Microsoft just because if you take Horizon out of the equation, everything Sony has is timed exclusive and will come to Xbox later. Halo Infinite, Forza Horizon 5, Microsoft Flight Simulator, Grounded… All those are permanent exclusives and besides, Horizon Zero Dawn was Generic Boring Ubisoft-esque Open World™: The Official Video Game so I don’t have much confidence in the sequel.
It is pretty close but Psychonauts 2 should be on both and would probably include Rachet as it was only just released. As @BRiT said, Game Pass is what changes it all for me. Of the Sony list I might have bought 1 to 2 games. On the Xbox list I will play everything and have already preinstalled a lot of them.
That was one great thing from e3 this year. All the games that I saw from 2021 I knew I would play and many went up for preinstall after.
Imo they would be on par if HFW will be this year, anyway imo you should list all timed indies or delist them all (and from this standpoint Xbox is significantly ahead, ID@Xbox is stellar), they are not big movers in the grand scheme of things like AAA games (STALKER 2 is an exception from the rule).
Then we have:
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
Ghostwire Tokyo (timed)
Horizon Forbidden West (maybe)
Microsoft Flight Simulator
Age of Empires IV (PC only)
Forza Horizon 5
MLB The Show 21 and Psychonauts 2 aren’t exclusives, so they aren’t relevant for this discussion.
Xbox line-up suffers from the completely barren first half of the year and the pc-only nature of AoE 4 (which, I repeat every time for consistency, is a glaring hole in their communication strategy of “play wherever you want on any device”).
PS on the other hand has a big question mark for the fall, HFW and I think also Ghostwire are at risk for a 2022 delay.
Xbox has not a first half in the first place, this is the reason why this year we cannot call “victory” anyway, even if Halo is a success like 3 and FH5 surpasses its predecessor, we should not absolve barren periods this long imo.
For me, it’s easily Xbox. Forbidden West is going to be a monster hit for sure but it’s not even 100% locked for 2021, and everything else on that list is small potatoes (for me, no offense to anyone who may be hyped for some of those games).
Forza Horizon 5 looks absolutely stunning. Obvious GOTY material as far as I am concerned. Halo appears to be shaping up nicely too, I’m cautiously optimistic about its prospects.
Not everything has to be a competition. I’ve been thinking about the Xbox and PS portfolio and I think personally a difference is becoming more and more glaringly obvious. Its not a rule and there will be exceptions and its as ever a bit shades of grey…but here’s something I think.
Sony’s first party lineup predominantly focusses on games that are essentially films. They are in their own right pieces of art - and tell stories and have points - and their production values are sky high. They are rather like the Oscar winners of games. But they often are more focussed on that than developing a core and additctive gameplay loop.
Xbox seem to be really focussed on the gameplay loop over just about everything else. Halo Infinite - the MP has clearly really focussed on this, FH5 again similarly with their events and smart ‘signposting to content’ too, their partnerships all revolve around games that can be solo’d or coopd but focus on the game element - yes they have stories and yes they will have deep worls but they are still (at least on paper) potentially quite gamey games. Their RPGs like Starfield all have devs stressing the ‘deeper than ever RPG mechanis’ its not an RPG lite but with a vast cinematic story like Sony might do - it will have the vast cinematic story but at its heart supposedly be the most hardcore RPG Bethesda have done yet…
You can see the pattern. Its not a hard and fast rule. But a general pattern is to be seen. Cinematic filmic games that take the art form to new levels or deep and innovative game mechanics.
All of Sony’s Cinematic filmic games play better on YouTube. You can adjust playback speed to your liking, faster or slowing pacing. You can skip over sections as you want too. The cost is also far better, since they’re free there.