One Week After A Pretty Good Showcase I Have Already Come Back Down To Earth With The Future Of Xbox

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ZombiePie

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#1  Edited By ZombiePie  Staff

Yes, This Showcase Was Good, But Is It Good Enough?

Yeah... I'm not so convinced 2025 is going to be the year Xbox make a comeback.
Yeah... I'm not so convinced 2025 is going to be the year Xbox make a comeback.

It's been a minute since Xbox's 2024 summer showcase, and the majority opinion is that it was one of Microsoft's best outings in years. And overall, I can't disagree with that sentiment. When judged purely based on the games they showed and the excitement I had about products theoretically coming out for the "Xbox ecosystem," it was a good event. Nonetheless, about a week since Microsoft trotted out its wares, I have been lulled into a sentiment where I have zero interest in investing even a dollar into Xbox hardware. That could be where Microsoft's current multiplatform strategy comes into action. That's fine, but I still join the choir of critics in questioning whether this Game Pass and streaming-focused future is sustainable. Even more than that, with Microsoft giving even its internal studios the green light to release games on PC, Switch, PS4, and PS5, Xbox hardware and even Game Pass are feeling less "special." Similarly, I'm tired of logging in and getting the disclaimers that titles I like are leaving Game Pass. With the imminent threat of a Game Pass price increase, it's downright impossible to keep whatever it was from the Xbox Showcase that initially got me excited to maintain my enthusiasm. Something is "wrong" in the Xbox world, and I'm pretty sure we all feel that way.

It's also truly "something" that a steady stream of video game trailers and contextless game demos is the most coherent message we have gotten from Microsoft about its plans for its Xbox division in years. However, the coherence of what Phil Spencer, Sarah Bond, Matt Booty, and CEO Satya Nadella have said about Xbox hardware and software has been shockingly all over the place since the event ended, even days after their relatively strong outing. It is baffling that after showing Doom: The Dark Ages, a marquee first-party title, it wasn't until after the Xbox Showcase that Microsoft representatives demurely confirmed that it would indeed be released on PlayStation 5. In the lead-up to the Xbox Showcase, Phil Spencer went around various press circles to affirm that Microsoft was committed to its hardware and that the future would hold plenty of exciting news. Then, the hardware announcements at the showcase were a blip that felt like a complete afterthought. Indiana Jones and the Great Circle is still only confirmed to be a PC and Xbox Series S/X title. Still, the entire Xbox division continues to be wishy-washy about coming clean on the prospects of it arriving on other platforms, which rumors and scuttlebutt have suggested. The Verge reported that Halo CE is getting a full remaster but also stated that its insiders told them it isn't going multiplatform. In contrast, other reports indicate the Gears of War series is in the early stages of exploring a multiplatform release on PS5. Even on the eve of their Summer Game Fest victory lap, Microsoft is still determining what they want to do with their first-party video games, which is downright WILD!

And at this stage in the industry, I have given up complaining about true console exclusives. Nintendo is the only company that continues to court favor in this hobby for having a walled garden of titles you can't play anywhere else, with Sony releasing games on PC, though poorly at that. Still, Phil Spencer does lose some face for needing to be pressed by the news circuit after his showcase that games will be coming to PS5 when their trailers suggested they would only be on PC or Xbox. The issue isn't that I don't want to see more people play games. The problem is that one day, you hear Matt Booty reiterating that Xbox plans to take advantage of its catalog of IPs to create "exclusive" experiences for the Xbox ecosystem. Then, the next day, you hear Spencer talk about how more AAA games from Xbox-owned studios will come to rival platforms. You cannot trust anything Spencer or his fellow leaders at Xbox say because he and the rest of his team send mixed messages that attempt to dodge critical questions about whether you should invest in his brand's ecosystem and what advantages it might have. At the very least, come out and say all future AAA game productions are going to release on PS5 and future Sony platforms and live with the diehard fans giving you shit. You made your bed; now lie in it.

The Big Unanswered Questions About Xbox Hardware

Oh, cool! You have to pay an extra $150 to play physical media on an Xbox. That's just dandy!
Oh, cool! You have to pay an extra $150 to play physical media on an Xbox. That's just dandy!

Now, let's tackle the first elephant in the room regarding the 2024 Xbox Showcase: the hardware announcements. I did not hate what was announced at the showcase as much as others because that 2TB Galaxy Xbox looks nice, and the Series S finally upgrading to a 1TB storage option makes perfect sense. That said, one thing still sticks out to me about those fairly solid console revisions. First, the Series S is getting a new revision while dozens of third-party developers continue screaming at the top of their lungs that they HATE developing low-spec versions of their games to allow for the Series S. That is what we call on the internet a "choice." However, it is a choice that Microsoft likely feels it needs to make because the Series S outnumbers the Series X by a wide margin. That's not a surprise, considering it is constantly on sale and well below its MSRP. At one point, Costco had the Series S with a stereo headset on sale for $150, and this revision will probably allow Microsoft to always have an SKU well below the asking price of its core consoles and that of Sony. It's a solid strategy, even if it comes at the cost of developers needing to bend over backward to make Series S versions of their games. It will still suffice as a Game Pass streaming device. Still, I can only assume it will continue to struggle and buckle with the weight of half of Microsoft's portfolio of AAA games, which is another awkward disconnect with the House of Xbox. Your best-selling SKU can barely play your marquee game titles at a stable framerate on modern television aspect ratios; you can't continue to pretend this isn't a problem.

The $599.99 asking price for the 2TB Galaxy Xbox is undoubtedly steep, and that price sure becomes unpalatable should Sony's long-rumored PS5 Pro be close enough to it. There were rumors that the PS5 Pro would be around $550 or this exact price, and others signaling it might even be above the $600 mark. Whatever that price, it can still advertise itself as a dedicated game console, which is not a luxury the Xbox has. In contrast, regardless of minor differences, the Xbox Series X is slowly becoming more of an entry-level gaming PC. This strategy isn't a terrible one by Microsoft when you realize that most people who do gaming on PCs don't want to build their gaming desktop from scratch and instead opt for pre-built rigs despite the cost advantage of creating your own. However, the Xbox Galaxy Series X is your only option if you want a console with a disc drive, as the "normal" 1TB Xbox Series X will not have one. The good news is that the listed price for the latter is $449.99, which is a slight price reduction, but MAN, am I not a fan of Microsoft making playing physical gaming goods a premium feature to the tune of $150! Again, with Game Pass constantly being in flux, I'm not willing to utterly throw in the towel when it comes to physical games. Take, for example, Hi-Fi Rush, a great game from the recently shuttered Tango Gameworks. Will Microsoft continually pay for the music licensing rights to keep Hi-Fi Rush available on its digital marketplace? I sure as Hell don't think so.

But let's talk about the biggest unanswered question that still remains with Microsoft's hardware: its rumored dockable Steam Deck-like SKU. Phil Spencer and others at Xbox have affirmed that they want a handheld Xbox device like the Steam Deck that runs Game Pass. To be generous, if Xbox releases a dockable Steam Deck-like device with a functional version of Windows that boots Game Pass out of the box, that thing will sell. Anyone who uses or owns a Steam Deck or alternative will tell you trying to get Windows 11 running on any of these portable PCs is not fun! Nonetheless, it doesn't surprise me that they have yet to show this portable Xbox for two reasons. First, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has completely gutted Microsoft's Surface division, likely resulting in its key leader leaving for Amazon's Fire tablet division, which would have been the team to design and engineer this device. Second, while Steam OS isn't terrible, it certainly has its shortcomings, and it seems like all of the OSs for these portable PCs are still a "work in progress." Microsoft isn't going to get as much wiggle room to release a work-in-progress device as Valve, Asus, or Lenovo have, and they need their OS and interface to be leagues above what we have seen thus far from this market. What's odd is that Microsoft was primed to be an industry leader in this regard. Windows made a considerable effort to increase mobile/touchscreen support starting with Windows 8, and Xbox's UI/UX still uses a modified version of the Metro architecture that began with Windows 8. However, many of those projects have been neglected for years, and with turnover issues still dodging the company, how much Microsoft can return to this particular well remains to be seen.

We Now Know How The Game Pass Tiers Will Opt You Into COD, And It Is A Goddamn Mess, But That's How All of Its First-Party Games Are!

Well before the start of the Xbox Showcase, Microsoft and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Activision-Blizzard, confirmed that they were finally pulling the trigger and releasing Call of Duty: Black Ops 6 on Game Pass. At the time, many, myself included, viewed it as a Hail Mary to end all Hail Marys. By putting Black Ops 6 on Game Pass, Microsoft was possibly forgoing hundreds of millions of dollars in retail sales by offering a far more economically affordable option through Game Pass. The day immediately after the Xbox Showcase, Microsoft finally revealed how it would allow players to opt into Black Ops 6 through Game Pass, and looking at it, it is no wonder why they did not want to talk about this at Summer Game Fest. This statement, right here, is a goddamn nightmare:

Good luck with this not biting you in the ass even slightly!
Good luck with this not biting you in the ass even slightly!

For those needing clarification, Game Pass Core is what once was Xbox Live Gold, and that Core Tier continues to be the most confusing thing about Xbox Game Pass. It could be better worded in the above image, but Core only gives you access to the multiplayer of Black Ops 6 if you own it. This workaround is how it already functions for any title on Xbox with online multiplayer. However, lopping it into your official statement makes this more confusing, and Microsoft would have been better off not mentioning it at all. Nonetheless, the idea that a new, excited Game Pass purchaser who loves Call of Duty can even buy a Game Pass tier without the online multiplayer component of Black Ops 6 is a disaster waiting to happen. If this was going to be Microsoft's planned attempt to inject a massive wave of users into Game Pass, they should have put the whole game on the most used tier of Game Pass and see how the cards fall. And if you care about console hardware sales, why shouldn't the Console-only subscription give you full access to Black Ops 6? Do you mean to tell me that all of the upcoming boxed units of Xboxes in Walmart, BestBuy, and Costco with the Black Ops logo on them will require three extra steps of research by general game players to know how to get Call of Duty on Game Pass without picking the wrong tier? You're out of your mind!

Maybe Microsoft has realized that Game Pass subscriptions would not jump as much as they wanted if they opted for the "go for broke approach." You don't need a college degree to figure out that Call of Duty on Game Pass isn't going to result in a massive explosion of new subscriptions that persist for more than three months, which would have covered the cost of a person not buying a boxed retail copy of the game. So, the decision here might be to lower the risk of putting Call of Duty on Game Pass blowing up in your face and making sure you still financially come out in the green. I also think there will be people who mentally contemplate some version of, "Huh, now that I did not spend $70 on Call of Duty, maybe I should buy some skins." The odds of Microsoft not making a profit on Black Ops 6 are pretty low. Likewise, from an entirely business standpoint, it ultimately benefits Microsoft to funnel users into Game Pass Ultimate versus its other tiers.

I hate the fact that I have to log into a URL every two to three weeks to know what's leaving Game Pass
I hate the fact that I have to log into a URL every two to three weeks to know what's leaving Game Pass

Nonetheless, Microsoft must start pruning its Game Pass tiers because this is getting stupid. "Core" is a terrible name for that tier, and it sounds like Microsoft is considering making that version of Game Pass the same as the "normal" Game Pass tier but ad-driven. I get that there are legal reasons for delineating Xbox and PC Game Pass. Still, Microsoft should merge them and have clear markers on games that can only be playable on Xbox versus PC, with Ultimate still being the tier to get "everything," including AAA titles, no questions asked. And don't get me started on the difference between the Xbox PC Store versus the general Microsoft store that sometimes has games you can buy. At some point, Microsoft is going to have to unify all of its store apps and clients into something halfway decent because the ones they have right now all suck and are miserable to use on a desktop.

The lack of coherence on how Call of Duty players can use Game Pass to get what most people would call the "full" game again highlights how wishy-washy Microsoft continues to be about its first-party games. Again, we still cannot get a definitive answer from Microsoft about the multiplatform status of Indiana Jones and the Great Circle, a game with a fuzzy 2024 release date. In contrast, Doom: The Dark Ages, a 2025 title, gets a definite affirming that it is coming to PS5 within days of the showcase. On top of that, you hear Phil Spencer throwing some shade at Sony by promising that Xbox will not try to do "slimy platform things" with Call of Duty, which is in reference to PSN requirements for AAA Sony games on PC. My guy, you have no foundation to stand upon to give Sony shit, but the important thing here is that having a Game Pass subscription will not be a requirement for PS5 owners interested in Black Ops 6, which is fantastic news. Nonetheless, it raises the question of whether Microsoft is making its Game Pass route to Call of Duty achievable on Sony's platforms. This point has yet to be confirmed or resolved, but if Microsoft wants to see Game Pass subscriptions explode, they should open the floodgates to a proper multiplatform strategy. Why wouldn't you do that if it is all about Game Pass subs? And yet, all signs point to that not being the route Microsoft will take. Again, this middle ground Microsoft continues to strike is far more awkward than if they completely swung one way or the other. On the one hand, they want unique trinkets for their hardware owners, but at the same time, they refuse to wall everything in their first-party wheelhouse. Still, their multiplatform agenda continues to lurch in awkward spurts even though Spencer affirms that he now cares about sustainability. For the love of God, pick a side.

I'm Fine With Calling This The "Xbox Ecosystem," But What About Third-Parties?

They can't keep dodging memes at their expense. Own up that things are looking grim and you are going to do something about it.
They can't keep dodging memes at their expense. Own up that things are looking grim and you are going to do something about it.

This week, we had Nintendo's sudden but incredibly impressive June 2024 Nintendo Direct. This edition of Nintendo's game showcase had plenty of surprises as well as some notable clues on what the future will hold for the Switch. Despite being nothing but a series of trailers and gameplay demos, it left most people watching it with fewer questions than any gaming streaming conference during Summer Game Fest. However, one of the weirder things was the handful of multiplatform games with no listed Xbox release, even if they had PC and PS4/PS5 releases. Darkest Dungeon II and Capcom's Marvel Vs Capcom collection were the most prominent examples. I'm not entirely confident in saying their relationships in Japan have soured due to the Tango closure, but that did not help. Over on Twitter, someone pointed out that the issue might be architectural, as reported by Windows Central. However, there's a straightforward fact even Microsoft has admitted: third-party developers experience a decline in game sales when they put their software on Game Pass. This fact has resulted in many third-party developers not being convinced that Game Pass provides a sustainable future.

And why would they? The minute Game Pass started to experience flagging growth, Microsoft coincidentally shuttered three significant studios in its portfolio. One of those studios, Tango Gameworks, was responsible for Hi-Fi Rush, a game many considered successful but not by whatever metric Phil Spencer's higher-ups were assessing. However, what is that metric for success? Putting games on Game Pass on day one means you cannot stand by physical or digital sales. Do you monitor "success" by the number of new Game Pass subscriptions that join Game Pass the month the game releases? What if you release your title in the summer when video game sales generally are low, or your Game Pass game releases without any supporting media to help it drive up subscriptions? The marker for success may orient around the total number of users playing your title on Game Pass. However, while that might work for Call of Duty or any games as a service titles, it does not work well with single-player-focused games and indie games with limited replayability. So, what works on this "ecosystem?" Developers who are not first-party ones or monoliths like EA or 2K want to know, and until Microsoft finally answers that question, there are only so many developers who are willing to gamble on the promise of Game Pass as time marches on. Developers like EA and Ubisoft, which already rely on a healthy glut of live-service games, will stick it out regardless of what studios Microsoft closes. However, everyone else needs more than the expected corporate platitudes that things will get better because margins in the industry are getting slimmer with the cost of game development rising.

You mean to tell me that Microsoft elected to sign a deal with an unproven upstart with the promise of making a AAA game instead of mending bridges in Japan?
You mean to tell me that Microsoft elected to sign a deal with an unproven upstart with the promise of making a AAA game instead of mending bridges in Japan?

Suppose Microsoft is going to embrace the same business strategy everyone else in the industry used, Sony, EA, and Embracer included, and say to its divisions that successful games are no longer enough to protect the studios that made them. In that case, they need to realize that doing so will make their novel Game Pass pitch all the more challenging to smaller studios and even larger ones like Capcom. The studio closures earlier this year signaled to everyone that Game Pass needed a drastic change to make it more sustainable by whatever metric Microsoft's leadership was abiding by for those studio's last work. In the case of Arkane Austin, the game they were working on did not pan out, and Game Pass numbers would likely never turn things around. However, shortly after closing Tango and Arkane Austin, Microsoft signed off on a new studio in Poland to begin work on a new AAA title. Then they inked an exclusivity contract with former Rocksteady alums who ALSO plan to make a game with AAA aspirations. Is the Xbox going to become a live-service game streaming box? I hope not, but if the only deals you cut are for big AAA products, you should not be surprised that the indie scene or moderate-sized studios refuse to take your money and only release their works on Switch, PC, and PS5.

There's also another reason for the growing third-party hesitation with Game Pass. Not only does the Xbox Series X/S have low sales, but Game Pass poses too much competition to their bottom line. That mindset is especially strong in Japan, where the other prominent examples of major releases skipping Xbox platforms include Megaman Battle Network Legacy Collection, Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster, The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles, Monster Hunter Stories, and Gundam Breaker 4. Even Limited Run Games, whom Microsoft just signed a deal with to make a physical release of Hi-Fi Rush, skipped releasing their Felix the Cat and Rocket Knight Adventures Re-Sparked games on Xbox altogether. Consumers might not see every one of these announcements or omissions, but when they stack this often and with this frequency, they make Xbox hardware even more difficult to justify as a personal purchase. Admittedly, Xbox has always had issues selling software and hardware in Japan. Still, they have previously explained and justified to Japanese studios that their platforms are worthwhile for new software. That is not the case anymore, and whatever you think is the reason for this change, be it because of poor public perception of the current leadership or shoddy console sales, it is a clear sign that there's a crack to the confidence that Spencer exudes about the future of Xbox.

HOLY SHIT! Can Spencer, Bond, And Booty Grow A Backbone And Own Up To The Layoffs?

I just can't trust this many anymore and probably never should have in the first place.
I just can't trust this many anymore and probably never should have in the first place.

As many of you know, Phil Spencer was not interviewed on the Giant Bomb couch during Summer Game Fest 2024. Per Jeff Grubb, Spencer and Sarah Bond agreed to appear and then canceled their interview around the time the studio closures were announced. This unfortunate turn of events translates into IGN Live's interview with Spencer being the only attempt to press him for clarity about Xbox's future during the Summer Game Fest. I won't dabble on what perceived shortcomings there are with this interview. Still, the general feeling I got was that the interviewer, Ryan McCaffrey, even when they brought up topics like Tango or Xbox's multiplatform plans, let Spencer spew corporate non-answers before moving on to a new question or topic. Nonetheless, it was still not the most flattering picture of Spencer and his team-leading Xbox. For reference, here's what he had to say about Tango and Arkane Austin:

Yeah, the closure of any team is hard, obviously on the individuals there, hard on the team. And I try to spend all of my focus, as you said, I haven't been talking publicly about this, because right now is a time for us to focus on the team and the individuals. It's obviously a decision that's very hard on them and I want to make sure through severance and other things that we're doing the right thing for the individuals on the team. It's not about my PR, it's not about Xbox PR, it's about those teams.

In the end, I've said over and over, I have to run a sustainable business inside the company and grow. And that means sometimes I have to make hard decisions that frankly are not decisions I love, but decisions that somebody needs to go make. We will continue to go forward, we will continue to invest in what we're trying to go do in Xbox and build the best business that we can, which ensures we can continue to do shows like the one we just did.

Hearing Phil Spencer say his current priority is to "run a sustainable business" is ripe. You advocated that Microsoft shell out $70 billion to acquire Activision-Blizzard. That was YOUR CALL! When USA and UK regulators blocked that acquisition, you continued to advocate that Microsoft had to open up the checkbook to defend this purchase. It took half a year of litigation and expensive lawyering to buy Activision, and now you are worried about sustainability. Speaking of the Activision-Blizzard acquisition, I know it wasn't his intent, but hearing him characterize the UK's CMA blocking the acquisition as "dark days" is abhorrent. Microsoft has laid off approximately 2,000 Xbox and Activision employees this year; if those layoffs are not a dark day, are they a maroon day, or are they more of a chartreuse day? Likewise, hearing him say, "I mean, you and I will go back to the time of Xbox where we basically had four games: Fable, Forza, Gears, Halo. And we would just literally, every four years, I would have to come to E3, and I'd somehow try to make those four games seem different every year for the community" is WILD! He and Xbox defenders cannot continue to blame Don Mattrick for their problems. For over a decade, it was HIS JOB to invest money in original IPs!

Furthermore, surely Microsoft's studio closures suggest that Game Pass growth and hardware sales were declining or worsening. Well, neither of those things is relevant because Spencer declared, "Game Pass is up double digits. PC is growing really well, the cloud is growing really well," and "We're up double digits every year over the last five years on game sales, on Xbox consoles." While Spencer might be right about growth compared to where things were a few years ago, the evidence that sales for the Series S/X have tanked is overwhelming. Correspondingly, if Game Pass numbers have been growing, why close studios? Was the growth, as some people have indicated, not enough? If that's the case, throw in the towel now because I don't know if putting Call of Duty on Game Pass will do as much as you hope because you are still releasing it via retail and digital marketplaces. I know Specner cannot tell us everything about the behind-the-scenes politics of why they closed the studios they closed earlier this year. Nonetheless, I refuse to believe that Spencer is saying any of this without knowing there's a disconnect between his words and what his business is doing. And at the very least, he can show some goddamn humanity and own up to fucking up and putting hundreds, if not thousands, out of work.

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bigsocrates

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The only place we differ here is that I never thought that the showcase changed anything. They've had good showcases before but good showcases do not always make for good game lineups, and none of the games they showed looked like massive industry defining hits anyway. They mostly looked like games I will enjoy, which is great, but they're not going to get people to change the platform.

I posted awhile back about Xbox the device being in a death spiral and I still think that's the case. I think Microsoft has a strong foundation in games and we see with successes like Sea of Thieves on PS5 that they do have valuable properties, even beyond Minecraft and COD.

I don't know what I would do if I were in charge but I don't think I would keep fighting the traditional console battle. Maybe create a semi-open platform with an Xbox that can also boot a thin version of Windows or just a Windows based Xbox that can play PC games. Maybe go full third party. Among many structural problems one that gets overlooked is that Xbox is basically a USA only brand, with a small presence in Europe and in some parts of Latin America but basically nowhere else. The USA is going to keep shrinking as a share of the market so even if you could resurrect the brand here you'd be starting almost from square 1 in the rest of the world. Doesn't seem worth it.

Time to move on to a different strategy. That can involve hardware but just making another traditional console seems dumb at this point. And I say that as someone who has owned every Xbox and has a massive digital library that I'd have to back up if that's even possible.

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apewins

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Excellent write-up, but I also disagree about this being their best presentation in ages. As I already said in the actual tread, Microsoft always presents well. But in the end you never know which one of these games is going to be the next Starfield, the next Redfall, the next Scalebound. My expectation of Microsoft putting out a great game is not particularly high. I'm sure that Gears 6 will be fine, but it's probably too much to ask that it would innovate the genre in any way.

About the hardware... You'll notice that they didn't put the price nor the release date on the presentation, and there's a good reason for that. These prices are just insane and it really makes me wonder if Microsoft is even trying to improve its position. I might have been tempted to upgrade my Series S to an X but not at these prices. Of course the street prices will be completely different, but why even promote your product at a price that every retailer knows that they can't possibly ask?

Seems it's pretty much a commonly accepted fact that a Game Pass price hike is coming. And it's not hard to speculate that it's because Call of Duty. So I'm really not looking forward to higher prices just because of basically one game that I didn't ask for and probably won't play even for free. But even without a price increase, I'm thinking about letting my subscription lapse once my prepaid time is up. The Microsoft first party games are what they are, but it feels to me that the quality of 3rd party games on Game Pass has also dropped in recent years. It's increasingly games I've never heard about, or games that were good 10+ years ago.

The constant failures of Xbox coupled with the problems that Windows is going through with their Recall controversy most recently, and the feeling that every Windows update is a step in the wrong direction, really makes me wonder what the hell Microsoft is even doing. I've threatened to move onto Linux before and that didn't stick, but I'm now thinking about it again. Surely these PR losses are adding up for Microsoft. Yet at the same time they keep making ridiculous money off of the cloud so that Nadella has no reason to worry about his job safety. So my perception is that Microsoft doesn't know what it's doing and it doesn't care because the money just keeps rolling in. But as a consumer I might not just be done with Xbox, I might be done with Microsoft, aside of maybe playing one of their games on the Playstation every now and then.

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mellotronrules

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really excellent summation of my sentiments surrounding Xbox!

admittedly it's not a defensible position- but if i'm being candid- one aspect of contemporary Xbox that has always given me pause is despite being tethered to intermittently the most valuable company on Earth- it feels like you'd have to hold a gun to someone's head to get them to burn cash on an original IP.

or put another way- Microsoft doesn't need success in its gaming division to survive- and i think that shows. we love a Pentiment and a Hi-Fi Rush- but does Satya?

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So far, the only game I'm interested in this showcase is Microsoft Flight Simulator 2024, while I'm disappointed that Forza Horizon 6 is not announced.

Meanwhile, PlayStation's State Of Play May 2024, is disappointing and a small show.

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sparky_buzzsaw

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It was a cool showcase but it was also... well, a showcase. These things are never a great gauge for how games will actually turn out, or what a company's future might hold. I'm very down on Microsoft at the moment but also they have the best potential to turn things back around for themselves long-term, be that in hardware or software.

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#7  Edited By brian_

Even if I could try and put aside their horrendous decisions this year, I don't know how I could ever trust anything coming out of an Xbox showcase to be good when they have failed to deliver on nearly everything they've shown there for the past decade. Numerous cancelled games, long delays, rough launches, years spent improving live service games to varying levels of success and promises of blockbusters that wind up middling at best.

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ThePanzini

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#8  Edited By ThePanzini

Avowed, Fable 4, Perfect Dark and State of Decay 3 were reveled in 2020, I don't see how anyone can put stock in anything Xbox shows. Their new title announcements don't even list platforms anymore.

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Disclaimer that I haven't owned an Xbox console since the Xbox 360, etc. etc.

I was impressed by the line up of games shown at the showcase. Some of them were just cinematic trailers without gameplay, so who knows what they'll end up like, but I'm happy for people who have invested in the Microsoft ecosystem to finally get some hope on the first party front.

For me personally, even as someone with a PC, I'm not sure how many of those games moved the needle for me. I'm not an FPS person so Doom didn't do much for me, Activision really got me sour after the whole Blitzchung thing and kowtowing to pressure from... well, YOU KNOW, so I've steered away from all their releases, so there really wasn't a ton for me. It was cool to see a new Life is Strange, despite my only exposure to it watching GBE's playthrough of the original, and I enjoyed Gears of War 1 and 2 enough that I'd be interested in playing through the new one when it gets a discount.

I guess it shouldn't surprise anyone that a major corporation will make the worst decisions possible, but it really is baffling how they stuttered two fairly beloved studios, only to then open a new one. Plus the statement about needing more "smaller, award-winning titles" when you had one and closed the studio that made it! It's also baffling that, for all intents and purposes, it seems like Hi-Fi Rush didn't make enough money because it launched on Game Pass, which contributed to the closure of Tango, but then here we are throwing Call of Duty and all these other games on there. I was unaware of the tiered access to CoD until I saw the graphic included here, and while it's a mess to navigate through, it makes more sense to me after looking at it cause I really could not see how Xbox "giving away" arguably one of the best selling franchises out there on the cheap.

Plus, with essentially every first party game being available on Game Pass, are their futures doomed? Will id Software get closed if Doom's sales underperform cause it was on Game Pass? What about the developer of Fable? State of Decay 3? I mean, I know layoffs are not exclusive to the video game industry, but it's really hard to feel good about being a fan of this past time sometimes when looking at the human cost and how unsustainable this industry is becoming with each passing moment...

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#10  Edited By AV_Gamer

The showcase was good, but it means nothing if they can't deliver on those games. Remember, many of the games in past showcases also looked good, but proved to be disappointments. The only game that came out from Microsoft that was excellent, was Hi-Fi Rush which was an unexpected surprise. And while I personally liked Hellblade II, it came out years too late to make a serious impact. They say the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. If this is true, then things might still be bleak for the Xbox brand. It's up to Microsoft to proves these feelings many people currently have wrong.

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infantpipoc

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#11  Edited By infantpipoc

@thepanzini said:Avowed, Fable 4, Perfect Dark and State of Decay 3 were reveled in 2020, I don't see how anyone can put stock in anything Xbox shows. Their new title announcements don't even list platforms anymore.

I for one can only see this 2024 showcase as their usual parade of vaporware and bullshot. The so-called Perfect Dark gameplay just screams "This game does not exist", at least not yet.

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Undeadpool

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#12  Edited By Undeadpool

Unless they are being held to account by actual, legal (by which I don't mean "lawful," I mean "in a court of law") means, do not believe ANYTHING a videogame publisher tells you. Ever. Words are free and lies have no consequences in this industry. I'm not saying don't get excited for things, that way lies insufferable jaded disaffection, I'm saying don't make plans around them.

That aside: @zombiepie, I cannot believe you write these massive articles for free and put them out for everyone to read.