My thoughts on the way that Series X is launching

Controversial point of view incoming!

The short version: I think Gamepass isn’t a system seller. Certainly not at the moment. There’s little reason for the general public to buy a Series X anytime soon.

Longer version: This will be controversial here, I’m sure, but unfortunately for Microsoft, Gamepass is a great deal without a killer app. People who aren’t already Xbox players will not be convinced by the current offering. Yes, once you have a subscription, you understand how great it is to be able to just grab any game, yes it’s brilliant to be able to play games you wouldn’t pay for but this does not sell a $€£500 piece of hardware. There’s no need to correct me with the “Microsoft only care about subscribers” line, in this thread, I’m talking about them wanting to sell xbox Series X (I assume Series S isn’t coming this year).

Without a big game on launch day people will not be swayed by Gamepass. “You can play Double Kick Heroes and Yakuza Kiwame and Wasteland 3” (those are the gp games i have played most recently). That does not sell a system versus “you can play the new Halo.” Sorry, it just doesn’t. Those games are events, not to be missed. People buy systems for those experiences.

I think Microsoft are in real trouble this launch, and you can see online that other people either don’t get the value proposition of gamepass or they don’t care about it because they’ve already decided to get a PS5. Without a really big compelling title, Gamepass is great to have, once you’ve already bought a console.

I am a huge xbox fan, have played all the Halo games, bought the expensive controller, bought a launch day Xbox One, an S and now an X, had 3 360s too (premium, Elite and S) and even with that level of brand loyalty, I don’t know why I should get a Series X. If I’m thinking that, then the general public definitely aren’t convinced.

System seller: something that you have to play, something you cannot get anywhere else.

What Microsoft are offering is, unfortunately, not selling systems. What they’re currently offering is “games you can play everywhere else but we have them in a subscription”, maybe the best version of multiplatform titles, but probably roughly the same as what you’ll see elsewhere for the next year or two. The major 3rd party releases coming to Series X will be on X1/PS4, that will likely be what defines these games, and make no mistake, there are so many X1&PS4 consoles out there, that getting those versions working optimally will be the main concern for a 3rd party publisher.

While Microsoft have bought an impressive number of studios to make games for them, there aren’t any ready for launch day AFAIK. Why am I buying Series X? The best argument I’ve got is that I’ll probably want to get one before they drop the price/release a revision/ bundle some other things in. Other than that, I’ve got “play Gears5 again in slightly higher fidelity” if I zoom in on the screen like digital foundry does, I’ll be able to see some differences.

So, if you can, change my mind. I want to feel enthusiastic about getting a Series X, but what is there to be positive about on launch day, not 2 years later? I fully expect that once the current generation is dropped that Series X will be delivering noticeably the best version of multiplatform software, in 2 years time we’ll have Halo and the other first parties will start to deliver what they’ve been working on, but right now in September 2020, what is there to convince me or anyone else to buy one of the most expensive consoles ever?

For the record, I don’t think that Sony are offering much at launch either, but at least people considering their system have a couple of things which look to arrive at or near launch, which they seem to be enthusiastic about. Those games aren’t for me, but at least they appear to be available imminently.

It’d be better for everyone if both manufacturers delayed to 2021.


There will ne Not delays, because the Consoles are in mass Production right Now.


You have some good points, but I can’t say I agree with the thesis. Xbox Series X will be the most powerful console at launch, and the value proposition of the box with some Game Pass months included will be enormous, especially if they secure another big third party for launch. Xbox will have some trouble with the Halo delay, but everyone is having issues with COVID-19, including Sony: Ratchet was supposed to be a launch title and it’s now “launch window” (which probably means next year), and Spider-Man is supposedly coming out in 2 months and gameplay is nowhere to be seen too. Both consoles are coming in hot and in limited numbers, they’ll easily sell out to the tech enthusiasts that buy the shiny new hardware quick. The mainstream only joins when the big hitters arrive (almost never at console launch basically) and the console prices start going down.


For me personally I couldn’t really care less about launch line up. Sure it would be cool to play something “next gen” but then I’d just go back to playing Overwatch or Minecraft with my friends anyway. There are enough incentives for me to get one without even considering games.

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OP is absolutely right with his analysis of the launch proposition. Its not good. I think Xbox know this too. I sort of hope they have a show to address this and show some good stuff off - they obviously aren’t going to have a secret launch game but at least show off the power and features and some games - Assasins Creed for example.

But yes I’d bet the series X first year sales are way, way, way down on XB1. And that PS5 is only marginally down on PS4. I think in the longer term the risk for Xbox is whether 3rd parties fail to support the series X…if they can keep sales high enough to get that support then I think in 2/3 years time their proposition will be unbelievable. But I worry there is a perfect storm brewing for them…Halo delayed…Nvidia new cards released at very competitive prices…no exclusive games at launch…when Halo arrives - how many Xbox gamers might decide to go PC route…or indeed non Xbox gamers…

This is for me where I worry - I’m not interested in how popular something is or how it sells but I am worried about Xbox losing 3rd party support in some sense…especially until xcloud is running series X hardware - until then their support is very tied to selling consoles and having volume to support 3rd party partnerships.

Why am I buying a Series X? Because it’s the most powerful console whose 3rd party games at the very minimum will not look worse than the competition. Then there is the hardware itself which promises to bring quality of life improvements like fast switching between multiple games which is huge imo. Ironically, Sony have yet to demo or even talk about such a feature (that I’m aware off). And the games will be there. Halo being delayed hurts but ultimately it’s for the best. Personally The Medium looks great and third party games like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Cyberpunk 2077 will no doubt look best on Series X. Pretty hyped actually.


What’s up with the clickbait titles, I thought we were getting away from them.

How can you say this wilth full certainty though, Game Pass has a ton of games that appeal to a lot of people and the fact you can buy a brand new console at launch and have something like 300 games to play from day one is going to be massive. They will be doing TV ads for this where the casual audience will see all the fun they can have with Game Pass and a next gen console.

Xbox Series S and Game Pass is going to be a weapon IMO this upcoming holiday, can you imagine buying a $299-$399US console as a parent and not having to worry about picking up any games because of Game Pass that will be big.

I also do not think casual gamers look for upcoming big games and follow the news cycle like more hardcore people so they only see the games when they’re at the store or trailers online they don’t actively look for new games. Word of mouth is important for this.

The idea isn’t you can play X big title it’s you can play this range of titles including big X title. You need to stop thinking that Game Pass alone will sell the console because I don’t think anyone thinks that, it’s Game Pass PLUS a cheap price that will sell the console.

See this is where you’re getting caught up, “online” people are the smallest market of the consoles, they’re the loud minority and full with console war BS.

Just like every single new console launch to play games better, not to play new games. People would 100% still buy the console if it didn’t launch with any first party exlcusives. You don’t buy a new GPU expecting a brand new game to launch with the new GPU, you don’t buy a brand new iPhone and expect a brand new app day 1 to take advantage of the new CPU/GPU.

The main reason why people are in this state because of how there is no comparison from current gen to next gen, to showcase the hardware. It has nothing to do with launch games. People are saying why buy a Series X because they haven’t seen gameplay compaired to Xbox One because that certainly would give you a big reason.

What MS needs to do right now is get some next gen gameplay and have it side by side with current gen and get the devs to talk over how much different it is and how they could improve on stuff compared to current gen.

You can argue PS4 didn’t have a good launch game line up yet look how well it did, launch line up games mean zip. Do you even hear people still talking about current gen launch line ups? no.


This is the main thing for me, games like COD/BF/Farcry should all look best on Series X and that to me is the main selling point. Right now I don’t really need to see it because it should just be the case down to the specs. But I do understand people are that lenient and want to see proof which is ok.

I know Halo is coming, I was completely ok with how it looked at the showcase the gameplay looked fun AF which is the main thing for me but delaying it is probably best and gives me more to look forward to next year. I am honestly just really excited to play Cyberpunk 2077 on Series X, now I know there’s most likely no patch day 1 for it but if they use dynamic res/unlocked FPS it will just play better due to the increase in power so just that excites me haha.

Not everyone bought a one X. There are plenty of people like me who are wanting to upgrade from a base Xbox one or a one S. There are plenty of people who just want a powerful console. There are plenty of people still who want the console they will be able to play halo on even if it is delayed. I don’t expect it to do gangbusters and I expect the ps5 to outsell it but it will do just fine. The best selling launch titles for either system will cod, FIFA and assassin’s creed. Cyberpunk will do well. If you want to play the best running version of those games on console the series X will probably be the console to get.


Thanks Thomas, that’s something I hadn’t thought of.

This is another thing people are forgetting, those one the OG XB1 are in for an eye watering upgrade. I’m actually jealous in a way haha. Once you start to see comparisons between XSX and XB1 these thoughts about it not being worth the purchase will evaporate instantly.

Just look at these examples

(just look at these two comparisions next to each other those mountains wow…

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I am currently gaming because of Gamepass!

Selling system is not top priority of Xbox anymore.

Just my view point🙃

Selling console isn’t that important for MS right now. Of course it still have importance, but it’s not the main goal anymore.

I remember a tweet of Hugues Ouvrard (ex Xbox France lead), where he was giving some intels about how the market works. One of the result of a professional poll about how people choose console was :

  1. previous console owned
  2. what console my friends are playing
  3. Price.
  4. exclusive games (to give an example, my 14 years nephew wanted an xbox one x last christmas because it’s “the more powerful” console, he play most of the time Fortnite, Fifa, and nintendo games).

So clearly MS can’t win the console selling war against PS.

They adopted a different strategy, wich is certainly more in line with how the gaming markets will evolve.

Actually MS gaming division is doing well (money coming in as results says), and have plan on the long run.

The goal of XBOX right now is to take the leading on the “Netflix of video games” place. Once you get that leading place you are on a good place alike Netflix or Spotify for example.

Basicly even if they had some misses on the communication departement and some problems due to pandemic, they are changing the narrative little by little.

Xbox was the weaker console —> now it’s the best hardware. No Japanese games --> now they’re coming more and more. No good (and not enough) exclusives --> lots of studios acquisition, last exclusive had good review, lot of 1st games announced for the next two years No games —> gamepass

Basicly if we look on what we will get once all the communication will be in place, it looks convincing enough :

  • Best hardware for invested players, the best place to play 3rd party games (the one that sell the most : COD, Fifa, etc…)
  • Probably Serie S as the less expensive console for casual players
  • Best service : Gamepass - Xcloud,
  • Possibility to play on your phone or tablet
  • Lot of 1st party quality games coming on the next two years.

Yeah, I think that’s probably as good an answer as you can give, though you’d hope “won’t look worse than the competition” won’t make it into the marketing materials.

As for those games, I’m interested to see what Cyberpunk looks like, but that’s another reason to delay for me - the next gen patch is a 2021 release!

As for Assassins Creed Valhalla and The Medium, a couple of cross gen multiplatform titles (as is Cyberpunk really, though it’s ambition makes me think the current gen versions will struggle to deliver and next gen will be the “real” version).

So we’re left with fast loading. Eh.

Sorry, I saw another thread with a similar title and thought I’d do an opposing view.

Obviously I can’t say it with certainty, but in Lieu of having a market research team at my fingertips, I am basing my impression on a number of things, firstly that exclusive titles have long been the strategy used by console manufacturers to differentiate themselves, that’s a proven strategy that’s been used for 30+ years. Next, Microsoft themselves are using that strategy by buying up 20 odd development studios and have instructed one of them (343) to deliver a hugely expensive exclusive title. What has happened is that hasn’t panned out and is key to my argument that they are in trouble and seemingly only have Gamepass as a differentiator at launch.

That’s not the case, it’s only this upcoming gen where backwards compatibility has been an out of the box thing. Current gen there were some cross gen games and at launch the ps3 had backwards compatibility but they removed it from the hardware because it cost them money and wasn’t a significant driver of sales. Console sales have been tied to new and exclusive software for almost every other console launch.

Some people will buy new hardware whatever the case but most people need convincing, and that is the crux of why I think Microsoft are in trouble.

Yeah, that’s again what I’m trying to get at. Lots of Xbox fans think that Gamepass WILL sell the console. And I agree with you that people will not get excited enough by a range of games, people get excited by specific things. If you just want to play lots of games cheaply, buy a 360 now, all the games are super cheap. As for the cosole price being cheap, if they knew they could be guaranteed to be cheapest they’d announce the price now, not be stuck waiting for Sony to announce their price. As a result, these things are unlikely to be much more than 10% different in price, 20% at the most. If Sony goes 500, Xbox will be 400 is the absolute best you can hope for, but I’d expect 450.

I think both consoles will sell all they make for months.

What MS need to do better is marketing. For me that’s the one area they failing at badly.

Hey man. I understand how you can see the current strategy as being ineffective when It comes to launching a console.

Yes. Against a Series X. Series S however, Is how you change the dynamic of value. Gamers see big titles as our lighthouses. Big thing we can see on the horizon that help us shell out the bucks.

For a casual gamer or a family situation, I remember my mum and dad couldn’t afford a Sega Mega drive and a single game when it came out in Australia. They waited for a price drop on a bundle with 6 games included because they had to make every dollar count.

I understand not seeing a system seller with the consoles as a hinderance for the potential of success.

Value, however, is where the general electronics market is showing growth. I think that if you give it a few months, we will see how both sides are going to show value in their offerings. I’ll be back then but I feel a lot of the internet commenter takes on what is happening in regards to next gen is a bit " Forest for the trees" to me.

Well, sure. I think that there are a limited number of indicators that I have access to, and online is a big part of it. What you can say is that at the previous launch Microsoft were absolutely getting battered following the DRM unveil and the inclusion of Kinect. I think they learnt an expensive and painful lesson there and to Phil Spencer and indeed Microsoft’s credit, they have dramatically improved Xbox’s fortune but do not have the market share that they had.

We can probably trace a lot of that market share loss to the reaction of the online community, those strong opinions form a general impression people have. I think there’s every reason to suggest that Microsoft are attempting to appeal to that audience and aren’t doing so well.

As noted, it was an extraordinary set of circumstances, the longest generation ever - people wanted new hardware more than ever before - and their main rival decided to commit commercial suicide 4 months before launch. A big part of Sony’s success this gen comes from the disaster that was the xbox one launch.