Microsoft is ready to battle. If there is one thing I took from an otherwise underwhelming Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) this year, it was that Microsoft showed its commitment to draw more gamers to its platforms. Especially with the acquisition of Bethesda and other gaming developers over the past few years, Xbox rolled out its biggest exclusive lineup of games in the brand’s history this past week. I for one am playing very close attention.
I never thought that I would find myself rooting this much for Xbox. But I am a big fan of the underdog. Xbox has been in a distant third behind PlayStation and Nintendo for quite some time now. I believe that this was the driving force behind the big changes that Microsoft had implemented which has included multiple acquisitions, Xbox Game Pass, XCloud gaming, and more. And I personally want Xbox to succeed, not just for the people within the company itself, but because competition in gaming always benefits the consumers. Furthermore, being the underdog also gives more incentive to a company to produce something great.
Xbox’s struggles in countries such as Japan have been noted for years by both gaming and mainstream media. But beginning in the fall of 2020 and carrying over into the present, Japan now represents the highest amount of growth worldwide for the Xbox brand. The fact that Xbox is finally tapping into the once elusive market should be an encouraging indicator for the organization. Their growth will take time, but many of the investments that they are making are already beginning to pay off.
Having the gaming library that Xbox Game Pass does makes it the best value in gaming as an on-demand, Netflix-type service. You get the first-party games, Xbox exclusives, Bethesda library, the games included with the basic EA Play membership, and many other third-party games. With the “Ultimate” version of the service, you can use it on the Xbox consoles, Windows PC, and various other devices. It also comes with Xbox Live Gold, which features game giveaways each month and full online access. The company is currently beta testing browser gaming where subscribers will be able to play their Game Pass games directly from the cloud through a web browser. Needless to say, I’m a happy subscriber.
Earlier this week, I happened to come across an article where Bethesda was apologizing to Playstation owners for the exclusivity of the upcoming Starfield game. I get the sentiments from the perspective that Bethesda has historically developed games for multiple consoles and they probably took pride in the fact that their games were able to be played on different hardware. But Bethesda is now under the Microsoft banner and that $7.5 billion investment will be put to work. As a Microsoft company, there is no reason to apologize for the business of exclusives. Nintendo and Sony have benefited from exclusives for years and will continue to do so. Naughty Dog (Uncharted, The Last of Us), Insomniac Games (Spider-Man, Ratchet & Clank), and Santa Monica Studio (God of War) certainly haven’t been apologetic for how their games have bolstered PlayStation’s success.
Overall, I’m very thrilled with where I see Microsoft going with Xbox and Windows PC gaming. I’m looking forward to upcoming games like Halo Infinite, Starfield, The Outer Worlds 2, etc. At this point, I’m still torn on whether to eventually get the PS5 or the Xbox Series X. As a Game Pass Ultimate subscriber, I like how I would have games to play immediately if I purchased the latest Xbox. And the backward compatibility trumps what PlayStation currently offers. Yet, I’ve been a PlayStation fan for years and have loved their exclusives over the years. If I chose the PS5, I could still play the Xbox exclusives on my PC.
What do you all think of the upcoming Xbox lineup? And beyond Xbox, were there any moments and/or reveals that you felt were highlights from this year’s E3? Have a tremendous weekend.