Microsoft (Xbox One)
Who Won 2019?
The Xbox One in 2019 really picked up where the platform left off: effectively just building for the future, while trying to scrape together what they can for the present.
Xbox Game Pass continues to be of incredible value. I constantly wonder how things would have been different this generation if Microsoft had launched the Xbox One with this service in place.
Even with the lack of exclusives, the amount of solid third-party (and first-party) titles on Xbox Game Pass is reaching absurd and amazing levels. The entire year saw Microsoft/Xbox continue to build that up, and make the Game Pass service even more attractive than it already is.
It’s a good thing too, because from an exclusive game perspective, the Xbox One still feels lacking.
Crackdown 3 was okay, but it was hardly a killer app. I don’t believe it was ever imagined to be a major system seller but the spotlight was a bit unfairly shined on it anyway because of the lack of well known exclusive IPs on the platform.
Gears 5 did wrap up the final stretch of 2019 on a very positive note though. While it hasn’t won any Game of the Year Awards that I’ve noticed, it’s still one of the best exclusive games not named Forza that Microsoft has published this console generation.
E3 2019 was a strange one for Microsoft. It continued the trend of it being an objectively entertaining conference, but not really containing anything for hardcore fans of the console that are looking for exclusives features to really get excited about.
Double Fine being acquired is good news for fans of Xbox, and Bleeding Edge’s existence feels a little more safe now that we know Ninja Theory is not working on Bleeding Edge at the expense of a new Hellblade game; but it was still lacking a bit of exclusive punch.
Phantasy Star Online 2 exclusivity in the West would have been a major (and shocking) get for Microsoft if that was the case, but it will eventually trickle out to other platforms as well.
Xbox Series X Announcement
Finally, at pretty much the last opportunity for 2019 during The Game Awards, Microsoft revealed their next gen console: Xbox Series X. Potentially confusing naming aside, it was an impressive first look at the next generation of Xbox.
It was brief, and a look at what games to expect other than Hellblade and Halo will likely come sometime at or around E3 next year. Still, the tone shift over the last few years to being more focused on their core gaming audience definitely shined through in the reveal. Plus, it looks like it’s going to be a total beast spec-wise.