Of the big three gaming publishers, Microsoft has always had a problem with exclusives. Sony had many 1st-party exclusives they could rely on and numerous 3rd-party ones, too, as this year has shown. As for Nintendo, they make the bulk of their success off of their massive 1st-party library cultivated over the generations of their consoles. The Xbox has 1st-party franchises, but they aren’t all ones you can keep cranking out titles for. However, in 2023, the Xbox Series X finally seems to be turning a corner, and Xbox head Phil Spencer is very happy with what has been done so far.
During Gamescom, IGN did an interview with him and asked about how there was an “expectation” for the Xbox Series X/S to get four first-party exclusives in 2023. Phil Spencer was happy to answer that they’re on track for much more than that by the end of the year:
“If we start with Hi-Fi [Rush], Minecraft Legends, Redfall. Maybe people don’t want to give us credit for Redfall, I get it, but I understand. Starfield, Forza, we just dropped Age [of Empires] 4 console last night. Awesome. I’m going to play that. And then going into next year, absolutely. We have talked about it as an aspiration, now we talk about it as our plan.”
He’s not wrong that one of those titles isn’t going to “get credit,” but the majority of the titles he listed are good victories for Xbox, no matter how small in some cases. Furthermore, Spencer says that Xbox will try and make this “their plan” for next year, and likely beyond, will encourage their fanbase. It’s undeniable that Xbox has been making the most moves recently to attempt to build up its IP base and the developers working with it.
Getting Bethesda was a big move, and then, with the approval on the Activision Blizzard acquisition, they have even more potential to make exclusives for their systems. They even said in court that they are definitely third in the console wars, and they’re trying everything possible to change that.
But as Sony and Nintendo fans will remind them, there’s a difference between simply having games released and having good games released. 2022 and 2023 alone have had multiple titles released that should’ve been delayed or scrapped entirely, some of which were on Xbox. If they want to increase their stake in this gaming world, they need to get exclusives that can stand up to others out there and then release them consistently.