Next year is shaping up to be a pretty big year for console gamers. Grand Theft Auto V, Dead Space 3, Bioshock Infinite, Tomb Raider, just to name a few. And that’s only for the first-half of 2013!
PlayStation 3 has a handful of exciting exclusives, including The Last Of Us, Beyond and Sly Cooper 4 (which is arriving a few years too late for my liking).
But for the 360, exclusive brands are nowhere to be seen, aside from the under-the-radar Gears of War: Judgement, which feels like a forced tide-over of a tired franchise until the next Xbox arrives.
So why has Microsoft done so little to evolve its exclusives lineup for Xbox 360 beyond 2012?
Reason #1: It’s launching a new console in 2013
Microsoft revealed the Xbox 360 in May 2005, before launching it six months later in November in North America. Will the company do the same thing with the next Xbox? If a reveal at E3 2013 is on the cards, it would appear to make a November release very much a possibility...while also appearing especially unlikely. But with so many calls from developers for new hardware, and an almost non-existent lineup of exclusive software (and dwindling with the new year), surely, SURELY, a new Xbox is right around the corner.
Reason #2: It wants Xbox to be entertainment first, gaming second
“Xbox is becoming THE Microsoft brand for entertainment,” said Microsoft senior director Leonardo Metelli back in September. Matelli also highlighted that year-on-year usage of Xbox Live has increased every year since the release of the Xbox 360.
Even more surprising? That “more hours [are] being spent on entertainment than on gaming” when it comes to Xbox Live. That’s a staggering statistic considering the hostility often felt from gamers when told Xbox is “no longer just about gaming”.
Reason #3: There are a bunch of unannounced exclusives we know nothing about
Bungie’s new “Destiny” project would be an Xbox 360 exclusive in a fantasy world where the developer is still owned by Microsoft. The game sounds amazing, but it’s almost certainly cross-platform. So does Microsoft have any other tricks up its sleeves? With more Spartan Ops missions coming to Halo 4, a new Gears of War: Judgement, and perhaps some XBLA exclusives, the company might be confident that third-party support can help drive sales of its hardware, even in the face of a limited exclusives lineup.
Reason #4: Microsoft thinks Call Of Duty and GTA V will be enough
Both Call Of Duty and GTA have received timed downloadable content exclusively ahead of releases on other platforms, but mainly because Microsoft throws cash at the game publishers. Still, people play CoD on 360 in droves, and it keeps Xbox Live active and in high demand. Will the big third-party releases be enough to keep the console relevant without exclusives? Probably, but at the same time, how can Microsoft persuade people to buy a console if its games are also on another platform?
Well, it appears to have a special place in the hearts of consumers: the Xbox 360 is still selling like hotcakes.
Reason #5: Microsoft is leaving the game-making biz
LOL JK...or am I? *cue dramatic music*
What do you think? Why does Microsoft seem to not care about exclusives? What do you think its plans are for 2013?
By Gaetano Prestia