The ‘console wars’ have been a staple of gaming since it began. If it wasn’t Nintendo and Sega having an advertising war, it was Xbox and PlayStation fanboys going at each other in forums. Each generation different companies try to make their particular console the winner. The Xbox Series X and PS5 will be no exception to this rule.
It does seem, however, that Microsoft has been very careful with their planning surrounding the Xbox Series X. They already announced that the system will be the most powerful and will feature backwards compatibility with previous generations. The latest announcement shows even more meticulous preparations.
After taking a bit of a beating in this past generation, it is no wonder Microsoft wants to handle their planning with care. Recently they announced their intentions to not release any Xbox Series X exclusive titles for at least a full year. This is to ensure that all games are playable across all of Microsoft’s different products and platforms.
While this decision might seem a bit baffling at first, it does have a good basis. While exclusives have a tendency to drive sales, they can also cause some isolation. If someone buys a new console with an exclusive game, there may not be that many people playing games online yet. Plus, if their friends don’t have newer consoles yet, they cannot play together.
Another great side effect of the decision is that it will get people talking about the new console. When two people can discuss the same game, the quality differences between the two versions are more easily apparent. If the Xbox Series X has the same game as the Xbox One – but looking and playing much better – it may entice people into upgrading more quickly.
One thing that will have been immediately apparent to Microsoft is that they need player support. It’s all well and good shouting about exclusive titles, but if no one likes or trusts your brand, then they’re not going to be interested. This is exactly why this new strategy, and things like backwards compatibility, are being rolled out.
It’s not difficult to see just how insanely popular backwards compatibility is on its own. Ask pretty much anyone and they’ll tell you just how many people seem to be in favor of the concept. It also allows players to start out on a new console with a readily playable library of software.
This has really been the difference between Microsoft and Sony for the upcoming generation. With the Xbox Series X, Microsoft has been eager to talk about many of the features and strategies they’ll be using. Sony has been much more tight-lipped with the PS5, seemingly relying on secrecy and mystery to build up hype. Only time will tell which approach actually ends up working out.