When it comes to the console war, Sony has been dominating Microsoft this generation. Roughly 50 million people own a PlayStation 4. Microsoft’s numbers are harder to come by — because who wants to reveal how badly they’re losing? — but a good estimate is around 25 million. While recent signs indicate Xbox One is making some headway, PS4 remains comfortably in the lead. It’s going to be hard for the Xbox One to catch up, because Sony isn’t resting on its laurels. And in one important respect, it looks like Microsoft is.
It’s all about the exclusives
One of the primary ways a hardware company entices people to buy its console is by offering an array of appealing games you can’t play on the competition. For instance, Nintendo’s lineup of quality titles is what’s kept the company in the hardware business for decades now. Without Mario and Pokémon, you can bet there’d be no Nintendo Switch.
Despite how important exclusives are for selling consoles, Microsoft’s upcoming lineup is in a pretty sad state of affairs at the moment. Sure, Xbox One has a wealth of great exclusives that are out already. But gamers are a forward-looking group who thrive on hype for games that aren’t out yet. And when you look at the Xbox One exclusives Microsoft has announced, it doesn’t look all that enticing.
Upcoming PS4 and Xbox One exclusives
To get a sense of what the future of Xbox One and PlayStation 4 will look like, let’s take a look at the big games they have in the pipeline. Here are the biggest games Xbox One owners have to look forward to in 2017 and beyond:
- Halo Wars 2
- Crackdown 3
- Sea of Thieves
- State of Decay 2
I’m sure some of those games will be good or even great, but it’s just not the most exciting lineup, is it? These games don’t have wide appeal. Presumably, Microsoft has a few surprises it’s waiting to announce in June at E3 2017. And we can expect a new Forza game every year, and at some point we’re sure to get a new Halo and Gears of War. But the list above shows everything Microsoft has announced, and it’s not too thrilling.
Sony, on the other hand, has a heap of big titles in the works, most of which look quite good. Here are some of the highlights.
- Horizon: Zero Dawn
- God of War
- Final Fantasy VII Remake
- Gran Turismo Sport
- Days Gone
- Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
- Death Stranding
- Persona 5
- The Last of Us Part II
- Detroit: Become Human
- Knack 2
- Ace Combat 7
There’s something for every type of console gamer on the list, whether you’re into open-world games, RPGs, action games, racing games, narrative-based games, or whatever the hell Death Stranding is going to be. It’s a list that would make any gamer excited for the future — and none of those games will come to Xbox One.
Xbox One’s future
Exclusive games aren’t everything for console makers. The Xbox One is a fine piece of hardware, and Microsoft is launching the more powerful Xbox One Scorpio at the end of 2017. Xbox One will also get most of the major third-party games going forward, like Resident Evil VII, Mass Effect: Andromeda, Red Dead Redemption 2, and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon. These games will undoubtedly sell many millions of copies and inspire people to buy new consoles to play them.
But one of the main reasons a gamer chooses one console over the other is its lineup of exclusive games. Xbox One has many great ones available now, and I’m sure it has unannounced games lined up for the future. But outside of old standards like Halo, Gears, and Forza? There’s just not much going on.
If Microsoft wants a chance of catching up to the PS4’s lead, it’s going to have to start churning out more exclusive games, and fast. Otherwise, the PlayStation 4 will continue to be most gamers’ console of choice.