Xbox Strikes Back!

Reflections on Microsoft’s plans for the Series X

By Author  |  Published: 1st Aug 2020  7:29 pm

Ladies and Gentlemen, the pre-launch space for the next gen consoles is heating up as the hype machine has begun functioning. Sony picked up the ante last month by revealing the PlayStation 5 and a host of games that players could enjoy if they chose the new machine; and last week Microsoft shared its plans for players who would pick the Series X. On display were first party tiles and gameplay from ever-green favorites Halo and Forza along with some more exclusives as Microsoft begins to compete with Sony on a turf the Japanese giant has mastered.

Halo Infinite was front and center in the event; as it should be, because a lot of Xbox’s fortunes rely on their most iconic franchise to find the magic that has deserted it. Forza did what was expected by displaying sheer beauty and finesse in the genre of automobile racing. The surprise exclusives included Everwild, a wonderfully designed game world; Obsidian’s Avowed a game set in the world of Pillars of Eternity and a tiny glimpse of the once dormant franchise Fable.

As Microsoft unveiled its aspirations for xCloud (the game streaming service) and promised backwards compatibility; it seemed more prepared to take on Sony this time around. However, the event still lacked the necessary desire to sell the global gaming community the Xbox series X. In terms of technical specifications, the Series X will be the most powerful gaming console at launch; though, there is still no necessary reason to own one as all of Microsoft’s exclusives will be playable on a Windows computer from day one.

This observation becomes more forceful when you consider that the gameplay of Halo Infinite at the event was not captured on the brand-new series X but a performance PC (as revealed by a developer of the game). Thus, re-confirming the long-held opinion that a performance PC combined with an Xbox controller should give you an experience similar to if not better than the Series X as the years pass by.

Microsoft’s commitment to provide players on PC, quality content is laudable but it is also a move that potentially sabotages their next gen console at launch. Something that was also observed last-gen; when the Xbox was called a device not exclusively for gamers. If for once we could get a console that is named right and promoted well, this could then be a fair fight.


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