I consider video games to by my major hobby. It's definitely where I spend the majority of my entertainment money, especially when you consider AV equipment (like a nice TV and speakers) that I use for other stuff too but wouldn't own if I weren't into gaming. I set aside money from my tax refund for the new consoles and I intended to buy both but I only got an Xbox Series X pre-order in. That would normally be fine, because I consider myself an Xbox first gamer, but I'm looking at the launch lineup and...there basically isn't one. It's not just that with Microsoft's philosophy on games the titles available will also be on Xbox One and PC. That's never bothered me, and I'd be happy to upgrade to a Series X just to have a great console version of games available on other platforms. Titanfall was arguably the first game I really loved on Xbox One, and that was available on PC and 360 too, which didn't mean anything to me because I had a fantastic new game to play on my new console.
But Microsoft is launching the Xbox Series X and S with...nothing. There are going to be a lot of games that play on the system through backwards compatibility, of course, and there will be 3rd party releases on day one, but none of those look particularly interesting to me personally. I might enjoy Watch Dogs: Legion, I guess, but I played the original Watch_Dogs last year and it's one of my least favorite games that I've ever finished, so I definitely would not call myself a fan of the series. Assassin's Creed: Valhalla looks mildly interesting, but I am trying to go through that series in order and I haven't even gotten up to 4 year, so it will be years until I play that. Similar to Yakuza: Like a Dragon. I'm not starting that series with that game, and like a bunch of other launch titles it's already been out for awhile (though only in Japan.)
That leaves a couple smaller titles, The Falconeer and Bright Memory. They look potentially interesting but not specifically designed as showcases for the system.
The only game Microsoft itself is bringing to the party is Gears Tactics, which is a port of a PC game in a genre that is not at its best on console and doesn't act as a showcase for a powerful new system.
It's shocking to me that Microsoft utterly failed to produce even a couple smaller games for this launch. Obviously Halo Infinite was going to be the showpiece title and that fell through, so it's not like they planned it this way, but where's the complimentary stuff? They bought all these studios, you'd think they could have at least the equivalent of a Resogun (the best PS4 launch title) or from the Xbox One launch library something like Killer Instinct (an interesting idea that turned out really well) or Crimson Dragon (not good, but something I was looking forward to.) Instead they've got literally nothing. PS5 doesn't have the strongest launch library either but Sony is bringing a few exciting games to the table. OG Xbox and Xbox 360 had very strong launch libraries, and Xbox One had the aforementioned small titles along with Dead Rising 3 and Ryse: Son of Rome, both of which were fine as launch titles go. Plus Zoo Tycoon!
I've really enjoyed the Phil Spencer era of Xbox but despite all the work he's done in rebuilding Microsoft's game development studios they really dropped the ball here.
So why am I buying one anyway?
Basically because I have the money set aside and I believe that there will be stuff I really want to play on it before it drops in price. I am confident that there will be exciting next gen experiences within 6 months or so of launch that I want to play. I didn't love my Xbox One at launch but I had fun with Killer Instinct and Peggle 2, and by the time Titanfall came out I was super glad I had one. Then Sunset Overdrive dropped the next year and is still one of my favorite games of the 8th generation. I had a ton of fun with my Xbox One the first year, even if the launch didn't thrill me. I believe the Series X will be the same.
I also regret not buying a Wii U at launch, which led to my never buying a Wii U. I was under cash crunch at the time and had a ton of student debt and it just didn't make sense. 8 years later and most of the best Wii U games have come to Switch, and I've played some of them, but I would have enjoyed experiencing that system and wish I'd pulled the trigger on it despite the cost. I could have found the money somewhere.
I'm also highly invested in the Xbox ecosystem, with a ton of digital games for all three generations of Xbox, some of which will be enhanced on the Series X. And I have an active prepaid Gamepass subscription. I just don't feel the need to wait when I set the cash aside, and when I'm going to enjoy my time with the system even before it gets any killer apps. But if I hadn't put the money aside or it wasn't still the pandemic where I'm playing a ton of games I probably would wait. And that's not good, since I'm an early adopter.
I still trust in Microsoft's vision for the console. They've invested heavily in studios (including recently.) The Xbox One has turned out to be a really good system. Gamepass is great, and has saved me a ton of money on games I would have otherwise bought. The Forza Horizon series is my favorite racing series ever, and has had 3 fantastic entries on Xbox One, with the original game still playable via backwards compatibility. Backwards compatibility in general has been fantastic, and I've actually played through a lot of Xbox 360 games I never got around to on my Xbox One. I finally beat Alan Wake! And Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. And the original Assassin's Creed. I'm looking forward to playing The Darkness II this October. I've had a blast with Xbox One and I'm sure Series X will be the same, and pretty quickly.
But the launch is leaving me a little disappointed. And I'm bummed. Console launches are supposed to be exciting. You spend a bunch of money and in exchange you get to Ooo and Aaaa at the shiny graphics and play a bunch of mostly not great games. If you're very lucky you get an all time classic like Halo: Combat Evolved or Breath of the Wild but mostly you don't. And then over the next couple years the console becomes worth it. I'm betting the Xbox Series X will become worth it for me by the end of 2021, but I'm disappointed that I'm not going to get the anticipation and excitement of a traditional launch day.
Soul Calibur. It's not really relevant here but THAT was a launch game.