The fundamental failure that held back Xbox this generation was not, in my opinion, it being an underpowered console, or the high launch price, or even the pre-release messaging debacle regarding the console’s initially planned always online compatibility. You can have a very bad launch and recover from it in the end, just look at Sony with the PS3, or Nintendo with the 3DS.
But the difference between those two machines and the Xbox One—and the reason that those two managed to be successes in the end, while the Xbox One clearly has not had as much traction—comes down to the fact that Sony and Nintendo made those systems worth it by putting out a slew of great, must-have games you couldn’t play anywhere else. First party exclusives, in other words, are paramount to the success of a platform—even a system as fundamentally poor as the Wii U sold over 10 million units because of those exclusives.
Microsoft received that memo late, but it did act on it. It’s purchased multiple studios since, and the Xbox Game Studios release slate for 2020 actually looks packed. And, going forward into the Xbox Scarlett era, Microsoft plans to keep that sort of cadence up, and release at least one major first party game on the console once every 3-4 months.
“We feel really good heading into 2020,” Matt Booty, the head of Xbox Game Studios, told GamesRadar in an interview. “We’ve got a goal of being able to deliver a game, roughly, every three to four months.
“We have a little bit of work to do to get there. It’ll be lumpy, but we’re closer than we were. And so we feel really good going into 2020 – and the run-up to Project Scarlett – with our content line-up.”
As of right now, I have more faith Microsoft will be able to pull an ambitious release cycle like that off—which not even Sony can, incidentally, they typically have 1-2 major game releases per year most—than I ever have before. As I said before, the release cycle for next year alone looks pretty packed—so at least we are already starting to see the proof in the pudding.