Xbox One Launch
The Xbox One wasn’t well received by the gaming community when it first debuted back in 2013. Bad press, angry consumers, and a public relations nightmare resulted from unclear messaging, a major push for non-gaming applications, and an incredibly high price of $500. To make matters worse, every console would require a persistent internet connection and Kinect, not to mention the fact that it wouldn’t allow users to play any used games. Microsoft has since removed all these borderline anti-consumer requirements from the console, but there’s no mistaking that the Xbox One is behind close competitor PS4 in sales as a result of the machine’s launch mishaps.
Introduced as a means to combat the motion control upheaval led by Nintendo last generation, the Kinect saw some success in titles like Dance Central and Kinect Sports, though is largely considered one of Microsoft’s mistakes today for its failure to appeal to hardcore enthusiasts, general absence of compelling games, and failure to work as marketing suggested. Attempting to include the peripheral as a vital part of the Xbox One’s hardware was like a slap in the face for devoted fans, especially when considering that the Kinect was in part responsible for the system’s high launch price. Thankfully, the fancy camera is now no longer in production and will hopefully never see the light of day ever again.
Cancelling Scalebound and Fable Legends
Scalebound and Fable Legends had enormous potential to appeal to niche fans of the Xbox One. The first was an action RPG made by Bayonetta and NieR: Automata developer Platinum Games. The second was meant to be a free-to-play experience that served as the next iteration to the respected Xbox exclusive franchise of the same name. Unfortunately, each had been shuttered before they ever saw the light of the day, leaving behind a sizable gap that two compelling Xbox One exclusives have yet to occupy. What’s perhaps most sad is that the cancellation of Fable Legends was accompanied by the closure of Lionhead Studios, thereby rendering a talented team of developers sorely out of work. If laying off dozens of people isn’t one of Microsoft’s biggest mistakes, I don’t know what is.
Crackdown 3 Announced Too Early
There’s no way of telling whether Crackdown 3 is good until the game actually releases, but that doesn’t stop it from joining a list of mistakes that the Xbox One and Microsoft have committed anyway. Originally announced back in 2014, the title has been delayed a handful of times. As it stands now, Crackdown 3 is slated to release sometime this spring, though it still doesn’t have a precise launch date. This is enough evidence in itself indicating that the game was simply announced way too early in an effort to drum up support for the Xbox One following a lackluster launch and fan complaints regarding a lack of exclusives. At the very least, let’s hope that Crackdown 3 lives up to the hype it’s accrued over the years.
Microsoft and the Xbox One do have some exclusives to their name. Halo 5, Forza Horizon 3, Gears of War 4, and Cuphead all come to mind, but when compared to the competition, that pool seems tiny. A lack of exclusives is something that the company could remedy by buying out third-party publishers and small developers, sure, but there’s no mistaking that the initial promise the console had when it first debuted hasn’t been carried out to the present day. This year sees the release of only two exclusive titles, Crackdown 3 and Sea of Thieves. It’s anyone’s guess what the manufacturer will do to incentivize purchasing an Xbox One for the rest of 2018 and beyond.
Lackluster Press Conferences
Unlike Sony, who has E3, TGS, PGW, TGA, and PSX to worry about, and Nintendo, who holds Nintendo Directs intermittently throughout the year, Microsoft really only has two major press events that it has to deal with: E3 and Gamescom. This may lead you to think that the company would come out guns blazing during these two conferences, but 2017 alone saw the publisher failing to announce any exciting games to play exclusive to their platform. The focus on the Xbox One X was great, but showcasing software that can easily be purchased on competitor’s systems just didn’t aide in ramping up significant interest.
No Call of Duty Partnership
Though this may not seem like a big blow for people outside of the Call of Duty fan base, having one of gaming’s most profitable franchises jump ship from Microsoft in favor of Sony was a big move that many would have deemed unlikely during the seventh console generation. Lo and behold, Call of Duty’s early DLC availability with every yearly iteration serves as proof of the PS4’s market domination coming into this generation and of the Xbox One’s ineptitude in fulfilling the legacy of the Xbox 360 before it. Letting the franchise’s exclusive early offerings slip away was something that may have cost the Xbox One some sales during the annual holiday season, too.
Exclusivity seems to be a term that Microsoft likes to use loosely when promoting the Xbox One’s software offerings. Rise of the Tomb Raider, Dead Rising 4, and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds are all games that were or currently are exclusive to the console, but only for a limited time. Temporarily excluding other systems from playing a game hasn’t been well received by the gaming community since it’s learned about the practice, yet Microsoft continues to make deals of this nature anyway. They must work for the betterment of the Xbox One, as otherwise we wouldn’t be seeing them as often as we do today.
Third-party titles performing at a lower resolution than competitor PS4 is a particularly egregious entry joining this list of mistakes the Xbox One has committed so far, if only because Microsoft prides itself as having the “most powerful console ever” with the Xbox One X today. When this was first discovered, even first-party titles like Sunset Overdrive failed to run at over 900p. Some games could match the PS4’s performance levels, sure, but it still remains uncertain whether or not this is due to the console’s limitations in hardware or in developers failing to tap into everything the machine has to offer. In the latter case, Microsoft should have stepped in and found a way to easily resolve any issues developers were having early on.
Xbox One X Price
To its credit, the Xbox One X is off to a good start. That being said, it remains to be seen whether it will have the legs to succeed in the mass market this late into the console generation. Playing slightly prettier versions of the games you can play on your standard consoles doesn’t seem like enough to warrant a repeat purchase from the average consumer, especially when considering the X’s $499 price tag. If fan reactions to the system’s debut at E3 last year serve as any indication, this mid-generation upgrade may not have the means of justifying its premium charge for very long.
What are some other mistakes that the Xbox One and Microsoft have committed so far? Let us know in the comments below and let’s keep it civil down there, yeah?