Xbox Series X Won’t Have First-Party Exclusives Close to Launch

In an interview with website MCV, head of Xbox Games Studios Matt Booty confirmed that the Xbox Series X won’t have any first-party exclusives close to launch.

Booty stated that “As our content comes out over the next year, two years, all of our games, sort of like PC, will play up and down that family of devices.” This means first-party titles coming to Series X will also be available for Xbox One, for the foreseeable future at least. It’s not uncommon for developers to keep games cross-generation in the early years of a new console, but this is the first time a major console won’t have at least one or two generational exclusives to show off the new tech.

Booty goes on to reassure fans that the Series X’s beefed-up hardware will still be taken advantage of upon release, saying that “Our approach is to pick one or two IP that we’re going to focus on and make sure that they’re there at the launch of the console, taking advantage of all the features. And for us, that’s going to be Halo Infinite, which is a big opportunity.” It looks like Microsoft is hoping that the Xbox brand and an enhanced version of its flagship title will be enough to ship a good chunk of Series X’s on day one. Here’s hoping it’s got some more tricks up its sleeve.

To be fair to Microsoft, we still don’t know a whole lot about the Series X. We know it runs on similar hardware to the PS5, is coming to stores in Q4 of 2020, and that it looks a bit like what I use to store my socks. It seems Microsoft is also banking on its 15 newly acquired studios to bolster its library; developers like DoubleFine, Ninja Theory and Obsidian are now subsidiaries of Xbox Game Studios.

This raises the worrying question of who the Xbox Series X is really for. On one hand, you’ve got more casual audiences, who will probably be more than happy to just stick with the Xbox One in light of this news, what with the only real big hitter announced for the Series X being Halo Infinite. Then you’ve got hobbyists who are interested in playing all kinds of games, people who’ll want to see what the 15 studios have to offer later down the line. The downside for them is that the Xbox Series X is a multimedia device, to put it bluntly, in the same vein as the Xbox One. Then you add in the distrust that the launch of the Xbox One brought and the fact that there is already an alternative more suited to hard-core audiences, that being the PS5, and you might begin to worry about what Microsoft has planned.

Booty later goes on to say “But yet, here we are. And, you know, the Marvel library figures heavily into video streaming. And so I think we are lucky to have worlds and universes like Halo, where there’s characters that can support TV series, books, comic books and all kinds of games. Things like Minecraft that can ship on 23 platforms, and is in schools, and we just need to stay focused on building those kinds of things that really will be generational and last for a while. And I think that if we do that the rest will take care of itself.”

If Xbox Game Studios want to create major franchises, is one big launch title enough to draw in numbers on the same level as Minecraft? We’ll have to wait and see, but it seems unlikely, considering the competition already has at least a couple of popular titles in the works for the PlayStation 5.

Booty also talks about release prospects for the Series X going forward, as well as Xbox Games Studios’ plans regarding its newly forged relationship with its 15 development teams. There’s also some discussion about the rivalry between PlayStation and Xbox, and whether it still has a place in the industry. You can read the full interview here.

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