It’s no secret that PlayStation has been dominating the console scene for a few years now. Once a very competitive market, it now seems that PlayStation is pulling away from the pack by leaps and bounds. As a Microsoft fan, I have always had Xbox products and have always had confidence in those products until recently. I am worried about Xbox’s future.
Xbox One – Xbox One S – Project Scorpio
Xbox has a lot to be proud about with what they have done recently. The hardware that Microsoft has been pushing out has begun to show that initiative side of Xbox that as a fan I have not seen since the Xbox 360 days. Finally, Xbox was going to make a comeback with the Xbox One S in what seemed like scene dominated by PlayStation hardware for the last 3 years or so. With the Xbox One S, we can now play in beautiful 4k resolution. It was glorious. Then, Microsoft made a splash with the Project Scorpio. Fans like myself were salivating at the opportunity to play games on this new machine. The raw power and ability that game developers will have with this hardware is exciting to contemplate.
In an age where PlayStation and Xbox are constantly seen to be in a “console war,” it looked like Xbox was finally in the position to compete. Along with that, Xbox has already added features like Games with Gold, Xbox Game Pass, backwards compatibility, play anywhere, and is developing a way to offer digital game refunds. Those are fairly solid reasons to own an Xbox console. There are lots of older games to play along with great online support via the Xbox Live Gold subscription. These are just some of the reasons I have always been an Xbox gamer, but recently Xbox is giving me cause to be a little worried about their future.
There is no doubt that Xbox is innovating with its hardware, but as a gamer I keep asking myself, “Where are the games? Where are the exclusives?” As a gamer, this is the driving force for why I enjoy Xbox. They have had great first party games in the past. I enjoyed the heck out of the retro styled platformer, ReCore, but where are the other games? We need big IPs. Gears of Wars and Halo are great games, but they are very old IPs. Where are my Horizon Zero Dawns? My Spider-Man? Even a good MLB Baseball game? Additionally, powerful losses like Scalebound being canceled and Lionhead Studios getting canned make an Xbox fan pause for a moment. As a gamer I have to ask myself, “Where are the games?”
Hardware Alone Won’t Sell Consoles
I’m only saying what every Xbox gamer has been thinking: Hardware alone won’t sell consoles. As an Xbox fan, I want Microsoft to sell consoles. I want them to do well, but having a top of the line system like Scorpio does me no good if I don’t have any games to play on it. I thoroughly enjoy being able to play older, backwards compatible games on my console, but that will only keep me satisfied for so long. If I have played the story mode 20 times, I am probably not going to play it again for the 21st time. There have only been one or two games that ever did that for me (Here’s looking at you, Skyrim and Mass Effect). I need new games and new content to adventure through.
Project Scorpio is being marketed as a “premium” system for those gamers who want a premium experience. So, they are not only missing the typical demographic of average gamers, but now they are building their whole future around a relatively fewer amount of whales rather than the fish. I am sure there will be plenty of people who purchase the Scorpio. It looks like a beast of a machine; but for me, the average gamer, I will probably pass on it. Why? Where are the games I can play on it? Also, I can purchase an Xbox One S for less.
Another big red flag for me was the Destiny 2 reveal. Yes, I understand that Activision and Bungie are joined at the hip with Sony, but not even having a presence at the event was telling to me. Maybe I am reading to much into that particular event, but I have to ask myself why Xbox isn’t getting some of these exclusive deals? Why are they not even invited to some of these reveals?
Another point to be made is that Bungie will be limiting the PS4 Pro version of their new game, Destiny 2 to 30 frames per second. Bungie has made the claim that this is due to hardware limitations. The potential of Project Scorpio being able to handle it, however, is quickly diminished when you realize that players competing online at 60 FPS against others at 30 FPS will be construed as highly unfair. If online multiplayer games are limited to 30 FPS, to preserve parity, will that dock another point from Project Scorpio? Not according to Xbox’s Larry Hryb.
Destiny 2 is going to play great with the best gaming controller. @ Jet Center Los Angeles (FBO) https://t.co/XCIkNwNMt7
— [ ? Larry Hryb ] (@majornelson) May 18, 2017
Recently, Phil Spencer has come out saying that Microsoft is not focusing on exclusive game deals. This is worrisome for me, and I am really at a loss. Maybe Xbox will knock it out of the park at E3 and show us some amazing games that they are working on. That is my only hope. Without the games, what does a monster of a machine like Project Scorpio do for me? The numbers speak for themselves. Games sell consoles.
What do I want to see from Xbox? News. Give me some good news about ANY games that you are working on. Something. Please for the love of Xbox gamers everywhere give us something to be excited about besides hardware. I don’t know if Xbox is being especially secretive about their E3 line up, but my only hope at this point is that they blow me away with their new IPs. This doesn’t mean Halo 6 or Gears of War 5 (even though they said there would be no new Gears or Halo). I need some new games to play. Why Xbox is not going after exclusive deals for games?
The only thing I can think of is that they are working at the problem, not having good first party games, in a backwards sort of way. Perhaps they hope that when they display all the power and capabilities of Scorpio, developers will take note of that. Maybe game developers will line up to make games for their console because of the functionality and power of the machine. To me, that is a major risk. I do think developers are already taking note of Project Scorpio, but I’d rather have Xbox chasing down those exclusives instead of waiting for those studios to come knocking on Microsoft’s door. As an Xbox gamer, I am worried, and I feel like they may have missed their target audience here. The average Joe isn’t looking for a premium gaming machine, they just want to play games.
I may have to buy a PlayStation sooner rather than later.
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