Why The Xbox One Hasn’t Been Able To Achieve A Turnaround Like The PS3

There is one essential ingredient to success Microsoft seems to be missing.

Posted By | On 29th, Jul. 2017 Under Article, Editorials | Follow This Author @Pramath1605


Last year, I wrote about the possibility of the Xbox One turning into this generation’s equivalent of the PS3– a system with a difficult start, but one that managed to turn things around, due to goodwill measures taken by the platform holder, as well as redesigned hardware, soft rebranding, and a stream of great games. In many regards, the Xbox One hit those notes- the Xbox One S is a gorgeous, desirable, well designed console, and it did manage to boost Xbox One sales for a short while. Microsoft have definitely been making all the right moves on the services front, from Game Pass, Backward Compatibility, Cross Platform Play, allowing mods support, allowing services like EA Access, and Xbox Anywhere. And the upcoming Xbox One X definitely looks to provide them an opportunity to rebrand themselves a bit.

And yet, and yet, in spite of that, the Xbox One has simply been unable to achieve the kind of sustained turnaround that the PS3 did last generation. The console’s sales have continued to slump (even more so after the Xbox One S launch), exclusive game support seems to have slowed to a trickle, if that, and general sentiment around the console is not that of surging positivity, like the PS3 started garnering after the launch of the PS3 Slim and Uncharted 2, but indifference at best, and outright antipathy at worst.

So- what has gone wrong here? Why has Microsoft been unable to come back from a poor start like the PS3 did? And is there any scope for them being able to do so?

"The Xbox One has simply been unable to achieve the kind of sustained turnaround that the PS3 did last generation."

At this point, I sound like a broken record, but the ultimate long term failure of the Xbox One (and before people in the comments section get antsy, failure here doesn’t have to be absolute – though it might be – but rather, relative to expectations from the console following the Xbox 360) ultimately comes down to Microsoft’s utter inability to guarantee a stream of exciting and compelling exclusive game support for the system.

This matters- if there are two systems that play 90% of the same games, then my decision to pick one or the other up will come down to that last 10% of the games. Except in this case, there is no last 10% of the games as far as the Xbox is concerned, because exclusives on that platform are minimal. If both systems play Destiny, Call of Duty, FIFA, and Assassin’s Creed, then will I pick up the system that plays just those games, or the one that plays those, plus Horizon, Uncharted, Persona, and Bloodborne?

Individually, none of Sony’s exclusives actually hold that much market appeal, outside of maybe Uncharted, The Last of Us, and God of War– however, there are so many of them, that even if one individual one only appeals to a few hundred thousand people, cumulatively, millions of people are swayed over to the PS4 side. This is a vindication of Sony’s strategy to focus on a wide array of exclusives, casting as wide a net as possible.

Now contrast this to Microsoft’s approach- while focusing on Halo, Gears, and Forza is fine, focusing only on them gets Xbox nowhere. If someone was not convinced by Halo 5, Forza 6, and Gears of War 4, why will Halo 6, Forza 7, and Gears 5 change their minds? They won’t- at that point, Microsoft is just preaching to the choir, and the choir is already converted.

"If people aren’t excited about the games on your system, then it doesn’t matter if you have great services, or consumer friendly practises, or a cool new revision for your system, or the most powerful console ever made- in the end, your system won’t sell at a sustained, high level."

Look at even Nintendo’s strategy, and how it compares to Microsoft’s- Nintendo focuses on a staggeringly broad array of franchises, across all genres, and puts out one game in each once every console cycle (so a new release still feels special) for its major franchises like Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Smash, and Mario Kart, while also focusing on newer IP or niche games like Splatoon, ARMS, Fire Emblem, and Xenoblade. Nintendo, too, seems to understand the importance of casting a wide net to appeal to a broader audience- a lesson that Microsoft seems to be incapable of understanding.

To Microsoft’s credit, they did try with new IP earlier in the generation. They tried with Ryse, Quantum Break, Sunset Overdrive, ReCore, and they have Sea of Thieves coming up (plus there was Scalebound as well). However, I contend that the problem is that while Microsoft is willing to fund new projects, it doesn’t back them- if Quantum Break failed or underperformed, or if ReCore didn’t do that well, Microsoft shouldn’t just drop the titles and double down on the few remaining brands they have that do work— they should stick with their new attempts and try to develop and inculcate them further. Look at Sony as a counterpoint, or Nintendo- the original Killzone and Uncharted both underperformed, and Sony continued pushing the series and developing them, and they stood by their creators. Nintendo consistently leverages IP like Pikmin or Xenoblade, and neither are even regular million sellers- but again, they stand by their creators. Microsoft’s problem is that for them, a new venture seems to be a one and done- they do it once, it needs to do well, or they won’t bother again.

That’s not how you do things- you need to cultivate franchises, grow them, turn them into something bigger, and develop a larger portfolio of games and franchises. If people are excited about the games they can get on your platform, they will get your platform- again, the success of the Nintendo Switch, selling only on the basis of its exclusive games, is testament to that. But if people aren’t excited about the games on your system, then it doesn’t matter if you have great services, or consumer friendly practises, or a cool new revision for your system, or the most powerful console ever made- in the end, your system won’t sell at a sustained, high level. And so, while all the parallels for a PS3 like rebound might be present, the most essential ingredient – games – is sadly the one that Microsoft seems to be missing.

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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  • DA-ROOSTER

    Mainstream media outlets like this love to always use the exclusive games sell console mantra but again the actual numbers show otherwise
    Because multiplatform games like GTAV, COD,NBA 2K,FIFA,Destiny are the PS4’s biggest selling games this generation only Uncharted4 is the one exception
    So again the reason why the Xbox One hasn’t caught up to the PS4 even after the turnaround in quality like releasing the fantastic Xbox One S is the power difference the simple fact is the PS4 is still more powerful than the Xbox One S ,games have a better performance on the PS4 vs the Xbox One S, gamers are gonna buy the console that provides the best performance of their favorite franchises like COD on PS4 1080p vs Xbox One S 900p

    • Learned Handgun

      Like most things, there isn’t one sole reason. Power is one, but exclusives is another. MS will have the power very soon. If they invest in a few good new IPs, there is a really good chance that sales will take a turn. On power alone, it’s a possibility, but not as likely.

    • Holeybartender

      Funny how he uses COD as the sole reason people buy the (currently) more powerful PS4 as if it’s a weak point for buying one when last gen Xbox 360 was the more powerful one and COD was the only reason to buy a 360.

    • Learned Handgun

      The X, some good exclusives, and nice discounts on the S, could make a huge difference. Though i don’t think MS will surpass Sony, i don’t think they have to sell more to be doing well.

    • Darren McCoy

      The 360 was not more powerful than the PS3, easier to develop for yes. Not more powerful.

    • Mike Paul

      The 360 was more powerful when taken as a whole. The cpu wasn’t as powerful but the gpu was, and the unified ram architecture combined with the gpu made it a more powerful system.

    • J.j. Barrington

      When taken as a whole, the 360 failed to deliver games that showed its edge in power… while the PS3 had no such problems. Since when is the less powerful console the one that regularly shows the better graphical fidelity?

    • wobblypops46

      Come on man! The first 2 years of the PS4 it had no AAA exclusives yet sold like hotcakes. Also, fanboys only care about exclusives the average gamer doesn’t, if the average gamer did sales would clearly show it but it doesn’t. Further more, the PS4 has almost nothing for exclusives and out of that a handful of mediocre titles with the exception of a couple. PS4 exclusives are way over hyped by fanboys it’s ridiculous.

    • Godmars

      Because at the time MS has shot the XB1 in the leg with their DRM policies?

    • J.j. Barrington

      There WERE AAA exclusives, of about the same number and quality as what was found on XB1. But there were other things involved, too. Like a track record of delivering such games.

      And that’s come to pass, with far more higher-rated games than on Xbox. I mean, if what the PS4 has is mostly mediocre, but those games are widely considered to be better than their Xbox counterparts, then what does that say about those Xbox games?

      Furthermore, it seems evident you have little to no experience with those PS4 exclusives, so how, exactly, would you know they’re overhyped? The best- though not infallible- sources would be the reviewers, who have consistently given PS4 exclusives good reviews. Surely, you didn’t find some Xbox fan or fanboy to rely on for your impression of PlayStation games?

    • Learned Handgun

      Fanboys only care about their console of choice, regardless of any rational. Fanboyism is brand loyalty to an extreme.

      And the higher price point of the Xbox, the negative publicity from the announcement, the all in one media center message, and the constant drumming on about the Xbox having lower resolutions were the weakness in the beginning. Alot of those issues are being mitigated but now less exclusives is becoming an issue.

    • ProAssassin84

      Are you forgetting that new IP has to run on the XB1. Love how all the Xbox Fanboys think the XboxX is a new generation and will have exclusives. The XboxX will forever be shackled to the 720P XB1.

      Like wake up.

    • Godmars

      How do you state the obvious, that a combination of exclusives and multi, is what gives Sony the edge, while also missing the obvious? Saying that system power is a key factor when its NEVER been a key factor. Not back in the day when as the weakest console the PS2 dominated, and not now when, if anything, MS’s 1st party studios are less effective than when they first got into the industry.

    • Mr Xrat

      Hey Kirky you nasty slug, remember when Xgimps tried hyping up that mediocre lineup in 2013/14?

      It’s a shame about Killing Floor 2. It’s no wonder recent enhancement announcements have been so cagey. Better prep those excuses when the Xbollox flops in the new year.

    • Hahah.. nice.. new xgimp word ‘Xbollox’ hahah i like it. :). May the Sony force be with you!!

  • DA-ROOSTER

    The average gamer doesn’t walk into a store to buy a PS4 to play Bloodborne no, the average gamer walks into a store to buy a PS4 so they can play the latest COD

    • Holeybartender

      The average gamer doesn’t walk into a store to buy a Xbox 360 to play Kameo:EoF no,the average gamer walks into a store to buy a Xbox 360 so they can play the latest COD.

    • Learned Handgun

      That’s some hard core creeping. You may be a bit to vested in video game consoles. Man i hope you have a large financial stake in the success of Sony.

    • Sticky Notes

      You don’t have to have a stake in Microsoft to make a comment about it. That’s ridiculous.

    • Learned Handgun

      I would agree. But that’s also not what i suggested. A more reasonable interpretation would be that overzealous advocacy on behalf of a video game console is irrational. For example combing someone’s posts to for a comment made 12 years prior seems excessive. Was my post really that ambiguous where you couldn’t connect 3 sentences?

    • J.j. Barrington

      You mean the overzealous advocacy you support when defending DA-ROOSTER, who’s the poster child for such actions?

      It’s pretty hard to comb 12 years of comments on an account that’s not even 4 years old yet. Methinks you’re not learned enough.

    • Smart guy

      Who’s worse? Those who defend DA-ROOSTER or those who defend Mr Xrat?? Im not defending anyone but the later is far worse. Anyone who thinks otherwise is a fool.

    • J.j. Barrington

      Yeah…. no. In fact, I’m not defending either(though, between your current comment and your track record, it’s clear you really ARE defending ROOSTER). I just pointed out the irony- or hypocrisy- in Learned Handgun’s remark: he was quick to attack holybartender for something, yet he had no words for ROOSTER.

      And why are you even bringing up Xrat? He’s not involved in this chain of comments. Poor deflection on your part?

    • Smart guy

      Lol I very clearly said I wasn’t defending anyone, if you can’t it read then that’s on you. But you said how can guy support da rooster because of this and that so I turned it around to xrat because he clearly says some very off stuff but you don’t seem to think so, and given your track record, wouldn’t surprise me at all lol. Poor comeback commenting on your part.

    • J.j. Barrington

      That’s like saying “This isn’t a knife in my hand” when you’re clearly clutching a utensil designed for cutting steak between your fingers. It doesn’t matter if you SAY you’re not doing it… if you’re doing it, anyway.

      Where, by the way, am I supporting or defending Xrat? Shoot, I rarely even vote up his comments, so, again: why would you bring him up?

    • Learned Handgun

      Am i missing something? The comment by Holy refers to a comment allegedly made by Daroosster in 2005. Its 2017. 2017 is 12 years after 2005.

      If i missed someting, you should clarify. But my comment follows the facts presented.

    • J.j. Barrington

      Your comment misses out on things like his account not being 12 years old. You being overzealous in your defense missed that little bit that makes the comment a bit of hyperbole. It wasn’t meant to be taken at face value, which I think was pretty obvious to most people.

    • Learned Handgun

      Yet the comment used both italics and asserted he said that. So the comment was misleading and fanboyish. Maybe if you yourself were more honest in your future posting and don’t post fanboyish crap you’d see how foolish it is. Or carry on being a fanboy. W.e.

    • Holeybartender

      Lol Ok,guy who has no clue what I was doing.

    • Sticky Notes

      Checks… Yeah Xbox is losing the market and even Switch is outselling it so no, its not about COD…

    • ProAssassin84

      Well Destiny is the new kids playground and it has exclusive rights to Sony so XboxX is DOA.

    • Learned Handgun

      I played Destiny 2 beta on my Xbox one S.

  • GeekGI

    I believe many people miss the true understanding of the articles message. Looking at multiplatform sells numbers in comparison to exclusive sells numbers doesn’t properly paint an accurate picture. It comes down to the attraction of variety, which the article is pointing out. Sure, a multiplatform title like BF1, COD, etc, may sell far more on the PS4 than exclusives like Persona 5, Gravity Rush 2, The Last Guardian, Horizon and so on (despite all the aforementioned games selling quite well) , however, what has built the PS4’s robust user infrastructure is no doubt supported by the mindshare of the market believing that the PS4 has a larger selection of distinct titles. Whether one decides to believe this or not, the proof is clearly showcased in Sony (PlayStation) and Microsoft’s (Xbox One) software business model. Ultimately, while there are of course various elements that we can consider as to why we see such a one-sided console sells advantage in favor of the PS4, contrasting the exclusive games influence of both Sony and Microsoft this generation has contributed greatly to the current state of affairs.

    • Holeybartender

      It’s not a mindset, PS4 DOES have the larger selection of distinct title,more than DOUBLE the amount! Xbox One has 276 more multiplats than PS4.Exclusives,as far as games are concerned, are a large part of what has and always will be the main reason outsells Xbox.

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Xbox_One_games

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_PlayStation_4_games

    • wobblypops46

      The PS4 doesn’t have a larger selection of titles the XB1 does with hundreds of 360 games. But hey, lets just keep ignoring that. Even without the 360 games the XB1 has just as many big AAA games as the PS4 just look at all the games released for both platforms since the start. PS4 had no AAA exclusives for almost 2 years while the XB1 was doing fine.

      Further more, when the X comes it will have thousands of 360 games, full backward compatibility according to MS.

    • J.j. Barrington

      “Just as many big AAA games” is untrue. It’s also telling that you try to pare down the list, as if people don’t play anything but “big AAA games.”

      How will the XOX have thousands of 360 games if the XB1 only has hundreds?

      And you can find, in those first two years, comparable numbers of AAA exclusives on both consoles. PLUS the smaller games that, for whatever reason, you don’t want to acknowledge, even though I’m sure you praise Ori at every opportunity.

  • Holeybartender

    PS3 had the games but it was the price that slowed sales but once the Slim released with a cheaper price tag it fixed all that.

  • Tga215

    Guess my opinion don’t count huh

    • Holeybartender

      Does anybody’s?

    • J.j. Barrington

      And what, exactly, IS your opinion?

  • Good article. Especially if you actually read the whole thing.

  • Tensos Unders

    Add Dolby Vision as a firmware update to the XBox One S for starters….

  • kee1haul

    Because of articles like this.

    • stopbeingafanboy

      Lol nope.

    • J.j. Barrington

      Articles like this don’t have an impact on the games Xbox puts out… or doesn’t put out.

      Fanboys who make excuses for that lack of games, however…

  • stopbeingafanboy

    Ps3 started having some pretty good exclusives, and the price drop, plus the blu ray player helped a lot. If the Xbox had a better variety of first party games things would be closer. Oh and putting all your exclusives on PC is NOT helping yourself.

  • Mr Xrat

    The PS3 recovered thanks to heavy investment in first party studios leading to a steady stream of fantastic exclusives from 2009 onwards and the relative weakening of the 360 as Phil Spencer (who became manager of Microsoft Studios in 2008) gutted their first party to become a Halo/Forza and Kinect trash assembly line. It also benefited from the Wii flaming out nearly as quickly as its massive rise to success took.

    In contrast, the Xbone has not been able to respond adequately on the software front, which has steadily declined over the generation. If anything, they have retreated to their usual stable of Halo/Gears/Forza with a few new IP designed around monetarization and increasing margins. On top of that, their upgrade has the same price the Xbone had at launch (another lesson MS failed to learn) with more and more big games not making the native 4K hype they stirred up for a year. With the Switch now set to become a smash hit and already with a library that makes the Xbone’s tired rehashes look like a joke, it’s got even less room with which to stand out and attract willing punters.

  • Dafuq Iswrong

    Rip xflop

  • drjonesjnr

    Great article totally agree

  • Edonus

    I did a really thorough response that broke down everything but Gamingbolt hasnt approved it.

    The gist was the reason Xbox One hasnt turned around yet is the Bias Gaming Media (BGM). MS has not had the opportunity to sell their products without a blanket of attacks before influencing the audience before the product is even out.

    I even issued a challenge…. name any Xbox One product that has come out this gen whether console, controller, or game that didnt have a barrage of negativity thrown at it before it came out….. You cant…. if you think you have I will remind you of the propaganda and attacks it had to endure.

    Those things are sometimes small but they weigh in on the community. And the gaming media has created and nurtured a culture of negativity. That i why the Xbox One hasnt turned things around.

  • J.j. Barrington

    Because DA-ROOSTER actually commented in this thread? He’s the subject, as holeybartender actually replied to him. Xrat hasn’t made a comment in this thread, so how is he relevant?

    He’s not.

    In the real world, it’s a bit more complicated than that. Seems like you’re unfamiliar with that.

    • Smart guy

      He actually did, one of the first to do so as always, that’s why it’s relevant. The real world is too complicated for you obviously if you cant read.

    • J.j. Barrington

      Did he reply, not to this article, but to this thread?

      No?

      Then you or anybody bringing him up is a pointless diversion.

      Thanks for playing.

    • Smart guy

      You talking is pointless.

      The end.

    • J.j. Barrington

      Dodging a really simple question. Why is that?

  • J.j. Barrington

    Still dodging. Why?

  • J.j. Barrington

    I didn’t read all that crap.


 

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