Starfield could be the best game ever made - it won't change how this industry talks about Xbox

Originally published at: Starfield could be the best game ever made - it won't change how this industry talks about Xbox. - XboxEra

There’s been a tonne of conversation online about Xbox in recent weeks, particularly since the release of the critically panned Redfall. I’ve been hesitant to even write my thoughts on the insanity being spouted online, purely because of the optics of it –“Oh, you have Xbox in your websites name? That means you’re all fanboys.”

Well guess what folks, we’ve heard that line before. We already got some delightful commentary when we gave Redfall an 8.5, and yes, we know – as an outlet, we’re an outlier on that one. (Thanks for sticking with us, Dualshockers).

The nutshell is, if I can admit XboxEra is covering this industry from the perspective of a team that primarily plays on Xbox, in order to serve that audience, maybe it’s time for the rest of the industry to consider that maybe, just maybe, they’re looking at things through the lens of PlayStation?

But hey, this is my corner of the internet, and I’m choosing to say this out loud – even if it’s not the wisest idea.

So let’s set the stage and just say it, once and for all:

It doesn’t matter what Xbox do, it doesn’t matter how many great games they have and do release, they will always be the target for this sort of criticism.

It feels good to hate Xbox

If you’ve been a ‘fan’ of Xbox for any number of years, these lengthy, often negative pieces of writing, paired with click-bait headlines and framed as opinion pieces are a normal part of the coverage of the platform. What’s probably made your eyes roll into the back of your head at this point, is just how relentless they are of late – even from the journalists that are supposed to be the adults in the room.

Microsoft and the Xbox platform have to operate in a world where for every AAA multiplatform game that exists, they are competing against a ratio of gaming outlets and journalists that will always choose PlayStation first. They are, after all the most popular platform (that isn’t a Switch) so you might think that quite naturally, writers and websites will think about their SEO rankings, and always choose the platform that is most likely to be searched for online. Except, Xbox, at least according to Google Trends, is typically searched for more – worldwide. Surprise, these negatively slanted articles really do get clicks.

If we look at the recent reviews of Jedi Survivor, when publisher EA would have asked outlets what platform they’d prefer their review code for coverage – over 75% of reviewers, given the choice, chose PlayStation, out of the 142 reviews available on Metacritic.

This is par for the course – the majority of multiplatform reviews since the Xbox One generation lean the same way. I think the reason for this is pretty simple – it’s where the majority of folks working in this industry prefer to play.

Microsoft and by extension, Xbox, will never be able to compete with that. Even when Xbox, as a platform, produce incredible titles like Hi-Fi Rush, you’ll see the narrative subtly shift online. This is now a Bethesda success, and not something Xbox should be allowed to take credit for.

Even then, despite how genuinely great Hi-Fi Rush is, it doesn’t ‘count’. It’s not “AAA” enough. It’s cartoony. It’s for kids. Microsoft didn’t release enough games in 2022, so we can’t give them too much credit. And so on.

When Redfall released 4 months later and was then subsequently critically panned, it then switched back and became a Microsoft failure. And now, according to the internet at large, Xbox is once again, doomed.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

The reality is, for many practicing members of the gaming media, Xbox is simply not the platform they like to spend their time with. Sony and PlayStation, as the market leader, have set the expectation as to what types of games should “count” as quality 1st Party releases. Microsoft’s entire business model is more broad, with those types of games being merely one flavour amongst the buffet they’ve laid.

So many video games feel more like movies in the way that they are constructed now, and while it’s not to my tastes, if you want to win Game of the Year at the Keighly’s, that’s what you need to have on your platform. That’s now the expectation for what AAA gaming is, and it all combines to create where a world where only these kinds of games truly “count” towards success and recognition.

Microsoft, and by extension Xbox, haven’t really fully leaned into that world – yet. They tend to have far more variety in genres as an actual publisher than most, interestingly earning them an award for best publisher in 2022 across a myriad of genres of games released in 2021.

It is very rare for a publisher to average above 80 for its releases across a single calendar year. But how often does a company average above 85 ? Never…until this year.

2022 Game Publisher Rankings: #1: Microsoft (Xbox Game Studios) – Metacritic

Following the release of Redfall, Phil Spencer recently appeared on the XCAST via KindaFunny and made the following statements, all loosely around the very topic I’m trying to discuss.

“We’re not in the business of out consoling Sony or out consoling Nintendo”

“There isn’t really a great solution or win for us. And I know that will upset a tonne of people. But the truth of the matter is when you’re third place in the console marketplace, and the top two players are as strong as they are and have in certain cases very discrete focus on doing deals and other things that make being Xbox hard for us as a team – that’s on us, not anybody else.”

“But I know some people want to hold us up as just being a better green version of what the blue guys do. I’m just going to say, there’s not a win for Xbox in staying in the wake of somebody else. We have to go off and do our own thing, with Game Pass, with the stuff we do with xCloud and the way we build our games.”

Phil Spencer, XCAST (KindaFunny)

When I heard this from Phil, I wasn’t surprised. Personally, I think this is the closest he’s come in the many years he’s been at Xbox in actually saying (almost) exactly how he feels. Because frankly, he’s right.

According to the now constant stream of negatively slanted Xbox articles, across both YouTube and the wider games media, this is the “last chance for Xbox”. Outlets and pundits are constantly and consistently fuelling the idea that these two platforms must be forever and always compared, with one always “winning” against the other. Sales must be compared, the games must be compared, the approach must be compared, and one platform, when all is said and done, simply has to lose.

And ‘lose’ Xbox will, because it’s simply held to a very different standard than the rest.

Remember Tomb Raider?

I’m sure you do. Back when a very underfunded Xbox division bought a years exclusivity for Tomb Raider to prop up their gaming slate, the gaming media ripped them apart. It felt almost furious, personal even – with gaming journalists going all in on Xbox and the developer in interviews. For how long? Is it coming to PlayStation? Can you say when? Why won’t you say when?

Eventually, they relented, finally stating that yes, it’s a timed, one year deal. That’s all normal in this industry, right? Happens all the time. And yet…I’ll challenge you to find that some energy from the media when it comes to the Xbox version of the Final Fantasy VII Remake. Or the Xbox version of Street Fighter V (which also had a side effect of removing an entire niche of fighting game fans from the platform entirely).

Now all eyes turns to Starfield

Following the aftermath of Redfall, Starfield can apparently no longer be just a good video game. 8 out of 10 isn’t going to cut the mustard. The media cycle must continue, and the seeds are now being firmly planted that if Starfield is anything but the second coming, Microsoft and Xbox would have failed again. Am I alone that in thinking that this is the most ridiculous, nonsensical way of looking at this industry?

When Phil said that “There is no world where Starfield is an 11 out of 10 and people start selling their PS5’s” it’s my opinion he was referring to this bizarre narrative that exists where Xbox must be doing better than their rivals in order to succeed. He also said the Xbox One generation was the worst to lose. The underlying point being, in this digital age, consumers are far less likely to switch from one ecosystem to another than they were in previous generational transitions. The reality is, since the Xbox One, the majority of video game media switched right alongside the public in 2013 and because of that, Xbox will always be a secondary or even tertiary console.

Why can’t Xbox just be doing pretty good on their own merits, you may wonder? Why do they need an answer to whatever PlayStation game is flavour of the month? Damned if I know the answer.

Either way, Starfield sure is coming, and initial looks at the title are promising. If it’s 30FPS, I’m sure that’ll make for a good headline, of course framed in a negative way with no understanding on the type of game engine, or it’s complexity that makes that extremely likely, at least on console. What if it’s not native 4K on Xbox Series X? I’m sure that’ll be covered reasonably, with minimal hyperbole.

Yep, Starfield is on it’s way alright. It’s going to be a videogame, and afterwards, regardless of whether it’s amazing or merely okay, Xbox will make more of those.

Xbox is doomed, indeed.


Im just going to go dark on gaming news starting a month before this. Thats what the state of gaming media has led to.


Spot on,

The current industry and media personalities are at an age where their first console was probably a PlayStation and that nostalgia is over powering. They see it as MS encroaching on the rightful gaming king of Sony and take offense to it even though MS has been a gaming publisher much longer then Sony has.

Most are not of the older gaming generations like myself that started out in the mid/late 1970’s. I’ve been a gamer decades before Sony entered the market, I have a vivid memory of the kind of crap Sony pulled when they got in this market and how they changed gaming to be much more of a Fan sport type mentality. I also remember how Sony acted when trying to strong arm people with Beta, CD’s, Blu Ray, etc. Sony is NOT a good company even though most companies are not very good either most other companies at least TRY and make it seem like they are giving the customer something.

If you are an Xbox fan I’d just highly suggest un plugging from mass gaming communities and stop following every bit of news. Sit back detach from the internet a little more and just enjoy the Xbox eco systems and games.

Xbox is NEVER going to be media darling, they are most likely never going to be a sales leader, Xbox will always get dunked on by Sony fans and Sony fans are click happy nut jobs so the media will always cater to them.

While that sucks it will never change, But as Xbox fans you can enjoy all the great things about the Xbox ecosystem and the absolute best value in gaming and the largest first party in gaming.


Great video! This is a distillation of what you, Nick and Jesse were discussing last week. This kind of video is something I wish the team would do more often- editorials about the state of Xbox and gaming in general, through the eyes of an Xbox enthusiast. These are words and sentiments that aren’t being broached in public, andnow that they are out there, hopefully debate and discussion will rise.


Thank you for the video. I basically stop lisining to xbox podcast because all I hear other than AFK is that xbox is doom and failing everything it does. Everything being was overblown. get tiresome. It a breath of fresh air to watch a video such as the one you guys just put out. Because ofgit I going to renew my support with Patron. I believe it ok to to speak out with thing people might be disappointed about. But most go to a level of hate. At the end of the day is just games,


Coincidence that just as you made this video public, KindaFunny released its first Xcast after the Spencer video, and the title of the video is, “Does Xbox Need Great Games”.


Subtitle implies “It does not have such games”


More context “Does Xbox Need Great Games (that look like what Sony puts out?)”


The irony is Sony has hardly put out anything this year we know nothing of their future lineup and they are just coasting on brand loyalty.

If things were fair we’d see tons of articles on WTF is up with Sonys output this year.


Yeah, Xbox already put out 1 great game in Hi Fi Rush and another solid one in Minecraft Legends. However, no one will acknowledge that because it doesnt fit their narrative.


You can extend the narrative. Previous years has been rethoric of “no cross-gen, we believe in generations” to put a shadow on the politic of crossgen for the Xbox launch. Mocking all the free next gen patches for Xbox games, whereas doing the same as Director Edition (see Ghost of T.) that you ask full price for it. Retropedaling on the cross-gen for producing remakes and sequels that have ps4 versions or cancelled ps4 versions. Claiming that SP games are the royal options and funding 10 GAAS games at the same time.

Etc, etc.

You can do whatever you want when you control the narrative and the medias.


I can guarantee that this works. Back in 2013 after the disaster that was the Xbox One launch, I got fed up with the discourse around Xbox and completely unplugged from forums and the gaming media. The 6 years that followed were great since I could just play games without having people tell me how bad they were, and by extension, how bad I was.

Back then the gaming media basically declared “It’s ok to bully Xbox and their fans”, and that’s exactly what happened. Now, it seems like it’s happening again and it’s all so nauseating.


I’ve been a long time Xbox fan, i’ve been on gaming forums since the PS2-Xbox era, and i’ve lived the X360 era where the Playstation 3 and Sony were mostly a meme during it’s first years, and MS was what Sony is nowadays, with pretty much everyone praising them, including me.

So i can’t agree on that hate against Xbox no matter what they do, but it’s true that they haven’t been doing that good since 13-14 years ago.

I do agree on the Tomb Raider thing, but MS and Xbox came from some not great years, the Xbox One announcement and release was meh too. But some years before this, there were a lot of moneyhats from MS that nobody cried about, because they were really trying and doing great.

As for Starfield, it needs to be great, first because by the time it releases, it’ll be almost 2 years since last Xbox AAA big hit, and second because it’s a Bethesda’s SP RPG! these games are normally competing to be the game of their generation, of course it has to be huge, i can’t imagine Baldur’s Gate 3, or the next Naughty Dog’s SP AAA game being a 8/10 game. Not even asking it to get the Oblivion or Skyrim scores, but 9+ at least for sure.

Now, if Starfield is a hit will everything change for how Xbox is seen? No, of course not, just like sales wise, it’s not going to go from selling very badly to beating Nintendo and Sony, but it’s a step, a big step.

If Starfield is a hit, and FM is a hit, and we join 2024 with Avowed and Hellblade 2 being a hit too? all this in under 12 months? Well that’s a very different scenario, and yes, MS needs this already.

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Quite. It feels like the media is trying to sidestep the PS5 game drought with faux concern about Xboxs significantly more stacked lineup.

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Good thing they have a show Wednesday, I would expect there’s enough for them to talk about afterwards.

Thank you for this very thorough write down of the situation. I totally agree with all you said and feel the same way. As I’m not working in the media my feelinga are maybe not as strong to everything and I have a more relaxed view on everything but I find it really interesting that 75% of reviewers choose the ps5 version with muliplatform games. That is especially effective in marketing most games as ps5 games since metacritic always shows the most reviewed platform cover art on their site. I think Xbox must only give out Xbox codes for their games and leave PC at least for the reviews behind. Just so reviewers get more in touch with their Xbox’s again. Also the Tomb Raider exclusivity thing and the comparison with PS 3rd party exclusives always bugs me out. Why does no one press Sony to reveal how long these deals are?! I agree it’s a rigged game and most people in media just like playstation more, for whatever reason. But Xbox has all the power to turn things around. They have the hardware, they have the studios and they have the money. I hope they used the time well these past few years and answer in 3 weeks why everybody should care about them. I will always be a fan!


Starfield is going to be a great game. It’s Todd’s dream game, he isn’t gonna fuck that up.

I for one can’t wait to see what it all looks like now, in June. It managed to exceed expectations of playtesters, so it sounds quite promising. I’m stoked.

And I have a feeling a lot of these media folks are gonna enjoy some good crow once they realise they shouldn’t have doubted BGS.


Starfield was fabulous when Sony was trying to buy excusivity. It can only be improved.

Also, all the tech behind Skyrim is upgraded, we are talking about a scifi version of a RPG made for ps3 ,the changes will be enormous.


I don’t think that’s true at all. The gaming press is not somehow biaised against Xbox in any way. It’s just that it’s been a while that they haven’t had a big hit. Naturally people are getting fed up.

Great video!! I agree the gaming media favors PlayStation. I think the gaming media knows PlayStation trolls love dunking on Xbox and they drive their revenue for their websites. I want Xbox to finally get it and make sure all their games are high quality and aren’t easy targets to be ridiculed in the future. I love that their games are on multiple platforms like the Steam Deck and ROG Ally and that they will be on Nvidia cloud streaming. Xbox will be fine. In June it will be 5 years since Xbox announced they bought Undead Labs, Compulsion, Playground and Ninja Theory and created the initiative I hope we get to see more of what these teams have created

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