I looked over Microsoft’s Project Scorpio reveal with a sniff of interest. The claims are impressive, and it’s packing some decent hardware, but it means absolutely nothing without a price tag attached. Oh, and the thing Microsoft seems to have neglected too much lately - the games. Ever since Microsoft announced all its first-party games would also be available on PC, it’s appeared externally as if it’s been on a death spiral. Promising games like Fable Legends and Scalebound were cancelled, while nothing new has been announced from the House that Bill Built.
Stack up the 2017 ‘exclusives’ of the PS4 and the Xbox One and it’s almost laughable. Even if we discount the fact no Xbox One games are actually exclusive any more, and regard PC Play Anywhere titles as ‘exclusives’, the number of exclusive Xbox games which have launched in 2017 is a big, fat 0. Nothing. Regardless of PC vs console, Xbox One owners have been given nothing in the first four months of this year which you can’t play on another platform. Hardly an encouragement to rush out and buy its successor is it, even if it packs enormous power. Sea of Thieves looks absolutely awesome, admittedly, and it's currently the one shining light in a lacklustre future for the Xbox brand.
Microsoft has lost a lot of faith and it needs to do something special to claw it back. Myself, I bought both the original Xbox and the Xbox 360 on day one. I was in on the ground floor, I couldn’t wait to see what Microsoft could bring to the table. Then we had the infamous Xbox One E3 in 2013. A car crash of epic proportions. So I skipped the Xbox One. I always planned to get one a little further down the line though, possibly when a revision came along. And then Microsoft announced Xbox Play Anywhere. I could play all the Xbox exclusives on PC as well. Mentally, I immediately shifted from eventually getting an Xbox One to never getting an Xbox One. What was the point when I could just play the games on the PC I already owned?
And then the Windows Store happened. It’s a tragic mess Oedipus would be proud of. It’s awful beyond comprehension. I can’t even see any way to determine what I actually own; there’s no library system to speak of, I have to manually search for the bits I’ve bought. I don’t want to buy any games there. Now I find myself in a position where I don’t want to purchase an Xbox One because the games are on PC, and I don’t want to buy the PC versions because they’re on the Windows Store. The end result? I’m not buying anything Microsoft.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s gone through the mental gymnastics of this process either, wanting to play Microsoft’s games but not wanting to deal with the ludicrous obstacles they’ve put in our way. Tack that onto Microsoft’s threadbare lineup for 2017 and beyond, and what exactly does Microsoft bring to the table? They’re going to need more than a 4K box of tricks that’s for sure.
Has Microsoft shot itself in the foot by introducing the Xbox Play Anywhere initiative? Are you now less likely to buy Microsoft games than ever before, or are you willing to go the Windows Store route for the big titles? Let us know why below!