Though Microsoft got a head-start on Sony by revealing what its next-gen Xbox Series X would look like, there have been some hiccups. The most prominent is Xbox Game Studios head Matt Booty stating that exclusives for the console wouldn’t appear until one to two years after its launch. Considering the PlayStation 5 will reportedly focus more on exclusives, one has to wonder if this is a good idea in the short term.
Xbox boss Phil Spencer addressed this in an interview with Gamertag Radio, stating that it was about “putting the player at the center and not putting the device at the center.”
“One of the benefits that we have sitting inside of Microsoft is we’ve obviously been close to the development of what’s been going on with PC for years. I think today, if we look at the PC ecosystem, we see some of the best, highest fidelity games anywhere sitting on high end gaming PCs, and some of those same games you’re able to run on PCs that are a few years old that have much less capability. And the state of engines and capability today means that developers have the capability to make full use of the gaming hardware that’s in front of them.
“Obviously we built our strategy with Series X, we started with that in mind – we wanted to go build a gaming console that was going to be the absolute best that we could deliver on a television, and deliver unique capability to creators that they could use to go create the best games. But you don’t want to do that to the exclusion of everybody else and you also want to do that hand-in-hand with developers because developers want to find the widest audience possible. And yes, there are always trade offs.
“I’m not gonna dictate to every third-party studio what they have to support, but what we see in today’s world is that gamers want to go and play games with their friends regardless of what device those friends are on, people want to have the largest selection of games open to them, and developers want to make use of the best technology that’s available. We built this plan with all three of those as inputs and we feel really good about where we are.”
There are a number of unknowns to consider at this point, like how developing for lesser hardware will influence upcoming titles like Halo Infinite. Launch titles for a new platform usually don’t take full advantage of the hardware out of the gate. Optimization and years of improvements offer those kinds of results. So why not make these first-party titles available for current gen console owners and sell more software?
From a business point of view, this could affect next gen console sales=. However, Microsoft is likely banking on the visual fidelity provided by the Xbox Series X to serve as its main attraction, at least from the outset. We’ll have to wait and see how just how vast the difference in quality for the same title across multiple generations can be.
The Xbox Series X releases this holiday season but expect to hear a lot more in the coming months, especially at E3.