While the lifespan of the most recent console generation has been bolstered by the half-step upgrades of power with the Xbox One X and the PlayStation 4 Pro, it’s inevitable that both Microsoft and Sony will be announcing new consoles within the upcoming years. These past few years have been difficult for Microsoft since it’s release of the Xbox One, with controversies surrounding DRM and initially a higher price than the PlayStation 4, allowing Sony to take the lead in hardware sales.
However, that isn’t without Microsoft’s attempts to turn the tides throughout this generation; slashing the price of their standard consoles by effectively eliminating all support for the Kinect peripheral, bringing to market the most powerful video game console, and introducing consumer-friendly concepts such as backwards compatibility.
The new console generation will be a reboot for both companies, and there’s good evidence that Microsoft will be bringing their best against Sony at every opportunity. Here are five reasons that Microsoft will be finding success with their next hardware iteration.
5. The brand has abandoned gimmicks.
Gimmicks can provide a great deal of success from casual gaming audiences. There’s always room for new ideas that will entice buyers, yet the attach rate of consoles surrounded by gimmicks rather than games tend to be low. With the Kinect out of the equation and no VR utilizations in sight, this allows Microsoft to focus on the most important thing for their company, the games.
4. The Xbox Game Pass is the future of video games.
Microsoft is pioneering an on-demand video game service akin to Netflix, allowing consumers to pay a mere $9.99 a month to get access to over 150 games that they can download at their leisure. If you’re new to Xbox, this is a more than great start to exploring the exclusives that the company has to offer. With titles such as Sunset Overdrive, Halo, and even new releases like Sea of Thieves.
Many consumers in the industry lament the possible death of the single-player game, as sales show that there is significantly more interest in multiplayer titles. The Xbox Game Pass is an incredible offer that provides alternate ways for games to find success. With upcoming additions like State of Decay 2 and Crackdown 3 also being available day one, it’s safe to say Microsoft has confidence in the service.
3. The focus of power with the Xbox One X
Microsoft accomplished a very important thing with the Xbox One X, the ability to finally say that they helm the most powerful home gaming console. As individuals gradually upgrade their TV sets to 4K and HDR capable screens, many will be looking for a genuine 4K experience to showcase the visual fidelity.
The Xbox One X manages to run a lot of games at a native 4K resolution, enticing third-parties to showcase their games in the best way possible. This push for strong technology will most definitely be translated to the next Xbox, and if Microsoft can come out of the gates with the most powerful console, they’ll have an edge over Sony that they didn’t from the onset of this console generation.
2. Xbox will highlight the features Sony doesn’t have.
One of the largest things that Microsoft had that Sony didn’t this console generation was a form of backwards compatibility. Many studios resorted to “remastered” and “definitive editions” and rereleased their games for another surge of sales. However, Microsoft managed to maintain consumer loyalty by allowing backwards compatibility for their previous hardware generation, the Xbox 360.
While not including every single Xbox 360 game, hundreds were available. Yet, the company didn’t stop with the Xbox 360 and introduced original Xbox console compatibility. With the fervor behind this capability, if Sony doesn’t manage to have some form of backwards compatibility with the PlayStation 5 (apart from PlayStation Now’s streaming service), then Microsoft will find a great deal of success from highlighting this feature with their next console.
1. Phil Spencer is now the head of the Xbox brand.
One of the largest changes in the management of the console brand was Phil Spencer becoming the head of all things Xbox. Spencer has been with Microsoft since 1988, working his way up as an intern. He got his feet with the company’s various technical and creative facets, ultimately finding himself as Microsoft Studio’s Vice President. Now that Spencer’s become head of Xbox however, he’s stated that the company will begin to push games first.
This push is in contrast to when the Xbox One first launched. The system was hot off the heels of the Xbox 360 and was a device in which many used to watch streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu. The Xbox 360 no longer became a place just to play games, but rather a multimedia entertainment hub. Microsoft doubled down on these concepts during their initial conferences revealing the Xbox One, as Sony brought in 1st and 3rd party exclusives to build out their library.
Spencer recently stated in an interview that Xbox needed to be “gaming first” and would be reflected in the company’s actions from here-on-out. The first pieces of this should be seen with the company’s conferences this June, as they will be bringing the console through its last couple years. Phil Spencer becoming the head of Xbox isn’t just a mere change of guard, it’s a change for Xbox as a whole. One that will be better for the gamer.
Do you think that Microsoft has shifted public opinion to find success with the next hardware generation, will the brand’s focus on gamers pay off for them? Let us know in the comments below.