Apologies for a long, rambling and somewhat personally anecdotal post! If that annoys you please ignore…
I’ve been speaking to a few lapsed gamers I know over the past 24 hours, people who bought the Xbox One but either drifted away from gaming or ended up gaming on the PS4. This is very very anecdotal, but I feel that the view is seen around the internet and probably echoes my own opinion too. That is that…Monday, was the most pivotal day in Xbox history. And here is why…
When Xbox entered the gaming market it was seen as a plucky underdog challenging Sony who were established with the PS2 being a major breakthrough gaming product that didn’t just sell to avid gamers but basically anyone under 50 with a pulse (and some without!). The Xbox was sort of pitched as something for the hardcore gamer with Halo CE and an ethernet port. They brought a new take on gaming and certainly felt like they were trying to bring a PC gaming feel to console.
The 360 launched and Xbox did remarkable things initially and felt like they were the big boys in gaming suddenly and with MS backing and the huge force behind them it felt like Sony had a real battle for ‘living room control’. We all know how things slid in the second half of this gen and the Xbox One…
Now since probably 2009/10 Sony were seen as the upstarts trying to re-establish themselves and slowly but surely they put in place a roster of games and IP and a new style of first party games that once again spoke to a huge market. The PS4 was such a massive success and it felt like Sony were strangling the market again with their obvious advantages - so much so their next console was marketed on PS5 advantages slogans…
Whilst its easy to say Xbox were off doing their own thing with their increased studio collections and gamepass - it probably somewhat misses the point that Sony were more or less in control - they were able to dictate the pace and set the tone so much so that most gamers clung onto the old hardware and publishing models because Sony were trying to push that (or pretending that’s what they were doing at least). Many simply couldn’t shake the feeling that whilst Xbox had a new lease of life - that they weren’t really all in gaming - they were doing it with more resources but still not the same commitment they had when launching the 360 and rightly or wrongly it felt a little half baked.
The run up to launch of the Series X/S whilst infinitely better than the XBO also fell into this trap of being a bit ‘half in’ with Sony clearly aggressively pursuing very popular content and Xbox either being unable to or less willing to broker these deals. Whatever we might say about Xbox strategy or plan during that phase it felt a bit flat as someone who prefers their ecosystem. And I wasn’t alone - people I knew were feeling that way too. Not in a console wars way but just like 'Xbox is offering great value but its all a bit ‘ok what next’. That sort of thing was common in conversations I had with friends in person but especially over XBL. You can disagree and say Xbox were great and fine and that these people are console warriors but I know that not to be the case - they are people who follow gaming less than I do and certainly don’t care who sells the most consoles. I have to say I sort of agreed with them - whilst I felt Xbox had amazing value with gamepass and a good diverse set of studios they had the right stuff for a traditional console cycle but weren’t pursuing that. For their gamepass ecosystem they were short and I didn’t see how they could make that service exciting and enticing to the masses - not just great value for people in the ecosystem but exciting and fundamentally unmissable…
Well, on Monday they did just that. They showed their commitment to gaming in a way I didn’t expect and not sure anyone did. And anecdotally, in person, online and across social media I see a very different view of Xbox, gaming and gamepass than I did a week ago. There is enthusiasm and excitement from the brand beyond the usual die hards…and I’ll be honest - I’ve not seen that probably since 2013 - not on this scale and not in a way that actually aligns with what Xbox are trying to do. This isn’t just people who want to buy a console. This is people who want to get in via PC or even via their phone. People who queued up to buy a Series X but especially a Series S (who definitely wouldn’t have bought an Xbox this time).
Xbox has reignited people’s excitement for the brand IMHO. And I’m not sure you can put a price on that.
I agree because that is when we should be seeing actual gameplay from many of Microsoft’s announced games as well as Bethesda’s and it will start to become more tangible that Xbox has a crap ton of games coming down the pipeline.
Well said OP, just look at the image that Microsoft put out today about the gamer being the center and Xbox will come to you and not the other way around. It is totally different compared to 2013 and really hammering home that the Xbox ecosystem will be the best place for gaming and they are backing that up with actions.
I share that experience, many people around me suddenly have their eyes on Xbox for next-gen. That’s everyone from PC-players who are taking Xbox Game Pass seriously, people looking to get an Xbox as a 2nd console, a few families getting Series S’es for the kids and even one who is switching completely from PS to Xbox (he’s a massive Fallout/TES fan).
The PS-fanbois I know or come in contact with are all terribly upset, so you know it has to be a real game changer.
I see many reactions on Twitter and in YouTube comments that demonstrate your point. Excitement for the console and brand, obviously, but actual commitments to buy the console. Some people switching over from PS5 to the Series X. And some people committing to buying a Series X alongside their PS5.
There are a few good reasons why Microsoft would not want to commit to having all these games only on the Xbox. It does make sense to have some games hit a platform like the PS4 which is sold over 100 million. Not so much for the PS5 that have sold only preorders at the moment.
But one really good reason is for the hype factor that will occur around each game announcement whether it’s at E3 or anywhere else. They’re going to show a new game from one of these talented developers, everybody’s going to be impressed by it, everybody’s going to want to play it, and then at the end when they have everyone excited they’re going to announce the game as being exclusive to Xbox. And they could do that for four or five games in a row.
Yup they’ve gone from a platform that can begrudgingly be ignored to one that has unbridled potential. They now have some devs with a track record of being trendsetters and record breakers. I’d, machine, and Bethesda are simply too large to ignore. It also fills many of the gaps in the Xbox dev portfolio. They are missing sports and Jrpg’s at this point. Due to licensing though it seems like sports are best left to 3rd parties.
Agreed on OP. This is why I say that Xbox 1st party games wont be on competing platforms. This move with Zenimax was a very, strong move. It put Microsoft arguably on level ground with the other big 3. It strengthened the Xbox brand and its studio line up simultaneously. By purchasing Bethesda, I feel, they’ve finally locked in the image theyve been attempting to portray since they’v entered the console gaming ring. OG Xbox was a FPS, racer, RPG powerhouse too, for those who remember. Somehow they lost sight of that. By purchasing Bethesda, they’ve effectively locked that image in. Its permanent now. It makes me feel confident as a consumer of Xbox that I know the kind of games I enjoy can only be found on the platform. They keep rocking like this, theyve got me for life. No cap!
It’s going to be very interesting once these games release because I do feel other platforms will start questioning why they pay full price for high quality titles. I think the previous reason is reason for big push for gamepass because if I wasn’t in ecosystem I will start to question why am i paying full price or waiting for titles when I can pay a monthly fee to have access to high quality titles