In one showcase of games, I’m already more excited for the slate of games coming to the Xbox Series X (exclusively, timed, or other) than I ever was at any point through the entire lifespan of the Xbox One.
In fact, I’ll go as far as to say this: The Xbox Series X could be discontinued the day after the last of the games shown today releases, and as long as all of them aren’t a complete disaster, I’d still probably rank the Series X higher than the Xbox One, at least when it comes to delivering a diverse set of exclusive games.
The Xbox One carried the torch for lots of key franchises such as Halo, Gears of War, State of Decay, Forza, etc.. They all appeared and survived this current generation, and will appear again in the next-gen in the foreseeable future.
The problem with the Xbox One was that the periphery exclusives failed to elevate the console beyond second or even third fiddle.
Sea of Thieves would eventually carve out a niche, and Crackdown 3 had its silly fun moments, but none of these games could hold a candle to the likes of God of War, The Last of Us and other great Sony platform exclusives which have won many Game of the Year awards throughout this whole generation.
The talent that Microsoft acquired this generation arrived too late to really move the needle for the Xbox One, but look ready to be a major factor for the Xbox Series X.
Obsidian is coming in hot with two exclusives: Grounded and Avowed. Both cover a very wide audience. Grounded appears to be an all-ages survival game aimed at the Minecraft crowd that could have long-term legs if done right.
Avowed on the other hand looks like it can be the big-time exclusive RPG that the Xbox One needed so badly this generation but never got. At least the Xbox Series X will be able to benefit.
One thing that no company did this generation was create a killer-app multiplayer game. The Xbox One was already in the hole by the time Halo 5 and Gears of War 4 came out, and Sony focused its effort almost exclusively on single-player games.
The Xbox Series X will eventually bring Exomecha, State of Decay 3, Halo Infinite, Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis, CrossfireX, and of course a new Gears game just to name a few.
That’s a lot of exclusive and timed exclusive multiplayer content, and it would only take one or two early on in the Series X’s lifespan to potentially swing momentum in its favor.
What the Xbox One needed most though was single-player experiences that could stand up to what Sony or Nintendo has been putting out this generation.
Halo 5 and Gears of War 4 & 5, while each sporting respectable campaigns never quite hit that level of acclaim and that was really their best shots at it.
Maybe Halo Infinite can do better, but now there’s also Fable, Hellblade, and once again, Avowed, that are now thrown into the mix to hopefully make “best games” conversations more interesting and diverse at the end of each year.
I have no idea if any of these games will be any good of course. I also have no idea when any of them will release which is also a major unknown factor to consider.
The PS4, because of early mishaps from Microsoft with the Xbox One, was able to take a stranglehold of the mind share almost instantly. That could absolutely happen again if Microsoft botches these releases, although I do not believe it will.
Microsoft has far more talent under its belt now, and for the first time in a long time, it feels like a positive case can be made for Xbox exclusives going forward into the future without it coming across as completely disingenuous.
And also, one cannot forget that all of these exclusive games will be included in Xbox Game Pass, on top of other great third-party games, and the service is still the best deal in gaming right now.
The slate is being wiped clean this fall, and the Xbox Series X has an opportunity to be more competitive with the PS5 than the Xbox One ever was with the PS4.
Although the future is still a bit foggy, I can say one thing for certain after this Games Showcase, I’m far more excited about the future of the Xbox Series X than I ever was about the Xbox One.