I’m a big ‘ol Xbox fanboy. I’ve had all three of the Xbox generation of consoles and loved every single one of them, each in their unique own way.
Whether it was the hidden gems on the first console, the robust multiplayer and achievement system on the 360, or the entertainment accessibility on the Xbox One, I loved each of them in their own distinctive way. And lastly, each of them had incredible exclusives…well…except for one. The one. Xbox One.
I love Sunset Overdrive and Cuphead as much as the next guy, but all of us Xbox One owners know that there is a big absence of exclusive games on the Xbox platform. To be honest, ‘big’ might be an understatement. The last time I played an AAA-Xbox exclusive which I thoroughly enjoyed that wasn’t Gears or Halo was such a long time ago, I’m not sure I can quite rightly remember when.
It’s getting harder and harder to fight against the Xbox doubters. Though I know there are many things that Microsoft are doing right. The hardware they produce is arguably the best console hardware available, period. The Xbox Elite controller is the best controller ever made. And the Xbox One X is the most powerful games console ever produced. Even the Xbox One S is impressive with its affordability, small size and crisp white finish.
Furthermore, how can you not gush over the backwards compatibility program and all the fantastic games it has made available to play on the Xbox One family of consoles. Including but not limited to, KOTOR, Republic Commando, Jedi Academy and the original Battlefront II. There’s no doubt here that they’ve made the impossible possible with this program. But in terms of software, I can no longer defend the void that is exclusive games missing from the Xbox platform.
Despite the cool indie titles arriving on the platform through the ID @ Xbox program, alongside all of the titles being brought to Xbox Gamepass on day 1 of their release, it is still the case that the only games I am excited for in the coming year or so are either 3rd-party titles or PlayStation exclusives. And sadly, I can’t see that changing anytime soon.
I know Sony has been in the game longer and have had more time to perfect the game creating process, illustrated by the last 4 or 5 exclusives they’ve released which have been impeccable, to say the least. But the drought has gone on long enough. If it wasn’t for Cuphead, I would’ve written this piece months ago. I know that every major showcase that Xbox has they announce their acquirement of another big game studio. However, this isn’t filling the gap. At least at the moment.
They have some serious talent under their belt now, and there’s no question that they have built far more 1st-party studios than I would have ever expected say 3-4 years ago. But naturally, since games are taking more and more time to develop, we aren’t seeing the benefits of Microsoft owning these game developers.
There will be a time when there is game after game launching from Microsoft’s studios, month after month. But now isn’t the time. And like so many other gamers, I can be rather impatient at times.
In my defence, it has been a few years now that I’ve felt a serious lack of games on my bulky Xbox One. Sea of Thieves is still being updated and fortunately, the audience seems to be responding positively to these additions. But that game does not speak to me. Like so many PlayStation gamers, when it boils down to it, I kill for that single-player experience.
Like God of War. Like Detroit: Become Human. Like Horizon: Zero Dawn. Like Spider-Man. Like Until Dawn. Like The Last of Us: Part II.
Cuphead is a brilliant game and I can’t wait for Studio MDHR to grow that franchise and bring that level of innovation to their upcoming projects. But looking at the other Xbox games over the past few years, most of the great ones were exclusive to PlayStation first. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, Nier: Automata etc.
Crackdown 3 was a disappointment after years of waiting. The Forza series, though I thought I craved such an experience, I swiftly found out was not for me. At least not at the moment. I gave Horizon 4 a try for a couple of hours and it did not speak to me in the slightest.
I need some games to not just appreciate and respect, I need some games on my chosen platform that I can fall in love with. That I can play with my friends, again and again, until my girlfriend threatens to kick me out of our flat because I’m shouting at 10 pm because we’re losing, AGAIN!
Despite the title of this article, I’m not saying that there aren’t ANY games exclusive to the Xbox platform. What I am saying is that these games aren’t speaking to me and that I need some games which do. Because PlayStation have at least 5 games which speak to me, and I can’t buy those for my Xbox. But I can buy a PlayStation.