As the dust settles on yesterday’s Xbox Game Showcase and echoes of ‘World Premiere’ slowly fade, it’s become abundantly clear that Xbox has pivoted rather drastically on one of the key marketing points of the next-gen Xbox Series X transition – its cross-generation release strategy.
During yesterday’s event, Microsoft showcased no less than six first-party Series X exclusives – Everwild, Avowed, Forza Motorsport, State of Decay 3, Fable, and Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2.
The announcements run contrary to what we’ve heard to date. Xbox and boss Phil Spencer have made no secret of the gaming’s giant strategy of bringing upcoming releases to both the current-gen Xbox One and Series X simultaneously.
In January, Xbox Game Studios head, Matt Booty, went so far as to say that there won’t be any Series X exclusives for at least a year.
You won’t be forced into the next generation. We want every Xbox player to play all the new games from Xbox Game Studios. That’s why Xbox Game Studios titles we release in the next couple of years—like Halo Infinite—will be available and play great on Xbox Series X and Xbox One. We won’t force you to upgrade to Xbox Series X at launch to play Xbox exclusives.
As recently as two weeks ago, Spencer even said generational exclusives were ‘completely counter to what gaming is about,’ and effectively locked out gamers from a specific experience.
Naturally, the expectation was that the overwhelming majority of, if not all, first-party games would adhere to Xbox’s public cross-generational release approach. After yesterday, it’s clear this is no longer the case, or at best, Microsoft is getting its wires crossed somewhere down the line.
Further adding to the confusion, the official websites for Rare’s Everwild and Obsidian newly-unveiled RPG, Avowed, listed the game as landing on Xbox One. The listings were quickly rectified to highlight next-gen exclusivity.
In the wake of mounting concern from Xbox players and confused onlookers, Xbox marketing head, Aaron Greenberg, took to Twitter to offer some clarification.
Future first-party titles are developed for Xbox Series X first. Not saying those games won’t ship on Xbox One, only that we are leading with Series X & each studio will decide what’s best for their game/community when they launch.
For the moment, Microsoft’s flagship Series X launch title Halo Infinite is among the few titles we can confidently expect to land on both consoles.