Despite the fact we are only three months in, 2017 has so far proved to be an excellent year for gaming. Several titles have already been released that have wowed critics and players including Horizon Zero Dawn and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The significance of these games for console makers is that these two games are both popular and exclusive. Horizon Zero Dawn is only available on Sony’s Play Station 4 (PS4) and Breath of the Wild, as with every Nintendo title, is exclusive to the Switch.
Exclusive games do not make or break consoles but are an important factor in attracting consumers to purchase one console over the other. Microsoft’s Xbox One has struggled to compete against the PS4 primarily due to its lower processing power, but also because its exclusive titles have underperformed in recent years. Games like Gears of War and Quantum Break have had mediocre launches, failing to deliver the same enthusiasm as the PS4’s lineup or replicate the early Halo games’ success. Indie games that helped boost the popularity of the old Xbox 360 are now more wary of Microsoft due to its demand that games be released on the Xbox One and the PS4 together or not at all.
Microsoft’s strategy may be to move away from games entirely to focus on hardware, as its research and development indicates. Noting the concern over the Xbox One’s processing power, its secret Project Scorpio is said to be focused on providing hardware to rival that of high powered gaming personal computers (PCs), giving it a competitive advantage in running third party games. It also allows some games to be played on both PC and Xbox One. Becoming the best device available for all makes the console more attractive to consumers, but Microsoft must still ensure that it has access to content.
For consumers, exclusive titles are unfavorable since many do not want to spend hundreds of dollars on consoles to play all of the best games; however, they remain a mainstay of the industry, and gamers do not want to miss out on them. Addressing concerns over hardware will make Microsoft’s next console more attractive, but it must solidify its position by ensuring it can run the next generation’s best games.
For more, visit The Verge.