Microsoft has shown it is willing to embrace change more than most, and its latest bombshell announcement regarding the Xbox Series X is no exception.
Since the Series X was officially unveiled at the 2019 Game Awards and slated for a Holiday 2020 release, many in the gaming community have been left to speculate about the console. How powerful will it be? How much will it cost? What kind of exclusives will it offer at launch?
Though answers have been slow to trickle out, that last question did receive some confirmation. In an interview with MCV, Microsoft’s head of Xbox Game Studios Matt Booty revealed that the Series X would not have any titles that were entirely exclusive to it at launch.
“As our content comes out over the next year, two years, all of our games, sort of like PC, will play up and down that family of devices,” Booty said. “We want to make sure that if someone invests in Xbox between now and [Series X] that they feel that they made a good investment and that we’re committed to them with content.”
This move got people understandably shocked and riled. After all, launch exclusives have been an integral part of console launches since their inception. Many view them as the de facto reason to purchase one console over another in its first year, and use said titles to hold themselves over until more games are available on the platform.
And yet, for anyone who has been watching Microsoft in recent years, the move comes as little surprise.
Microsoft has been growing and changing in ways that run counter to what gaming has always done. Seemingly humbled after the slow start of the Xbox One, Microsoft have had made moves since then that can be seen as being “good for gamers.”
Microsoft has offered services like the Xbox Games Pass, which allows players to access a rotating array of 100 different games for only $10 a month. Through it, players have had access not only to older Xbox and third party titles, but new releases like The Outer Worlds the same week they’re released, able to get in on experiences they otherwise might not have been able to afford.
Microsoft likewise kept classic Xbox and Xbox 360 games available to players with its Backwards Compatibility program. Through it, players can keep playing their favorite games on newer consoles, ensuring they won’t be lost to the march of time and that if people want to stick to older titles, they can do so without issue.
In doing so, Microsoft made its consoles some of the most inclusive on the market. Whether players were interested in playing their favorite older games on a better console; diving into a variety of games without breaking the bank; or delving into the latest exclusives made for Microsoft’s newest hardware, they could do so, all while being a part of the wider Xbox gaming community at large.
With this in mind, it’s little surprise Microsoft would choose not to release any games that would be entirely exclusive to the Series X at launch.
Microsoft wants to bring people into its sector of the gaming community, not block them off with a huge paywall created by the need to purchase a new console and software. The company is concerned with allowing more people to experience its games in the long-term, and for them to want to play them on a Microsoft console.
That’s to say nothing of the fact that new cross-platform titles will be available Series X at launch.
So really, if people should be feeling anything about the Series X’s lack of core exclusives, it should be relief that the industry could be changing for the better. Microsoft is putting consumers first, and if we’re lucky, it could lead to a brighter, more affordable future for gamers should other publishers follow suit.