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Monday, 08 May 2023 11:29

How the Mighty are Fallen, Microsoft’s Xbox Lead Admits they cannot Beat Nintendo and Sony using normal means

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Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming recently admitted that Xbox is not able to beat rivals Nintendo and Sony using normal methods. The means that Spender is talking about is the release of console specific titles. He feels that gamers are not likely to change allegiances simply because Xbox comes out with a new Xbox only title regardless of how anticipated that title is. He is right about this, but it also works in the opposite direction. Xbox gamers are not likely to switch to Sony or Nintendo simply because of a premier title.

However, where Spencer is missing the boat is that in many cases gamers have multiple platforms that they play on based on the game in question. They will always have their favorite, but they are not limiting themselves to one. As an example, most of the people I know have a PC for gaming, an Xbox or PS5 and a Nintendo Switch. Some of the extremes have both Xbox and PS5 and throw in an Oculus, or Vive along with a Steam Deck. The limitations of maintaining a single platform for gaming or work is just not what people are looking to do these days. Although there is a small shift from the PC just because of the costs of maintaining the latest GPUs to run games. The fact that nVIDIA and even AMD GPUs are sought out for their power in other areas has pushed costs outside of many gamers.

It is now less expensive to buy a whole top of the line console than it is to get just a tope end GPU for a PC. Still Spencer is on to something with his comments and hopefully this will equal real change at Microsoft. If they focus on making games that play well across every platform, as he says Microsoft needs to, then people will buy them. A bad platform port can do so much more to hurt a game development team now than in the past. They also need to focus on ensuring products are ready for launch. Performance issues (including terrible lag) in Jedi Survivor and the terrible state of Red Fall are exactly what Microsoft needs to avoid in the future. Red Fall is an even more stark object lesson as it was delayed and still launched with bugs, terrible AI, and lackluster single player campaign.

Microsoft has a good console in the Xbox Series X, it is comparable in performance to the PS5 from my experience (although Hogwarts Legacy plays better on PC and Xbox than PS5 to me). So, it is not the hardware that is the issue here. My feeling is that Microsoft became too focused on acquisitions and lost their focus on ensuring a good product was released. This is like what happened with Disney and now they (Disney) are finding themselves looking for ways to cut their budget to counter losses. Hopefully this change of direction will avoid the same for Microsoft.

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