What We Want From Xbox in 2018

Some more exclusives would be a good place to start.

Opinion by Kat Bailey, .

This piece is part of our series examining what we want from each other major platform holders in 2018. Follow the links to read about Nintendo and PlayStation.

I'm gonna let you in on a little secret: I spent more time playing my Xbox One over the holidays than any other console. In fact, I don't think I even so much as turned on my Switch.

The arrival of The Witcher 3's Xbox One X patch was enough to push me back into CD Projekt Red's sprawling RPG; and this time, it actually stuck. I wound up spending the better part of my week off ogling the absolutely gorgeous environments as I chewed through sidequest after sidequest. Graphics may not mean what they used to, but they sure help.

When I wasn't playing The Witcher 3, I was playing a little game called PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. While not exactly up to par with the PC version, at least had the benefit of being easily accessible when I needed a break from slaying Drowners and Grave Hags.

So in a sense, Microsoft's big gambit for 2017 worked: The Xbox One X's upgrades and "exclusives" were enough to get me playing their console again. Maybe not enough to get me to drop $500 on a mid-generation upgrade, but enough.

But will that be enough to close the interest gap Xbox is suffering against the Switch and the PlayStation 4? Maybe, but Microsoft has some work to do first.

Yes, I'm aware Sea of Thieves exists.

The Xbox One Needs Better Exclusives

Microsoft's failure to develop new IPs has been well-catalogued by now. Where Sony and Nintendo have each managed to develop successful new franchises, Microsoft has continued to ride the diminishing returns generated by Halo, Gears of War, and Forza. They even went so far as to try and revive Halo Wars.

Xbox One apologists could point to its strong third-party and indie offerings; but even in that space, Sony has a decided advantage thanks to its connections to Japan. Two of 2017's biggest games—Nier: Automata and Persona 5—never made it to the Xbox One. In fact, unless you count PUBG, not one Xbox One console exclusive made it into our 20 Best Games of 2017.

That trend is unlikely to shift in 2018 given the disparity between the install bases for the PS4 and Xbox One, but there are ways that Microsoft can continue to chip away at Sony's built-in advantage. They can start by taking a page from Naughty Dog and putting Coalition on a new IP rather than continuing to churn out Gears of War sequels. They should also continue to lean on the ease with which PC games can be ported to Xbox One, which has allowed them to steal away the likes of PUBG and Path of Exile.

One way or another, Microsoft will need to step up their game heading into the back half of the generation. The Xbox One X was a positive step forward. Now it needs some games.

Forza Horizon Japan

We're back to Forza Horizon for 2018, and there are rumors abound that it will be shifting to Japan. Mike and I agree: This would be amazing. Aside from being a beautiful country with a distinct aesthetic, Japan has a rich history with auto-racing. Who wouldn't want to go all Tokyo Drift in an open-world Japan featuring Tokyo, Mt. Fuji, and bullet trains?

More broadly, Forza in general is probably the best thing Microsoft has going for it at this point. Every Forza game is a technical showpiece for Microsoft, and the Forza Horizon games in particular shine with their emphasis on open-world racing. Forza Horizon on the Xbox One X will no doubt be one of the best-looking games of the generation. And a Forza Horizon set in Japan would be that much better.

More Kinect Games

What's that you say? Kinect is dead and buried to the point that Microsoft isn't even producing the adapter anymore? Well nevermind then.

Please don't let peripherals like these be Microsoft's centerpiece at E3 2018.

No New VR Headset in 2018 (That Goes for the HoloLens, Too)

Microsoft has been teasing the potential of the HoloLens on the Xbox One for ages now. Rumors that a VR headset is on the way to the Xbox One have been rampant for years as well. Here's a nickel's worth of free advice for Microsoft: Don't bother with expensive peripherals in 2018. You've got bigger fish to fry.

Just look at the PlayStation VR. Sony's headset isn't what you'd call a failure, but Sony has a number of marked advantages over Microsoft, among them a rich history of cutting edge hardware development and a much larger install base. And even with all that, PSVR sales have been just okay.

Two years removed from the supposed Year of VR, it's apparent that the technology is still in its infancy. For every genuinely amazing VR experience, there are a dozen or more half-baked tech demos. Worse, with the emergence of Pokemon Go, investment is starting to dry up. At least year's GamesBeat conference, Epic's Tim Sweeney stood on a stage and practically begged developers not to give up on VR.

In light of all this uncertainty, Microsoft would be well-served to hold their fire and let the AR and VR landscape settle a bit. If the HoloLens (or a VR headset) is a major centerpiece during E3, I will be immensely disappointed. There are so many more interesting places they could be putting their money.

We need more games that look like Forza 7, basically.

More Consistent 4K and HDR Standards for Xbox One X

To wrap it all up, I think my biggest wish from Microsoft—and developers in general—would be more consistent standards for 4K and HDR on the Xbox One X. As evidenced by Microsoft's own list, the standards are all over the place, with some games supporting "true" 4K, some only supporting HDR and frame rate increases, and some sticking to upscaled "checkerboard" rendering. Assassin's Creed Origins actually looked markedly worse after its Xbox One X enhancements arrived.

Even games that ostensibly have the total package can vary wildly. Middle-Earth: Shadow of War looks amazing on the Xbox One X, but Madden NFL tends to look way too dark. Some games like Forza Horizon 3 have very useful HDR optimization tools, but others force you to fiddle with some unhelpful gamma sliders. It's all just a little bit messy.

Hopefully this will all change as developers adjust and begin building their games with the capabilities of the Xbox One X in mind. But in the short-term, the "Xbox One X Enhanced" tag is at best a crapshoot. If Microsoft wants all those teraflops to actually mean something, they will have to push for more consistent standards in 2018.

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Comments 28

  • Avatar for UnskippableCutscene #1 UnskippableCutscene 2 months ago
    I think the age of exclusives really mattering are slowly fading. With a GTX 1070 holding it's value as it does in this period of extreme cryptocurrency mining, the Xbox One X presents a package that will play games that, between it's hardware and some software optimizing, SHOULD be able to play most games about as well as a GTX 1060 will for the same cost as a 1070 (or two 1060s if you prefer). Between that and memory prices spiking, the Xbox basically needs to be what Steam Machines tried and failed to be: a place to play triple-A games in a highly optimized environment.

    As far as exclusives, I'm not sure any of MS's studios is making anything people want outside of Forza. Their studios are doing things that are both tired (Gears) and new (Rare pirate game) but I'm not sure any of them are really reading the market, and just seem to be doing their own thing. MS is almost better using their money to simply keep games off PlayStation at this point, which is an anti-consumer strategy in the long run, so as a consumer I don't see much point in complaining that the platform "needs more exclusives." I mean, in an ideal world every game would be multiplatform and we can all enjoy everything, but we know Microsoft is only wasting it's time and ending up disappointed if it tries to court the 'otaku' market.

    As for what I'd like to see MS do more of in 2018, is work on Xbox/PC cross-play for more than just Forza and it's other titles. It essentially needs to capitulate a bit on the PC digital marketplace war, and if it's not willing to put it's own games on Steam it needs to let Xbox games work with their PC equivalents on Steam. It also needs to do what it has to do to raise adoption of Direct3D 12. This would help PC gamers primarily (DX12 is less reliant on GPU drivers for many software-side functions, and AMD's driver team is bare minimum compared to Nvidia's much larger investment) , but may trickle-down to Xbox in the realm of better ports (since Xbox One, like PS4, uses AMD hardware and likely forever will unless AMD exploits them the same way that Nvidia did with the OG Xbox.)Edited 2 times. Last edited January 2018 by UnskippableCutscene
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  • Avatar for MetManMas #2 MetManMas 2 months ago
    The Xbox One's gonna need a lot more interesting content both in the way of first party exclusives and third party games for me to even consider picking one up. Personally I've never been a big Halo or Gears fan, and while some of the third party exclusives (whether temporary or permanent) have been pretty neat, I'm not exactly chomping at the bit to play 'em. Like, even if Hell froze over and Cuphead came to PS4, it'd still be competing with dozens upon dozens of other indies for my wallet.

    And while I'm sure it's the console king of 4K right now, I don't exactly have the urge to go out and pick up an XboneX...or even upgrade to a PS4 Pro. I don't have or feel the need to have a 4K TV (Hell, I don't even have HDR), and while I know there's other improvements too I'm fine with my plain PS4 for most games. I know Witcher III doesn't have the best presentation on PS4, but it's still good enough for me.Edited January 2018 by MetManMas
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  • Avatar for Kat.Bailey #3 Kat.Bailey 2 months ago
    @UnskippableCutscene I would agree with you except that everything that has happened this generation directly refutes that argument.
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  • Avatar for Ralek #4 Ralek 2 months ago
    @UnskippableCutscene "I think the age of exclusives really mattering are slowly fading"

    I don't think so. I mean, just look at the article USG published earlier detailing the best selling games on Amazon last year. Besides Call of Duty, all games on that list were exclusives. Looking at the stand-out titles last year, not just in terms of commercial success, but also critical acclaim, you'd find that a majority of them are exlusives of one form or another (aka console exclusives at the very least).

    I'll grant you, that PC is becoming more and more well established, evident in the release of niche games like Nier Automata for example, but despite that console sales are actually thriving for Sony and Nintendo (who just published the best selling system in US history) - arguably the two platformer holders with the best exclusive line-up out there, and also the best exclusive line-up in 2017 since many years.

    I feel like your argument runs parallel to a sentiment we've been hearing for over a decade now, and that so far has proven to be completely off the mark, and that is that consoles in general are doomed. What would Nintendo be without their exclusives? Well, nothing obviously. So, if exclusives stopped mattering, I'd say by all accounts Nintendo should have stopped mattering - as was said countless times before: NintenDoomed!!!

    Alas, they are still around and apparently doing very well, with an approach that is pretty distinct from that exclusives-don't-matter-it's-all-about-the-hardware notion, you've pointed towards. I'm just saying that we have some factuals here, that suggest that exclusives matter, just as much as providing convenient ways to play. That's why consoles exist.

    In fact, I'd argue since consoles have become more PC'like and more dissimilar esp. this generation, exclusives have been ever more important. There is no more cartridge vs optical for example, there is not even any more HDDVD vs blu-ray ... the systems - outside of Nintendo obviously - have become rather interchangeable for most users. I think it's pretty clear that Sony not only had the better marketing, and thus the better start, they just knew that they could sell the system not based on technical merits anymore, but only based on their brand and the games they could offer and in that regard, they did remarkably well. Microsoft didn't get that. They tried to sell the system based on technical merits, like the Kinect and it's features for example. But ultimately, Nintendo really proved that beyond a sliver of a doubt. Once more, it's about covenience - doesn't get more convenient than the Switch right now - and it's about games - and there is no stronger first-9-months-line-up than the one the Switch is home to.

    Finally, gaming as a cultural institution informs identity. Anyone might be willing to look down on "fanboys", but the fact of the matter is that they are a necessary part of this industry. They are the early adaptors, and often the big spenders and they certainly have zero interest in any form of "ideal world" where "every game would be multiplatform and we can all enjoy everything". On a purely rational basis, and with the assumption that nothing else would change (like the elimination of one or more competitors, who can no longer successfully distinguish themselves in the market), that might seem "ideal", but it's a also wishful thinking.

    Plus, exclusivity has worked wonders in many instances in terms of the creative output it fostered. Without exclusivity there would most likely not have been a Bayonetta 2, or even a sequel to that. Doubtfully, if a majority of the games that are exclusives today, would have come to fruition without that. Platform holders do not necessarily work under the same economic restraints when funding exclusives as traditional publishers do. Their benefits are not purely measured in units-of-game-x sold, as those sales have much, much larger implications for their entire ecosystem, ranging from an expanded audience to a powerful marketing narrative - stuff you often can hardly even put a price on.

    Anyways, sorry for rant, but I think you could not be more wrong with your assessment as far as it pertains to the matter of exclusives. They are not going anyway, and as I implied, I feel like that is a good thing indeed. I'd rather have a good exclusive on one platform than a medicore multiplatform game on three or four platforms. That is not to say that there are no good multiplatform games, or that alll exclusives are amazing, but like I stated, 2017 made a very, very, very strong argument for the merit of exclusives as pinnacles of quality gaming.
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  • Avatar for MetManMas #5 MetManMas 2 months ago
    @UnskippableCutscene I think what the Xbox One needs more than third party exclusives is to be able to convince more Japanese and indie devs that it's worth the time, effort, and money to release their games on their console, too. Aside from a few standout console exclusives and some quality multiplatform titles that could just be bought on Sony's game machine instead, the Xbone's library in 2017 was pitiful.

    The exclusives can come after they've convinced devs they're not a sinking ship.Edited January 2018 by MetManMas
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  • Avatar for Roto13 #6 Roto13 2 months ago
    I think expecting Microsoft to take an interest in their console after they way they've treated it for the past year is asking too much. It's their Vita. They don't care any more.
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  • Avatar for Ralek #7 Ralek 2 months ago
    @Kat.Bailey Beat me to the punch, but in my defense, I made the same point in a more elaborate manner.

    I think the issue Xbox is having can pretty be summed up in Scalebound cancelation: gross mismanagement. Just thinking about this still makes my head go blank, as I just cannot fathom how M$ could have screwed that up so royally. Platinum Games worked with so many industry players, even with Activision, to a more or less successful outcome (let's not talk about TMNT ^^). So we are now to believe that they could not manage to do the same with M$, who btw happen to have the by far deepest pocket of all these players? That is silly notion and M$ should full well be aware of that. I'm almost more angry that they did not fully explain themselves and just said, s**** didn't work out, sorry guys, deal with it, than about the cancelation itself. Still, coupled with the cancelation of Phantom Dust, this really put a deep, deep dent into M$ line-up. Basically, about all the diversity that was there is gone. IT's all old franchises now, and it's old western talent now. Any inkling of fresh blood and eastern design is pretty much evaporated just like that.

    Anyone else noticed that Besides Turn10/Playground/Sumo Microsoft failed to really capitalize on any and all of their development ressources? Be it first-party or a 3rd-party-cooperation? I mean ... if that does not spell out gross mismanagement, then I do not know what does. I like Phil Spencer, he is probably the most likeable non-Nintendo-related honcho in a long time, but whatever is going on over there, it's getting to the point where he ultimately has to take responsibility, even though some of these things were set in motion before he took charge.

    On a more general note, Microsoft needs to STOP announcing games sooo damn early. I cannot be upset about a game being canceled that I had not even known about. That is basic psychology. You don't miss, what you do not know. They are just shooting themselves in the foot with their horribly bad PR strategy, both in terms of announcing games, and in terms of dealing with cancelations. That is just more poor management ... as so not to say pi**poor management all-around.
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  • Avatar for Roto13 #8 Roto13 2 months ago
    @Ralek "We contracted the greatest action game director and studio in the business to make an action game for us but it didn't work because of reasons. Hope you like Forza, because that's all we've got."
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  • Avatar for JonnS #9 JonnS 2 months ago
    All this needs to happen due to them not having to be distracted by a hardware release happening .
    More Exclusive Games weather from within Xbox old IPs or from studio + IP purchases or even some 2-6 game contract like Undead Labs has .Edited January 2018 by JonnS
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  • Avatar for Flipsider99 #10 Flipsider99 2 months ago
    @Roto13 This guy gets it.
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  • Avatar for scottygrayskull #11 scottygrayskull 2 months ago
    I'm lucky in that I'm far enough behind on notable games, and get enough of said games through Games With Gold, that I'm pretty set. I do wish there were more exclusive (even if just timed) games.

    Cuphead and PUBG are nice, but maaaaaaaaaaaaaan am I sore about the lack of Crackdown. I was considering getting an X for it even!
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  • Avatar for UnskippableCutscene #12 UnskippableCutscene 2 months ago
    @Ralek My point is that, for Microsoft, the term "exclusive" is a lot more fungible since they've decided to give both PC gaming and console gaming equal treatment.

    What's going to get an Xbox console into my house? Nothing, because I put the money into a gaming-performance PC and anything Microsoft's studios make that I want has been promised to be available on Windows. Does this mean the Xbox is useless? Not at all, because a PC of $700+ isn't in everyone's budgets.

    And you're right that Nintendo's whole deal is exclusives, but Nintendo is recovering from an abysmal console generation that exclusives, including some really good ones with new IP like Splatoon and new features like Mario Maker, just couldn't save. They had a really good 2017, but let's see how do they when they don't have a premiere Zelda and Mario launching in the same year before we start punching their ticket. This might be the beginning of a new golden age (and god knows how many people have been wanting that for 15 years) but they also might go right back to releasing stuff like StarFox Zero, which wasn't very long ago.

    Finally, I would note that while it's nice that Sony has some big exclusives that are doing interesting things, I think the new God of War, for example, is not going to set the world on fire quite like it did during the PS2 to PS3 transition where it was a very high seller and inspired an army of clones like Heavenly Sword and Dante's Inferno. Likewise, Spider-Man is my personal most-anticipated game of 2018 but I don't think it'll be a "system seller" either.

    Ultimately, what sells these systems the most is what your friends have, for the multiplayer function. Your friends mean more than any exclusive, at least to a lot of people, and the question "which console do I buy" has often been answered with "well what do your friends and family own" for quite some time now.Edited 6 times. Last edited January 2018 by UnskippableCutscene
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  • Avatar for docexe #13 docexe 2 months ago
    @Ralek I argue that the thing that truly condemned the Xbox One to perpetual and distant runner up status of this generation was the many gaffes that Microsoft made with its original marketing pitch for the console. That resulted in a “taint” of sorts that they just never managed to shake off. The lack of exclusives didn’t help however, and I agree with you that Microsoft has exhibited really gross mismanagement of its development resources.

    It’s not only the cancelled games like Scalebound or the lack of presence from Japanese/Eastern developers, but also what has happened to their traditional franchises. Microsoft primarily relying on Halo, Gears of War and Forza wouldn’t be so troubling if they continued to be the console selling and genre defining franchises that they were during the OG Xbox or the X360 era. But the general consensus I have seen from fans of those series is that, of the three, only Forza remains firing on all cylinders, while recent Halo and Gears games just don’t live up to their predecessors.

    And while there have been a handful of notable exclusives to Xbox One (Killer Instinct, Sunset Overdrive, Quantum Break, Recore, Ori and the Blind Forest, and more recently Cuphead), by and large, the exclusives on the PS4 library have just been wider, more varied, more popular and more consistently good.
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  • Avatar for matthewjohnson31 #14 matthewjohnson31 2 months ago
    @Roto13 Microsoft is in a bit of a weird situation with XBox, in that it is a money-loser (and was even when they were ahead last gen) but also the only thing they make (or probably have ever made) that inspires any amount of goodwill. I wonder if the goal is to leverage the goodwill by funneling as much consumer business as possible through the XBox platform, while at the same time reducing the emphasis on the physical box and eventually eliminating it completely.
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  • Avatar for Fourfoldroot #15 Fourfoldroot 2 months ago
    Hmmmm... Can't say I agree with much of this.
    As someone who has owned both previous Xbox consoles, but skipped the One, I can say that yes, exclusives are necessary, but at this point resolution improvements (X) don't matter at all whereas a good VR headset powered by the X would be the only thing to bring this non 4K owner back to the fold. They would need to have good exclusives for VR of course, which I doubt would happen unfortunately.
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  • Avatar for MetManMas #16 MetManMas 2 months ago
    @docexe Oh yes, most definitely. Variety is a big thing the PS4 has going for it, especially when it comes to Japanese and indie games, and 2017 was a great year for diversity in the PS4 library.
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  • Avatar for Ohoni #17 Ohoni 2 months ago
    They need to release the game they promised at E3 that made me decide to buy an XBone, a full HD reboot of Phantom Dust (not just a simple port).
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  • Avatar for not_themilkybarkid #18 not_themilkybarkid 2 months ago
    We need a handheld Xbox One. The original X1 wasn't that powerful- shrink it to 7nm, swap the 256-bit DDR3 for 128-bit LPDDR4X, and give me a handheld with the entire current gen cross platform library.
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  • Avatar for Ralek #19 Ralek 2 months ago
    @docexe Yes, that is indeed the case from my perspective as well. Halo 5 and Gears 4 didn't do much for me. They weren't bad games, but nothing about them was genre defining by any stretch of the imagination and more importantly, they were not even necessarily top of the (current) class (anymore). Forza is pretty much the reason I have an Xbox at this point - which is kinda funny, because that is the first generation I managed to into 'proper' racing games in general, and Forza in particular. FH2 was just really, really fun.

    But yeah, I agree, the initial marketing was horrendous, although it was also very well actively exploited by Sony - remember that video about lending someone a game? At a time when Xbox was flirting with always-on, excessive DRM systems, TV- and NFL-Integration and Kinect and so on and so forth.

    As for the exclusives that Microsoft has beyond their core pillars, I'd say that on the one hand, there is the issue of quality. I enjoyed Sunset Overdrive and Quantum Break, but esp. the latter was nowhere near as good as Max Payne and Alan Wake. Not to mention that whole cross-media notion of fusing it with a TV show ... well, I dunno it was a neat idea, and someone probably had to try it, but it was hardly revolutionary in the way it turned out. Life Is Strange did not use live-action sequences and was produced in a fraction of the time and a fraction of the cost, and that was a hundred times more emotional resonant than QB. Plus, the mechanics in QB were really largely derivative of Remedy's own past. Sunst Overdrive was just average, it only really stood out for exuberant colorful visuals and mood.

    Cuphead is amazing though ... albeit it's hardly a "true" exclusive seeing as the game is available on Steam, and seeing as any sequel will most likely be Multiplaform as well, as Microsoft doesn't own the rights to Cuphead.

    I think what is truly missing from the Xbox line-up, besides a consistent quality output and a certain level of diversity (with games like Lost Odyssey being entirely purged rom their line-up), is a show-stopper, that can draw in new audiences as well as wow existing audiences. I'm talking about Bloodborne for example or Horizon Zero Dawn. Forza is fantastic, but it is also incredibly familiar, not least by way of it's yearly release schedule (F+FH).

    I imagine that if people think about the Switch these days, they first think about BotW or Mario Odyssey - some might think about Arms, Splatoon 2 or MK8DX or Xenoblade - but for most it will be the one of the first two. Esp. BotW truly was a game noone in any way interested in gaming took note of it some way, and it will probably still be actively remember and on occassion discussed 10 years from now. I doubt anyone will still talk about Halo 5 (at least in any positive context) even 5 years from now. So yeah, I agree with your analysis.

    Sad thing is, Microsoft has the ressources necessary to change all that. That is what is .. disheartening.
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  • Avatar for Ralek #20 Ralek 2 months ago
    @UnskippableCutscene Oh, it's definitely a bunch of factors that sell a system. Games are important, exclusive are important, but so is proper marketing and convenience (none of the that excessive DRM bullshit M$ was pioneering for a while) and price. Plus, yes, as you say, absolutely community matters, but esp. this gen, there were plenty of people willing to abandon one ecosystem for another, so that alone is also not decisive. In the end, it does not matter if Spiderman itself is a systemseller (certainly not a this point), but whether it adds to the value-proposition of the system, beyond what e.g. a Xbox does offer. And I think, in addition to dozens of other good exclusives, it does actually add quite a bit to that proposition - I'm certainly looking forward to playing it, as I really enjoyed esp. Arkham Asylum, which clearly inspired Spiderman, and yeah, I'm a Spiderman fan by heart, so to me, it's an important game. Seeing as Spiderman is very popular character, which so far had about zero truly good AAA games to his name, I imagine it will do very decent commercially, esp. with Homecoming being once more a good movie, and SPiderman now finally being a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

    I wasn't trying to argue that any and all exclusives are pure gold, but in the case of the WiiU, the issues were manifold and significant and thus beyond what a handful of great exclusives like Splatoon 2 could have solved - esp. at that point in time when they were mostly released. Momentum as with any product is crucial do a homeconsole, and the WiiU never had that much momentum to begin with, and whatever it had was virtually evaporated within months.

    As for Star Fox ... I dunno, I'm still pretty torn about the game. I enjoyed it not despite it being very similar to SF64, but precisely because of that, but I felt the controls - while actually offering new possibilities - were to awkward and to demanding. They created a mostly unnecessary barrier and step learning cure that was ill befitting of the simple, arcade nature of Star Fox. It was an experiment, that did not fully work out. In all fairness though ,at that point in time, it could have been the best Star Fox game in history, or the best 3D shump ever made, and nothing for the WiiU would have changed. Still, what bugs me is that it was another example of Nintendo putting a system gimmick, aka the tablet 2nd-screen feature, over actual function. That never worked imho. Sometimes - like with Metroid's pointer controls - these two aspects overlap naturally, but if they don't it is detrimental to trying to enforce synergy.

    I'm very curious to see how Microsoft's 'steambox-strategy' will pan out longterm. The backlash against the Windows Store seemed significant to me, and bringing these games to Steam was hardly what they were trying to achieve, when they made their most important games available to PC. The trouble is that the Xbox is not a Steambox, as there is a vast, vast, vast part of Steam's catalogue that is absolutely not available on Xbox and most likely never will. Hence, it cannot really replace a PC - only for a very particular subset of games. Most of that particular subset of games ... is also available elsewhere though, on PS4 namely and a growing part even on the Switch.

    Microsoft used the Xbox One X to push their narrative of hardware superiority, and well, visuals, visuals, visuals. It's a bit jaded as far as marketing narratives go, I think. 4K and even HDR (having had the opportunity to game on a 4K LD Oled) will not be a gamechanger in my opinion, more so tha VR maybe, but ultimately, the narrative of technology that makes games more enjoyable just by their very own, is a decent way to kickstart something, but it never was enough to sustain anything longterm.

    Finally, since you brought up God of War, yeah, that franchise seems about as tired as Gears of War. No doubt about it, and it's probably no surprise, that we will see only single GoW game this generation as well. I would even argue that Uncharted 4 is an incredibly tired, if high quality game. I for one, was kind relieved when the credits roled. Apparently the DLC feels a like a fresher experience, but ever sind UC3 I'm kinda 'okay another one' when it comes to UC. Point is, Sony did NOT stick to those guns. People will be more excited about Bloodborne 2, once we hear something in that regard, than for God of War - despite some Soulfatiuge settling in. Also, Horizon 2 will probably be more enticing than any future Uncharted Spin-off - and that is not evne mentioning the likes of The Last of Us for example.

    I want to end on a bit of praise for Microsoft though .I really thought it was a decent move by them to bring Xbox360 and Xbox titles to the Xbox one. THat really added something substantial to the value of the system. I truly hope that Xbox games will become widely available this year. I mean, I want Otogi on the my Xbox One and I REALLY, REALLY want Panzer Dragoon Orta on that system. It's the perfect game to boot-up and play once you are done with Cuphead after all :-)

    I think that was an important step to combat that "taint", you'd mentioned. Because, yeah, I think that taint definitely exists, certainly in my mind. It was more informed by the way the announced game I (sadly) fell for and got hyped about - namely Scalebound and Phantom Dust - which they then just decided to have assassinated one silent night, but never mind it sources, it kinda pi**ed me off. Getting to play a superior version of Lost Odyssey and RDR and Crimson Skies and even the original Phantom Dust once more, helped a BIT to assuage that. It also played to that important nostalgia angle that Sony and esp. NIntendo have been quite capable of exploiting and Microsoft never really managed to pick-up on properly (well, they're history obviously is not that long of course).

    On the flip-side of all of this stand this so: the next years in gaming should be exciting, and there is certainly a potential for another golden age, I'd even argue that 2017 by itself was already a miniature golden age all by itself, and by all accounts 2018 is looking to be a continuation of that, certainly on PS and Switch, and for the indie/PC gaming scene as well, with many promising games being in the pipeline (e.g. I'm very excited to finally get to play Vampyr! ^^)
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  • Avatar for Number1Laing #21 Number1Laing 2 months ago
    In the 360 era, especially after Kinect came out, Microsoft's Xbox division made a number of decisions that the company is still dealing with today. One of them was that they dismantled most of their internal studios. The studio that made Flight Simulator. The studio that made Mechwarrior. The studio that made Age of Empires. They got rid of Bungie. The few remaining ones they had left over they put on Kinect and casual game stuff - hence Fable The Journey instead of Fable 4, and Kinect Sports over literally anything else.

    The problem is that it is easy to shut down a studio but really really hard (and expensive) to build one up. They really could have used a studio with lot of experience and a dedicated fan base like ACES (Flight Sim), but once they got rid of it, it's gone. Scalebound shows the problem very clearly. They sign one deal and if the game goes south everyone sees it because they don't have anything else.

    People talk about exclusives like they are no longer relevant yet at the same time can't stop talking about how good PS4's lineup is, or how Nintendo's games propelled the Switch into Wii-like territory. They clearly still matter and MS has almost nothing. Now, MS did a good job with The Coalition but that is just one studio that can put out one game every few years. They need like, 5 or 6 more of them. It's going to be a problem they will be dealing with for a while. It's a real problem that will probably take a lot longer than one more year to fix.Edited 3 times. Last edited January 2018 by Number1Laing
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  • Avatar for lacerz #22 lacerz 2 months ago
    Let's talk about exclusives...I believe it's warranted when discussing consoles because your choice in console immediately restricts you to the games available for that console. In December 2016, The Last Guardian was released for the PS4.

    Since that time:
    Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Future Tone
    Gravity Rush 2
    Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue
    Yakuza 0
    Ys Origin
    Horizon Zero Dawn
    Nier: Automata
    Danganronpa 1•2 Reload
    Toukiden 2
    Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix
    Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix
    MLB The Show 17
    Persona 5
    Dragon Quest Heroes II
    Puyo Puyo Tetris (also on Switch)
    Wipeout Omega Collection
    Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood
    Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
    Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age
    Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
    Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
    Everybody's Golf
    Yakuza Kiwami
    Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana
    Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony
    Gran Turismo Sport

    And the list above are just the decently reviewed games. It doesn't include the likes of Knack 2, Peach Splash Blast, Warriors All-Stars, Digimon World and a slew of other lesser reviewed games. And this list doesn't touch the indies.

    Compare that to the Xbox offering. Halo Wars 2, Forza, Tacoma, and Cuphead are all that come to mind for 2017...and two are indies. There may be more, but the point is that Microsoft really needs to start doing better by its supporters. Right now, 2018 looks to be a repeat of 2017.
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  • Avatar for donkeyintheforest #23 donkeyintheforest 2 months ago
    Continue to expand the backwards compatability plz. I would like Panzer Dragoon Orta and Burnout 3 for original Xbox. Ninja Gaiden Black works great. Xbox One controller is the best controller.
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  • Avatar for JonnS #24 JonnS 2 months ago
    After much think and tons of wants, i would really love for Xbox to bring back the Mindset and determination the Division once showed and threw around .
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  • Avatar for CheekyRobo #25 CheekyRobo 2 months ago
    First, thank you for your excellent informative review of Elite: Dangerous. Second I could not agree more about Forza Horizon 4: JAPAN.

    But about 4K HDR standard enforcement, let me
    Disagree, I think it’s much more important to get 60fps in EVERY game (preferably with HDR), even if it means 1080. With many games still at 30fps in the year 2017, I think we must be in the Bad Timeline.
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  • Avatar for touchofkiel #26 touchofkiel 2 months ago
    I'm a long time console gamer (and PS4 owner) slowly transitioning to PC gaming. Right now, pretty much everything MS is doing is the opposite of selling me on it - to me, XBO looks like a watered down PC gaming rig. One might argue that's what consoles have always been, but that's certainly not true - it wasn't that long ago that PC games didn't have the stuff we now take for granted, like native controller support, etc. The mid-generation updates (which Sony is also guilty of) makes it even worse.

    IS HDR and 4K gaming meant to be the big selling point? Not interested, because it's not available to me. I think it's great that consoles are seeing more ports of PC games - but PC is seeing more ports of console games. Sony still has a nice line-up of exclusives, but even those - Nier, Monster Hunter, etc. - are making their way to PC.

    There's nothing to sell me on XBO right now - and in the future, I'm not sure what will sell me on a possible PS5, either.
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  • Avatar for Brotoles #27 Brotoles 2 months ago
    @Ralek you could be a game's journalist: great and sensible arguments, and all very well written! Thanks for sharing your opinion! :-)
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  • Avatar for riderkicker #28 riderkicker 2 months ago
    It's just that it's year six of the Xbox One with two revisions, and Microsoft is still banking on name recognition to make it a kinda close second stringer to Sony. Yes it has literally no exclusives, but it shouldn't matter considering most AAA games aren't. I have to wonder what kind of PR firm have they hired to sell the system. Families want PlayStations and Nintendos, but the Xbox still has the verneer of a thing primarily for adult males. Do they really care about who is buying XBones over there in Washington?
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