Can We Finally Put to Bed the Idea that MS's 1st Party Selection is Weak?

This has been bothering me for a while now because I admittingly enjoyed my time with the Xbox One.

I do not want this to devolve into a list war, but looking at MS’s offerings in the twilight of this gen, we can argue easily that their portfolio represents an unrivalled genre spread.

Say what you will about Halo 5, it is still unrivalled in the console space in terms of gameplay

Forza Motorsport (we got 3 of them this gen) was thoroughly enjoyable for me, as is among the best simcade experiences on consoles

Forza Horizon 3 and 4 provide a gameplay experience unique to consoles

Gears 4 and 5 are still untouched as 3rd person shooters

Halo Wars 2 is a great console RTS with no analogue on PS4

Ori 2 can be counted as a premier Metrovania title (that ending still chokes me up)

Killer Instinct was a great way to kick off the generation, and still can be counted as a top fighting game.

I understand that the volume may not have been there. But when I look back, I can say that FPS, TPS, Racing, Opening world racing, fighting, RTS, and Metrovania genres have been well-served.

Of course, the epic single player AAA game has been an area of weakness. However, I think we should perhaps be more nuanced when we talk about the strength of Sony’s 1st party (it is strong). I believe that it is perhaps too heavily focused on the single player grand narrative experience.


Yes. That narrative is no more. We went from ‘Xbox has no games!’ to ‘Please papa Phil, let PS5 owners get some your games.’…


I would argue that aside from last year, post-Phil takeover they have made massive strides; so much so that the idea that “Xbox has no games” has been a disingenuous meme for years now. This year, in spite of Infinite’s delay and COVID ravaging the industry, we received nearly a dozen first-party titles if I’m not mistaken. I recently posted that their output is also critically higher than Sony’s, so the Geoff Keighley “quantity over quality” meme is equally rubbish. And that all was before yesterday. Now, with the news from @Shpeshal_Nick that there are two additional acquisitions that they know of ongoing, all bets are off.

For the record, I don’t want Xbox to buy all the studios out there; it’s not feasible, it’s not good for those that might lose their jobs due to redundancy, and it’s not good for the industry at large (remember, we only got here because of competition). I only have a few more studios that I think would still be very beneficial to their security in these insane times.

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Disagree I think the last few years have been the worst time period in xbox history, thankfully they invested and this shouldn’t happen again.

The breadth of genre is not in question I guess what they’ve not had recently or barely this gen is really big, highly acclaimed exclusive games that are really mainstream. FH 3 and 4 are great games but a LOT of people won’t be bothered by a racing game. Ori is a great game but again not something that has mass appeal.

Now with Bethesda/Zenimax they have the strongest lineup of 1st party studios and ultimately games without a shadow of doubt. Nobody touches them here unless Sony buys some really big player…


I think that the breath of the offerings is often questioned. The HaloForzaGears trope is still kicking. I also think that the too much emphasis is placed on single player story-driven experiences currently, which serves to discount other genres.

MS Flight Simulator should be up for GOTY. As should Ori.

Mainstream focus is mainstream AAA story-driven games. But remember that in 2013, it was all about Indie games! Again, this is not to discount that MS is offerings in that space is not poor.

Yeah, this year puts the narrative to the grave. They released quantity, quality and variety. One of the top publishers of the year no matter which metric you use.

And it’s only starting


Entirely agree. But they’ve not had a breakout multiplayer title either - I guess you could count SoT there but nothing else. They’ve had a lot of very good games that have a niche but in fairness to their critics not had a ‘must buy’ for millions of average gamers…be it a SP or MP game.

Anyway - they have so much IP now - and what I’m stoked about is IP I really care about and so does the general gamer too…

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Xbox has too many games!

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You guess we can count SoT? It has something like 15mil players, lol. If we can count Spiderman on PS4 as a success I think we can surely count SoT… :stuck_out_tongue: Halo 5 also did really, really well wrt player counts.

I dunno what a ‘must buy’ means when you give the games away on GP anyhow. I genuinely think a lot of what you are speaking of comes down to an overwhelming bias favoring PS4 the whole generation. Control is an example of this, where it was attached to PS4 for marketing and was seen as an incredible game (deservedly so!), but Quantum Break was trashed for being, frankly, almost the exact same type of game yrs prior. I think the latter got trashed largely due to its conflation with MS’s ‘tvtvtv’ push.

I feel like it’s not a quality gap so much as an ‘enthusiasm in numbers’ gap. Even when they have amazing games like Ori, for instance, a lot of the time that isn’t generating enthusiasm for huge portions of the gamers chatting on the internet, so those experiences aren’t sticking in ppl’s heads so prominently as they do when 3 times as many ppl are enjoying Spiderman all within a month of launch. That makes it an event that ppl socially take part in, which MS games don’t garner due to too few install base compared to the competition.

I’d also add that even big events in the industry can generate that enthusiasm spike, as we saw yesterday. Everyone on podcasts was asking each other ‘where were you and what were ya doing when ya heard the news?’, which is a legit hyper rare occurrence in gaming. I feel like ppl finally saw MS puff its chest for the first time maybe ever and now ppl finally see how much power they have when they opt to use it. I think that while it’s true we gotta wait for that wave to hit our shores, the Tsunami is real, its in eyesight and it is HUGE.

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Oh yeah I agree with loads of this. The console that leads gets a positive perception bias for its games. However, most of Sony’s exclusives do nothing for me. But I can still accept that Xbox hasn’t had anything with that mass appeal and quality combined this generation. Their best games have been more niche affairs. Ori is never going to be as prominent as Spider-Man or TLOU and not sure that’s bias…but it’s not totally down to numbers bias. OG Xbox has a tiny install base but Halo was so good and hit such widespread appeal that it was considered a must own. It’s fair to say Xbox game output this gen has not been good enough overall…it started well but hasn’t maintained it, mainly because MS stopped investing in Xbox for two years…

But yeah yesterday was huge, Xbox has a huge library of IP now and an army of studios…

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Army is going to bigger, they ain’t done yet. Sony has awoken a monster that they aren’t ready to deal with.

I think people will poo-poo MS first party until they have a game that sells 10 million units. Even then, Sony fans will say they’ve got 4-5 games that have sold 10 milion+. There’s no winning that competition.

They won’t sell hardly anything with everyone having GP. SoT has had 15mil players iirc. Halo 5 is above 10mil iirc too. Sony has more big games, true, but the barometer being sales is not the best one anymore strictly speaking.

It’s always been a matter of taste (and goal post moving ) , if it isn’t quality of games or output , it’s that they aren’t a certain type and after all that will be that they are also on pc (or other systems ) so they “don’t count “. Ultimately I’m just happy microsoft seems to have finally found the “niche” they want to occupy and it’s one that gets me games like fable , forza horizon , flight sim , avowed .

Actually sales are a huge barometer. $60x10 million = $600 million revenue for just one game. That funds 2 AAA games.

Not for GP games it isn’t.