A few weeks ago, I wrote about Microsoft’s more substantial E3 presence, and whether or not that would result in a better conference. That article talked about how despite great reveals and consumer-friendly services coming to the Xbox ecosystem, there was nothing that made me think: “people need an Xbox.”
Bigger could very well mean that Microsoft has a few tricks up its sleeves, and will blow us all away with a myriad of unexpected announcements and new IPs. New games would be the ideal outcome, but I’m not sure if that will necessarily happen. With the exception of Sea of Thieves, Crackdown 3, and State of Decay 2 (all due out this year) every new game that was announced at E3 2017 was either also timed exclusives, third party games or console launch exclusives. All of these newly revealed games would eventually coming to a different platform. Nothing announced screamed “I need an Xbox for these games,” and as an Xbox fan, that was frustrating to see.
Xbox is a brand that is close to my heart. I met some of my best friends (that I hang out with regularly) by playing online games in Halo Wars. I spend a lot of time playing with my family members who live across the country and most nights find me gathering with friends for some Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege or Halo 5: Guardians. I play a lot of PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch, but Xbox One is the console that gets the most use in my household. Between the myriad of apps, the people in my life that use the console, and the exclusives that I enjoy, there are plenty of reasons to use Xbox One.
Unfortunately, I’m suffering from the lack of exclusive games. I love Sea of Thieves. I’ve sailed the high seas for countless hours, and the adventures with the Enthusiast crew are some of the most memorable gaming experiences I’ve had in years. When Microsoft is on fire, the Xbox brand really shines. We have some solid games coming to the console this year. State of Decay 2 is shaping up to be a great sequel to one of the most underrated games on Xbox 360. Crackdown 3 and Ori and the Will of the Wisps are also scheduled for release this year. Each of these games offers a unique experience for Xbox One owners. The problem with Xbox is that the exclusives are few and far between. Last year, Xbox One only had three big exclusives; Halo Wars 2, Forza Motorsport 7, and Cuphead. Sony and Nintendo, on the other hand, really put Xbox to shame.
Last year, Sony had excellent titles like Persona 5, Nier: Automata, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Knack 2 (It’s awesome, please play it), MLB The Show 17, Gravity Rush 2, and Ni-Oh. Nintendo had a stellar year with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, Splatoon 2, and Arms. Being a PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch owner proved to be amazing. When it came to The Game Awards last year, not a single Xbox game was nominated for the coveted Game of the Year award. That’s just it, nothing on Xbox One released last year deserved it. Cuphead was fun, Forza Motorsport 7 was another excellent installment, and Halo Wars 2 was okay. Truthfully, Xbox One’s 2017 was the weakest year since launch, and that’s troubling. Console experiences should be getting better as time goes on, not the other way around.
I mentioned that besides Sea of Thieves, Xbox One is getting sequels to State of Decay, Crackdown, and Ori. Sony and Nintendo once again are killing it. In a few weeks, God of War will be launching, followed by Detroit: Become Human in May, and the highly anticipated Spider-Man in September. Nintendo already released Kirby: Star Allies last month, but the console will also be getting Mario Tennis Aces, Bayonetta 3, Super Smash Bros., as well as ports of Wii U games like Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, and Hyrule Warriors. Not only that, there are significant DLC expansions for Splatoon 2 and Super Mario Odyssey coming sometime this year.
As a video game fan, all of the games I mentioned make me excited. As an Xbox fan, it’s absolutely upsetting. I’m supporting a console that doesn’t seem to get many games. It’s tiring to see a new game being released, only to see “coming to PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch.” Xbox needs to have more relationships with other studios and publishers. Marketing deals are great but how many people will go out and buy a new console for some early DLC? I wouldn’t.
Marketing deals only benefit gamers who are already invested in the Xbox One ecosystem, and no one else. What happened the last time Xbox secured timed exclusivity for a video game? Everyone seemed to turn on the brand. Rise of the Tomb Raider, one of the best action games in the last few years had a rocky road to launch because Microsoft, Square Enix, and Crystal Dynamics weren’t transparent with the exclusivity deal. This led to the game’s lackluster sales on Xbox One. That’s a shame because Lara’s last adventure was stellar. Microsoft needs to talk to publishers and work with them to bring games to Xbox One. So many RPGs and Japanese games have an audience that would play them on Xbox One, but they never end up on the console. The assumption that Xbox owners won’t play these games is absurd to me.
E3 2018 is two months away. That’s close, but I’m concerned about Xbox. I’m usually optimistic, but it’s not wrong to approach the event with trepidation. I want nothing more than for the Xbox brand to have a “winning” year. They are sitting on so many wonderful IPs that aren’t being used.
- Blue Dragon
- Fusion Frenzy
- Jet Force Gemini
- Sunset Overdrive
- Voodoo Vince
New IPs are ideal but using dormant IPs are also welcome. Microsoft has so many franchises that I would love to see brought to life again. Phil Spencer knows fans want more games, and I have faith that he will deliver. I want to be able to look at the Xbox brand and feel proud to represent it. I want to talk about the next best exclusive that will come to the console. I want Xbox to be successful, but unless E3 2018 is a knockout, I think this will be the last straw for the Xbox One. Only time will tell, but Xbox needs to truly blow all of our minds to succeed. The clock is ticking. In 66 days, we’ll know what the future of the brand will be. All we can do is hope that Xbox One will be a console worth supporting in the coming years. I’m ready to find out. What about you?