Headlines. Sorry. As a PlayStation fan, I don’t feel threatened by Microsoft’s E3 event and announcements, but they honestly have a chance for a quality successor to the Xbox One.
To get the obvious out of the way, Microsoft surprised no one with a Gears of War, Forza, Halo showcase. The rumors of new titles in each of those series linger EVERY year because casual gaming fans only know of those franchises and never dream of anything more. It’s enough to keep them happy. I personally have no excitement for those three games, especially when the original developers and creators have nothing to do with these new titles (though, people love Forza Horizon almost as much as they do mainline Forza titles). The point of this post isn’t about these unexciting filler titles, it was about the potential Microsoft is finally building for itself.
For one, their digital backwards compatibility based on NON-streaming technology is still something I am jealous of. The fact that these titles live as digital purchases and assuming they are smart enough to create a similar architecture for the Xbox One follow up, this is a way to create and build massive gaming library’s that will inevitably live on in the post console world... if they’re smart about it. Their design has allowed previous generation games to play better and faster almost automatically. The titles they are creating for the Xbox One are also uncapped and are scaleable as we’ve seen with One X enhancements, so a future console compatible with these same games and the ability to further enhance these titles would be a genius move.
Odds are, this has been the long and painfully slow plan of Microsoft as they’ve tried to salvage this generation. It began with failure and they’ve tried to make lemonade out of it, but it’s an uphill battle. Planning for technology and getting developers prepared is one thing, but the other problem is content worth playing, and third party games don’t have the same weight anymore. Buying timed exclusives isn’t paying off any longer, and so that leads to the second piece of exciting news for the future for Xbox fans; Aquisitions.
Now, the companies the announced they acquired today aren’t game changers. They basically owned the studio behind the Forza Horizon series and the State of Decay developers. Then the team behind Contrast and We Happy Few aren’t selling systems on their own. Hell, fans roasted Ninja Theory back when they made Heavenly Sword for PS3, and they are going to deal with their own spilled milk with being acquired by a big company after talking about being the champion of AAA indie creations. But the fact is they have internal teams ready to create content. Content they lacked for years and has been their Achilles heal when comparing apples to apples with Sony.
If I were a Microsoft fan, I’d hope this was the start of more aquisitions. More investment into original ideas and content. Not every game has to be Halo or Gears of War. Look at Sony. For every God of War or Last of Us there is a Detroit Become Human or Bloodborne. Something that appeals to a niche audience, but is quality and something fans want. Variety. A library. A reason to turn on that system.
Keep your head up, Xbox fans. You’ve got some hope. I’ve got no reason to be scared as a PlayStation fan, but at least I won’t feel pity for that guy sitting next to me taking about how his girlfriend just bought him an Xbox.