Crackdown 3’s Delay Is Yet More Evidence Of The Systemic Problem Microsoft Is Facing

The Xbox’s state of exclusives and first party games is alarming.

Posted By | On 19th, Aug. 2017 Under Article, Editorials | Follow This Author @Pramath1605

Last week, I talked about the dismal and frankly alarming state of Microsoft’s exclusives lineup for the Xbox One, a problem exacerbated by the slim pickings as far as Microsoft’s first party portfolio goes. I pointed out that the brand new Nintendo Switch will have more major exclusives in the first nine months it is on the market than the Xbox One has received in 2016 and 2017 put together. It was a stance, an observation, that I have made before multiple times by now- I have been discussing the slow deterioration of Xbox’s first party and exclusive lineup, and its graver long term implications, for a while now. This is a stance and an observation that has made me rather unpopular, and brought me a lot of hate last week.

But within the week that I wrote that article, we find my stance vindicated yet again- the announcement this week that Microsoft will be delaying Crackdown 3 out of this year into the next, meaning the Xbox One’s lineup of exclusives this year is Halo Wars 2, Forza Motorsport 7, and Super Lucky’s Tale– Cuphead and Phantom Dust if we throw in digital games as well. It’s a shockingly poor showing, especially in a year when Sony and Nintendo have managed to constantly dominate mainstream conversation on the back of their cadence of exclusive games.

Now, ordinarily, a game delay, while heartbreaking, is also indicative of a publisher and developer willing to spend additional time on a product and give it the polish and development time it deserves. And certainly, Microsoft deserves credit for being willing to take the hit of not having a big Xbox One X ‘launch’ game, or a big Holiday game, and pushing Crackdown into next year, rather than rushing it out this year. However, in this case, Crackdown‘s delay hits worse than delays usually do- it hits worse because the Xbox exclusives lineup is slim enough as is, meaning a single delay or disappointment is compounded. And it hits worse because it demonstrates just how much of a problem Microsoft’s project management has been in this generation.

"The Xbox One’s lineup of exclusives this year is Halo Wars 2, Forza Motorsport 7, and Super Lucky’s Tale– Cuphead and Phantom Dust if we throw in digital games as well. It’s a shockingly poor showing, especially in a year when Sony and Nintendo have managed to constantly dominate mainstream conversation on the back of their cadence of exclusive games."

Microsoft Game Studios has been hit by constant delays, cancellations, closures and more this generation. Studios they have worked with, such as Insomniac and Remedy, have moved on from wanting to work exclusively with them – in Remedy’s case, after a decade long relationship of exclusivity – major games have released after long delays and been half baked and undercooked, such as ReCore and Quantum Break, major studios like Lionhead have been closed, and multiple major games have dragged on in development for years before being cancelled eventually- such as Scalebound, Fable Legends, and the Phantom Dust sequel we were promised (we ended up getting a remaster of the original Xbox game instead).

Further evidence of how bad things have gotten can be gleaned from the fact that of the big major exclusives for Xbox One announced for next year – Sea of Thieves, State of Decay 2, Crackdown 3, and Ori and the Will of the Wisps – three were originally intended for release this year and are only releasing next year after being delayed; meanwhile one was announced all the way back in 2014 (Crackdown), one in 2015 (Sea of Thieves), one in 2016 (State of Decay), and one in 2017 (Ori), which reveals the problem right away- games are taking far too long to come out, getting repeatedly delayed, and all the while, new games are not being announced. The major upcoming exclusives for Xbox, not counting the annual Forza cycle, have included Crackdown and Sea of Thieves for years now. It’s getting a bit frustrating for Xbox  fans.

Meanwhile, where are the new announcements? Ori is a fantastic game, and we are glad it is getting a sequel- but is that the best Microsoft can manage? In the Xbox 360 era, Microsoft funded ambitious games like Mass Effect and Fable 2. In the original Xbox era they had games like Ninja Gaiden and Conker. Today, we can expect a new Forza, Halo, Gear, and the same three games on the horizon as have been for the last three years. What in the world happened to Xbox?

"Xbox head Phil Spencer has been promising better first party games for the better part of three years now- it is time for him to deliver, and bring in the games and that too on time."

We’re back to where we started, then- Microsoft lacks exclusives and a first party portfolio, and until and unless they do something to fix it, make a concerted effort to address the problem, we’re going to keep having this conversation. Their lineup of exclusives for next year doesn’t look too bad- Crackdown, Sea of Thieves, Ori, and State of Decay, plus presumably Forza Horizon 4, Gears of War 5 and Halo 6, is nothing to scoff at. But once these games release what then? Will we be back to waiting for just Forza, Halo, and Gears? Or does Microsoft have some actual new IPs in development, beyond the ones we have been hearing about for the last four years, that is?

The simple question is- after 16 years in the gaming industry, is Microsoft willing to invest in gaming talent, properties, and studios it owns? Or will it continue its current strategy until there is nothing left on Xbox beyond games that other boxes can also play? Xbox head Phil Spencer has been promising better first party games for the better part of three years now- it is time for him to deliver on those promises, and start putting out exciting new software on a regular basis.

Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to GamingBolt as an organization.

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  • mpj1138

    Every single first party PlayStation game has been delayed. Crickets. Crackdown 3 gets delayed, end of the freaking world.

    • S. Cruz

      Yeah but they have exclusive 3rd party games released when they don’t have a 1st party game. Halo wars 2 is all Xbox got this year….1 game and it august.

    • mpj1138

      I agree, just pointing out the media disparity. It’s kinda insane for the media to even play favorites in what are essentially toys. Xbox’s problem is Shannon Loftis (head of first party development), she needs to fired in the worst way.

    • S. Cruz

      Yeah i agree with both points you have . I think Phil needs to just be head of Xbox and back to his position…shannons current position. Since the change their first party games have stalled badly

    • Edonus

      I think people are letting the media control where the conversation stops. The media is making it seem like MS doesn’t make games or even want to make games. What I see and hope is happening is MS taking control of their games narrative.

      This entire gen every Xbox One game or product that has come out receives non stop attack articles in the golden hours leading up to their release. between a 3-4 months out and a week or 2 before the game launches when hype and objective knowledge of the game should be front and center the air waves are filled with doubt articles.

      2 weeks ago the internet was basically saying Crackdown 3 was the worst game they ever saw……. now that its delayed it was the Jesus Christ of games and the only thing that could save the Xbox One X…….. same thing happened with Scalebound, same thing happened with Fable legends. The media couldn’t muster 2 kind words about those games until they were dead.

      I think MS want CD3 too be huge and they want the Xbox One X out first because so they can focus on the negative attacks it will have to endure. CD3 being present at that time in anything but the most stellar state would only make it harder to create a positive wave for the brand.

      Don’t get me wrong CD3 was my most anticipated game of the year….. but n honesty I have lots of games I planned on buying the holiday season. I still have PUBG, Battlefront 2, Forza and AC origins to buy.

    • Doggystyle ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ
    • mpj1138

      I have to agree with everything you said. Now I just wish the rest of these people would be as rational as you.

    • talocaca

      True…but eventually released to critical acclaim.

      Like Horizon, Persona 5, Uncharted 4, Hellblade….

      During that period what exclusives did Xbox owners get?

    • Wei Feng

      Scalebound cancelled

    • Mr Xrat

      They’ve produced more games and got more of them out on time than MS ever has.

      You’re looking at the worst year for MS Studios in over a decade. Own that failure.

    • Josh Morland

      If Phil “PR Machine” Spencer won’t own up to it…What makes you think Xboners will? They’re hyping Xbone One X to high heaven only to NOT realize M$FT has done this song and dance before with OG Xbox.

  • bigshynepo

    “And it hits worse because”…..Microsoft are launching a new console with basically nothing to justify the purchase until 2018, except back catalog title improvements.

    • Shawn Robeck

      But its not a “new console” no more the ps4 pro is, which has zero exclusives over the regular ps4. They are both just upgraded graphics.

      And on a side note, how do you “exclusives people” really have time to play thousands of games per year? Especially when you can put years into playing one online game (CoD, Destiny, Elder Scrolls, etc). Must be a millennial adhd thing. I don’t get it, but to each their own I guess.

    • Asim Mehmood

      It is not about Xbox One X or PS4 Pro exclusives; that would split the fanbase. It is about compelling exclusive Xbox One games that feature significant improvements on Xbox One X to make people buy it. For example, Horizon Zero Dawn is often quoted as an excellent and jaw-dropping showcase for PS4 Pro. However, I do think that Forza 7 will an excellent showcase for what Xbox One X can do.

    • C. Hoffer

      I’m all for the new Xbox X (also have a Pro & PS4).
      I would suggest people stop using racing games as a way to ‘showcase’ the X. It is pretty game but a bad example of system use.

      Racing games are glorified tunnels with paintings on the walls.

      That’s like telling people you have a ton of graphics horsepower/potential because the fps shooter you’re in takes place in tiny snake like underground tunnels the entire game

      Xbox X needs a game like Horizon or at least like Uncharted to get some kind of glimpse of the tech behind the scenes. Keeping in mind they will need a very up to date game engine combined with an excellent studio to pull it off. As the best in the industry, Guerrilla Games and Naughty Dog work for Sony that only leaves potentials like Bungie or The Coalition. I have zero confidence in either of those for different reasons.

      On top of that, that game experience requires some restrictions to anything made for the X as it also must be playable on the One/S. Can you see an open world state of the art game (like Horizon) amped up even more on the X. It would be eye boggling great….and yet that same game has to run 100% compatible on the One/S. Think 720fps/30fps with a LOT of fog to mask distance.

    • bigshynepo

      Is your side note directed at me, or to the audience here?
      I’m probably older than you so I likely don’t have the answer to your question.

      Well, Sony did release the Pro alongside the PS VR, which had it’s own slew of games. Furthermore, nothing could’ve been more anticipated by some than The Last Guardian, which was a nice treat among all the multi-plats last year and was most certainly optimized for the PS4 Pro.

    • Token

      As we sit here today theres not even much to justify it in 2018. The state of games on Xbox is really bad. Though id argue the state of games in general isnt great.

  • Hvd

    not to me but you keep drinking that sauce.i still got plenty of exclusives to play.

    • S. Cruz


    • Hvd

      the ones that were released and the end of last year like forza,gears,recore..derp…derp…derp.,i also play eso and destiny.

      have fun waiting for that ps3 delayed gt sport.its all SONY has for the year if its not delayed again and no holiday games as usual….lmao.

    • TomDobo

      Gravity rush 2, Horizon Zero Dawn, Persona 5, Wipeout, Crash Bandicoot, Nioh, Nier Automata, Yakuza 0 and Many VR/Indie games. Thats just a list of PS4 exclusives that are currently out with more to come. So atleast do your research.

    • Hvd

      there is that craptastic list.pssss over half of those games have already come out..lmao.all you have left until next years 1 big exclusive is that ps3 delayed gt sport if thats not delayed again..lmao.

    • TomDobo

      I did say these are what have came out. Its a better list than any x1 game thats been released ever

    • Hvd

      no in my eyes only in yours.jrpgs suck.

    • TomDobo

      Okay sure.

    • S. Cruz

      Ummm but look whatvps4 got earlier this year, yakuza, nioh, mlb 17, horizon zero dawn , persona 5…plus hellblade just released, with uncharted coming next week, plus gta sports. Soooo you playing last years games while ps4 released all them exclusives this year…but you get an a for effort buddy

    • Bilal Prince-Ali

      dont you always call the PS4 the ‘Delaystation’ …? AHAHAHAHAH mateee you’re pathetic! An embarrassment!

  • Rafoca

    I´m concerned too, but at least we will still have Path of Exile and Player Unknown Battlegrounds. They are only timed, but it´s better than nothing. But yeah, the lack of true first party games are concerning. I wouldn´t mind if MS started to get exclusive games from third party, but all MS does is timed exclusive deals these days.

    But let´s be honest… there were times where Xbox owners were trolling PS owners because PS4 was having a bad time with exclusives as well. I remember when the only two true good games on PS4 were Uncharted and Bloodborne for a lot of people.

    But if we look only at 2017, then we have the impression MS is doomed. But that´s nnot how it works. I get the feeling that next year PS4 won´t keep the same flow as this year and MS will triumph on the exclusive department, but I may be wrong

    • C. Hoffer

      You will be wrong and I’m not happy about that. Gamers win when there is more choice and competition.
      Unfortunately, there is nothing game wise for Xbox on the horizon (no pun intended). I’m looking forward to Metro Exodus….that’s it on Xbox. There is nothing else. I’m not into sports or racing. WWII COD might be cool but I’d rather play destiny and its just as locked down on the Xbox X as it is on the Pro. The devs just don’t have the money to use all the more powerful features. Keeping in mind they will use enough on the X to at least make it run well.

    • Rafoca

      I know, but in the end of the day, even if Sony has more exclusives it doesn’t matter to me, cause I would only play nioh and bloodborne. I like co-op, so Sony is not a company that focuses on that.

      I’m concerned about Xbox because the lack of exclusives, regardless of how much Sony’s exclusives have. I mean, even if Sony didn’t exist I would be worried

    • C. Hoffer

      Sigh…Co-op. One of the reasons I played Destiny and finally got a One S late last year (still hate the junk) but at least I could do co-op even if it was on 360 compat games. :/

    • Rafoca

      Well… At least Most of Xbox exclusives have some sort of co-op. Crackdown, sea of thieves and state of decay 2 will feature co-op campaign for up to four players.. After those games release, who knows what other game will be announced.

      I won’t hold my breath anymore

  • Dafuq Iswrong
  • Mr Xrat

    Xgimps getting mad because their cult’s failure is getting called out.

    Never mind, you might get a paid beta’s release date soon. That’ll bail out another awful year.

    • ProAssassin84

      It’s comical watching Xbox Fanboys fumble and go full panick mode defending Microsoft. Only thing they throw out is Forza 7 all while forgetting a recent Graphics comparison of Forza 7 and Drive Club where Driveclub has better weather, graphics and played on a standard PS4.

      Microsoft has just lost touch with reality. There releasing a new console with no games.

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  • エッチDランブル

    xbox games get worse each year while sony consistently pushes the medium beyond all others. but we’re supposed to want competition lmfao xbox needs to die

    • C. Hoffer

      Gamers lose when companies die out. The winner charges more and refuses to innovate as they ‘costs profits’. 🙁
      Just look at Intel vs AMD. Suddenly Intel is producing huge multi-core CPU’s and making tons of improvements that they were seemingly unable to do for the last 5 years. Why…because they can get more money by extending inferior lines of products. Just like APPLE and their iPhones.

    • エッチDランブル

      err no. sony are the greatest before and after xbox tried leeching off the industry and almost sucking it dry with their depression. don’t care about you dumb nerd wars between nvidia. pc sucks and needs to die also

  • I just wanna ask one question to the SONY, NINTENDO and PC fanboy’s

    Do you really want to see whole XBOX Division and Community dead?
    Do you really want Microsoft to pull its plug from XBOX Division?
    Do you really want to see XBOX Brand dead?

    if these are your wishes then you will be happy to see the Gaming world without a parity competitor.

  • Mark

    Ay Pramath, if u write one more article about Xbox exclusives, I’m gonna….break my TV glass wit ma head

  • Henk van Puffelen

    I really don’t care about exclusives. I only played Forza on the XBox and NMS and HZD on the PS4 and that’s it. All the other games I play are multiplatform.

  • Jai

    And if they’d have brought out Crackdown 3 on schedule in a lower quality form, you’d be criticizing them for NOT delaying it and giving the developers more time to iron out its kinks.

    Just as the last 5 – 10 years you’ve been criticizing Xbox for putting too much emphasis on exclusives over power, declaring Playstation the superior console because graphics and power are more important than exclusives – the MOMENT Xbox’s number of exclusives dips below Playstation and they announce a new Xbox more powerful than Playstation, suddenly it’s all about exclusives and graphics and power don’t matter.

    Video game journalism, ladies and gentlemen.


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