It sounds as if Microsoft may not have exclusives on Xbox Series X for up to two years after the launch of the company’s next-gen console, based on word from Xbox Game Studios head Matt Booty. The latest version of the Xbox is currently set to arrive in Holiday 2020, where it will take on the PlayStation 5 for a spot in living rooms everywhere. Of course, Microsoft faces a major challenge in Sony, but the hasn’t stopped the company from preparing for the next generation of console gaming in its own unique way.
Microsoft’s ‚Netflix for games‘ service, xCloud, is one of the more ambitious pushes from the company. The service is still in beta but already provides a more promising lineup than competitors like Google’s Stadia. Additionally, Microsoft has been working alongside Nintendo to release its games on the Japanese gaming giant’s Switch console. Minecraft, Cuphead, and Ori & the Blind Forest on Switch appear to be just the beginning, while Xbox Game Studio’s Banjo and Kazooie were also added to Super Smash Bros Ultimate – seemingly signaling bigger things between the two firms.
Another out-there approach to community management is one that will sound great to current Xbox One owners, but perhaps a bit disincentivizing towards those that are willing to invest in the Xbox Series X at launch. Xbox Game Studios head Matt Booty has confirmed in an interview with MCV that first-party releases will be supported across the Xbox family of consoles for up to two years.
„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. 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.“
Xbox Game Studios‘ breadwinner, Halo Infinite, was previously known to be a cross-gen game for Xbox One and Xbox Series X. Evidently, it won’t be the only title walking that line, but select games will be a focal point for Microsoft in order to showcase reasons to own the more powerful Xbox Series X hardware.
„Our approach is to pick one or two IP that we’re going to focus on and make sure that they’re there at the launch of the console, taking advantage of all the features. And for us, that’s going to be Halo Infinite, which is a big opportunity. It’s the first time in over 15 years that we’ll have a Halo title launching in sync with a new console. And that team is definitely going to be doing things to take advantage of [Series X].“
It’s important to note that this goes both ways. In fact, this will be a good move for titles that are set to receive longterm support, like Sea of Thieves which just crossed 10 million players. Not to mention the inevitable inclusion of Halo Infinite online play, alongside several other Xbox One games that are releasing in 2020 such as Battletoads and the multiplayer-centric Bleeding Edge. All of these can receive additional upgrades on more powerful hardware.
Still, it’s an odd strategy if the goal really is to get Xbox Series X consoles into as many homes as possible. It looks as if gamers will have to wait a little longer to get a better understanding of the full picture.
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