This past weekend, gamers from around the world received an onslaught of industry news from both the The Game Awards show and Sony’s impressive PlayStation Experience event in Las Vegas. Brand new gameplay footage from Uncharted 4 and the official confirmation that Street Fighter V will be a PlayStation 4 console exclusive easily overshadowed everything and had diehard Sony supporters on cloud nine.
Shortly after all this news was revealed, many analysts and fanboys turned their attention to Microsoft and begin to question if the Xbox One was still capable of competing with both the PS4 and Wii U. I personally think the console is more than capable of doing so and wanted to express my candid thoughts on what Microsoft will do now to reach this goal.
Keep Creating New IPs
When Microsoft first revealed Sunset Overdrive to the masses, I had my own doubts about whether or not this game would truly capture my attention. Once I finally got around to reviewing the charming open world third-person shooter, I walked away impressed and had renewed faith in not only the console but also Microsoft’s ability to invest in new IPs.
Once Sony confirmed that they picked up the rights to Street Fighter V, Phil Spencer acknowledged that business deals happen and he remains fully committed to Killer Instinct. The Xbox head then stated that he felt putting more focus on original IPs is what he wanted to bring back to the brand. While many will claim that the recent publishing deal with Rise of the Tomb Raider is highly hypocritical, it’s important to note that Spencer has already said he wasn’t involved in this process. In hindsight, first-party exclusives should be the primary focus of both consoles because then and only then will fans get a chance to explore more original ideas and new experiences without having to lose future titles in a series to each other.
Increase Indie Presence and Support
Before the PlayStation 4 launched in North America and Europe, Sony laid out their aggressive plans to keep a wide variety of games on their platform. They achieved this feat by not only keeping their first party teams intact, but also by going after a wide array of indie development teams.
While Microsoft acted pretty poorly in strengthening these relationships in the beginning, they have since improved in these areas rather significantly. Max: Curse of The Brotherhood and Super Time Force are perfect examples of indie games that debuted on the Xbox One first and the same success is forthcoming for both Below and Ori and the Blind Forest. If Microsoft sticks to their guns and keep building on these relationships then they easily can be on the same level playing field with Sony when it comes to indie support.
Bring Back Old Franchises that Fans Actually Want
Fans who watched Microsoft’s E3 2014 press conferences witnessed the troll of a lifetime when Conker was teased as a part of Project Spark instead of being the star of his own new game. That same level of disappointment can also be said for how Microsoft treated the Kinect and had Rare working on games for the device instead of bringing back beloved franchises like Banjo-Kazooie.
Given the current position that Microsoft is in now, I fully expect them to focus on bringing back franchises that fans have been eagerly waiting for. Phil Spencer acknowledges this need as a gamer himself and it’s the main reason why he brought back Crackdown. Going by this logic, I’ll be surprised if we don’t see another Conker, Perfect Dark, Alan Wake and/or Banjo-Kazooie before this generation of consoles comes to an end.
Solid Release Schedule and Lineup
One simple fact that absolutely no one can deny about Microsoft is that they had a far better launch lineup than the PlayStation 4 this time last year. Ryse: Son of Rome and Dead Rising 3 are two games that were highly criticized by skeptics, yet those same people still found a way to play both games once they finally arrived on PC.
Truthfully, the real reason why a lot of people didn’t check out these games is because the ridiculous Xbox One price tag prevented them from doing so. Even still, Microsoft had the better lineup then and I would even go so far as to say the same applies to their fall lineup this year thanks to Forza Horizon 2, Sunset Overdrive, and Halo: The Master Chief Collection when working.
Phil Spencer recently stated that the Xbox One lineup in 2015 is massive and that some game releases may have to be put off until early 2016. If this is indeed true, Microsoft needs to do a better job of letting the fans know more about what’s ahead in an effort to keep their attention throughout the year. This may or may not necessarily mean that they need to have a special Xbox Experience event, but it does remain evident that they need to let their community know how much they value their loyalty. At the end of the day, Microsoft can afford to do anything they want to and it’s time they start showing us all what they are fully capable of.
This concludes a few of my thoughts on how Microsoft will respond to the Playstation Experience. Do you agree or disagree with any of the points I’ve made? If so, please feel free to let me know in the comments section below.