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How can Microsoft win the next console generation?




One of my happiest memories was working in a second hand games shop in London many years ago. It was, for me, a great but short lived job as the shop closed shortly after I left. Pride of place, for me, was the shiny new Xbox in the store, enticing visitors to play Halo: Combat Evolved. I was in awe of the game and how it made first person games work on a console. The PC had traditionally had the upper hand when it came to the genre but the Xbox somehow made it work. 

I bought an Xbox after seeing it in the shop and was hooked on the system. Games like Fable, Sudeki, Morrowind, Halo 2, Jade Empire, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Jet Set Radio Future, Ninja Gaiden et al, became staples of my diet. Despite the dominance of the PlayStation 2, I was proud to have Microsoft's offering, just as I loved having a Nintendo N64 while everyone else was on their PlayStation. 

Then came the Xbox 360 and I was blown away. I owned two: an original white one (luckily I never got the red ring of death) and a 360 Elite. The console was magnificent and I loved every second of it. Gears of War was fantastic, as was Halo 3. The Mass Effect trilogy and Dragon Age were incredible experiences. Elder Scrolls IV was wonderful. 

Then came the Xbox One and I wasn't as hooked. There was something about it that didn't excite me the way the PlayStation 4 did. Fewer exclusives and the ability to play the same game on PC meant I had no reason to buy a system. Game Pass was a brilliant idea and it enabled me to play some wonderful games like Metro Exodus and The Outer Worlds for the grand sum of £1. 

The upcoming launch of the Series X and PlayStation 5 this winter got me thinking. How can Microsoft get back on track? How can it win over someone like me

Focus on the games

Sony has done brilliantly this generation because of the amazing exclusives. Think Spider-man, The Last of Us: Part II, Horizon Zero Dawn, God of War, Uncharted 4 etc. 

Microsoft needs to do more than third party games and rolling out Halo/Forza/Gears of War on every opportunity. We need a new Fable, Perfect Dark, new IPs and a genuine reason to get up and buy a Series X. While the tech is undoubtedly important, games are even more so. 

Keep Offering Great Value

Game Pass is an amazing service and needs to keep on expanding next generation. More third party games, yes please, but add older first party Xbox and Xbox 360. Backwards compatibility is amazing but give those of use who might not own a copy of those games anymore the ability to play them on Game Pass. 

Be Aggressive With Pricing (While Being Sensible)

An affordable version of the Series X would be great but ensure an external disc drive is optional. Internet speeds and data caps can be the death knell for disc less systems. What would be the point of launching one if internet speed won't make it worth it? 


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