Blockbuster games. Big exclusives. Windows 10 crossplay and an enviable backwards compatibility service. Get off the fence. Now is the time to buy an Xbox One, says Matt Martin.
“Microsoft is bombing the Xbox One with content from all directions, understanding the insatiable need of games players.”
It’s been easy to knock the Xbox One since its disastrous unveiling way back when, but the joke is long since over. Microsoft cemented it last week at Gamescom: you should really own an Xbox One if you give a hoot about high-quality console gaming.
In the immediate future there’s a hot line-up for Xmas; the long-anticipated Halo 5: Guardians and another helping of Forza will please the faithful. They both contain the highest production values you can buy with a Microsoft blank cheque. But the bigger hit could be the exclusive-to-console-for-a-year Rise of the Tomb Raider, bringing back that classic video game adventure and exploration, wrapped in a budget to make Midas wince. You shouldn’t wait to buy new Tomb Raider on a different format a year later. We’ll have all moved on. Get that gold while you can. This is why you play triple-A.
That triple threat kicks off over a year of visible exclusives that rolls into 2016 with Quantum Break, Scalebound, Sea of Thieves, Cuphead, another season of Killer Instinct, Recore, Gears of Wars 4, Crackdown 3 and Halo Wars 2. A list as fit as a butcher’s dog.
Microsoft is bombing the Xbox One with content from other directions too, understanding the insatiable need of games players. Backwards compatibility is coming this November and Games With Gold 360 titles will also be playable on Xbox One. If you already own a copy of a 360 game, no one is charging you to play it again. Have some of that. Have it all.
“The robotic speak and corporate grins of the Don Mattrick era are dead.”
The Xbox Preview Program will continue to grow. Current Steam darling Ark: Survival Evolved joins the Early Access-style service later this year giving players the chance to feed back on development. Inclusionary game creation has marked a path to consoles and it’s a liberating thing to get involved with. It’s something you want to be involved with if you care more than spending a couple of hours a week on FIFA (which you can now play early on Xbox One thanks to continued smart deals with EA. Tick.)
And then there’s the Windows 10 hook-up, adding a truly unique service to the Xbox One than no other console can do. Games like Killer Instinct, Bloodstained and Halo Wars 2 will be crossplay across the two formats. Every single indie game published by Microsoft will be released on Win 10 and Xbox One from now on. Windows and Xbox One should work seamlessly together without any detriment to a single format. If that works as advertised, Xbox One can add untold millions of PC players to the fold. The party just got a lot bigger.
It’s not just the games, either (although it’s mostly about the games). Microsoft has dropped as much corporate BS as it’s ever going to do from the Xbox business. The robotic speak and corporate grins of the Don Mattrick era are dead. Phil Spencer is a likeable frontman, backed by Chris Charla, a modest enthusiast who knows more about the indie games community than 100 self-important studio heads. And then there’s Shannon Loftis, who’s clearly listening to what the players want. Do not underestimate the draw of charming, passionate leaders.
Xbox One is rolling like thunder right now, finally confident with a clear direction. It’s games line-up is enviable, its services solid and tempting, its basic hardware pricing accessible for newcomers. Xbox One has distinguished itself from the competition. It’s time to buy into the Microsoft dream.