoft holds a ton of weight on the Steam charts, which is an indicator that there are fans of what Microsoft is doing. They’re developing experiences that people want, even if critics overlook them. Grounded, for example, has been sitting on the Iron Throne for a few days now, despite being an early access title and other games like State of Decay has been rising in sales despite being on the market since 2018. And of course, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, is a tour de force on PC. A long awaited return.

That’s right now though. What about the future? In the July Xbox Showcase, Microsoft gave us a roadmap of what to expect from them in the future and leading up to the launch of the Series X. The games shown there joins an expansive list of the best upcoming Xbox games to look forward too throughout the next 10 years. It’s hard not to be excited when you have games like Avowed and Hellblade II.

One of the most exciting things about Xbox is the guarantee that every single game from the Xbox One generation will carry forward to the next generation of hardware and gaming. It’s something that we have taken for granted.

Beyond that, there is Project xCloud and that all games can be remotely played via Xbox Console Streaming. While XCS does have some limitations, the promise of xCloud closes that gap completely, streaming supported games from the hardware to your phone directly. Project xCloud is now confirmed to be a part of Xbox Game Pass and will feature over 100 titles at launch with more coming in the future. This opens Xbox to new markets in countries that Xbox wasn’t all that big in, new hardware form factors, major AAA titles and gaming on lower end rigs. Every Xbox exclusive ends up in Project xCloud, it is the grail of console gaming.

I really like that Microsoft is finally paying attention to us PC Gamers, they’ve been investing into the PC space more than ever before and it’s a great relief. Xbox Game Pass for PC is directly built for PC with Windows 10 in mind and has a new Xbox store app, alongside, the new Xbox Game Bar which is by far the most useful thing on PC. The fact that Microsoft has begun investing in PC gaming and the PC platform more than ever before is a great thing and shows that they finally care about us, the commitment they have is outstanding.

Alongside a huge investment in PC Gaming, next generation is here and next generation is coming at full speed with the Xbox Series X being touted as the most powerful console ever built. The raw visual improvement may not be fully realized at launch until a bit later down the road as we enter the new generation, it shouldn’t be long until we start to see the hardware being taken advantage of. Future titles will push greater visual fidelity while using the features within the Xbox Series X like ray-tracing. Hellblade II looks like a visual feat from top to bottom, with the reveal trailer, being constructed from the engine.

In the end, Microsoft is investing in Xbox more than ever, giving us a more promising lineup, with a focus on powerful hardware. Microsoft is pushing the industry forward and services like Xbox Game Pass and Xbox All Access amongst other services will make this generation of Xbox more accessible and more affordable, there is no greater time to be excited for Xbox and what Microsoft is doing.

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