For the past decade, the main argument that has fuelled the console wars has been that Xbox lacks worthwhile exclusive games, but E3 is the event where they can change that perception.
Aside from their tentpole franchises like Halo, Gears of War, and Forza, the argument has valid points.
Games like The Outer Worlds and Cuphead were fantastic for the console, but both games found their way onto other platforms in the years following their initial release on Xbox.
To combat this argument, Xbox doubled down and purchased several new studios to help end the ‘Xbox has no games’ comment. Even though Xbox Games Studios is overflowing with incredible talent, there hasn’t been a lot of work to show for it.
Thanks to the buyout of ZeniMax Media, Xbox now has Bethesda and many other talented studios under its wing to bolster the first-party exclusive titles coming in the near future. Although some of the exclusive titles may not be releasing this year, this E3 would be the perfect year to announce exclusive titles for pre-existing IP as well as brand new IP that would satisfy Xbox players.
New Games for Old Franchises
Last year we saw a re-introduction of two Xbox franchises that we haven’t seen in a while.
At E3 2020, Xbox announced that Playground games is working on a brand new Fable title. Despite only receiving a cinematic trailer lacking notable aspects of the game, the announcement alone was a fantastic start to this new era.
During last year’s Game Awards, Xbox revealed a trailer of Perfect Dark, a brand new game for a storied franchise being developed by Xbox’s brand new first-party studio, The Initiative.
The announcements of Fable and Perfect Dark showed the audience that Xbox is going to double down on incredible games for the Series X. They want to use the incredible recruited talent and put them to work to bring unimaginable experiences to the Xbox ecosystem, whether it be consoles, Game Pass, or xCloud.
This can’t be the end of the games resurgence from Xbox. They need to continue pushing and announcing games that will leave players excited for the coming years.
Besides Fable and Perfect Dark, there are several other franchises that Xbox can reintroduce for a new generation of players.
One game that would be a talking point of E3 would be a new Banjo-Kazooie game.
The platformer genre has experienced a resurgence in the past few years. Aside from remastered trilogies of Crash Bandicoot and Spyro, there have been excellent games released.
Super Mario Odyssey was a premiere 3D platformer for the Switch and is considered a must-own title. Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time received great reviews and gave Crash fans an experience that made them feel nostalgic while offering new aspects of the game as well.
Games like Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair which were heavily influenced by the Banjo-Kazooie franchise are considered one of the best platform games of the past decade.
Players are craving a new platform title and Xbox doesn’t have an option to satisfy that craving. Bringing Banjo-Kazooie back to the spotlight would do wonders for the Series X.
Brand New IP
Halo, Gears of War, and Forza have been the faces of Xbox for the past 15 years and it is time to change that.
Xbox has been slowly hanging onto the coattails of Master Chief, Marcus Fenix, and a Forza car for so long. Sony has continually tried to push their own boundaries so they don’t have to rely on Nathan Drake every generation to sell consoles.
Games like Horizon Zero Dawn and Ghosts of Tsushima have been very successful for Sony despite not being new entries for pre-existing franchises.
Xbox needs a brand refresh and now is the perfect time to take advantage of this opportunity. They need to deconstruct their existing Mount Rushmore of exclusives and build a new one for the next 15 years of Xbox.
Games like Hellblade were reviewed well, but it didn’t reach the masses like most console exclusives are capable of doing.
The incredible studios that Xbox has acquired are capable of creating exclusive franchises that Xbox desperately needs.
This E3 is an opportunity for that exact brand refresh.
Phil Spencer should take the stage and be able to announce new IP from the multiple studios that are not currently working on existing franchises.
Studios like Compulsion Games, which hasn’t worked on anything since We Happy Few, is a perfect candidate to bring a new IP to the Xbox catalog. Even the Gears of War studio, The Coalition, can come out with a brand new IP to work on if they decide to put Gears 6 on the backburner for a while.
There have been new IP announcements in the past few years that deserve an update to quench this IP thirst.
Avowed, developed by Obsidian Entertainment, has a lot of hype surrounding it. Obsidian is a fantastic developer of open-world RPG titles, and with the little we have seen about their new game, it has the potential to be a reason for gamers to own an Xbox.
Rare announced their next game, Everwild, but we have seen little about it since its announcement in 2019. The fantasy action-adventure game has a unique look to it, and if Xbox decides to give more information about the title alongside some gameplay, it could also have the potential to be a popular game.
Game Pass has been the central strategy for Xbox for the past several years and every year it continues to grow and improve.
One of the very few issues with Game Pass is that there aren’t many Xbox exclusive games to play on it. While Game Pass is the best way to play games, those games are also playable on other platforms.
Xbox can continue to rely on third-party franchises to bring subscribers to the service. Games like Outriders proved very successful for both Game Pass and the developer, as it brought many new eyes to a new IP.
In addition to these third-party games, Xbox fans are awaiting the Xbox exclusive games to come to the service as well. Announcing new IP or fresh titles from familiar faces will make Game Pass even more incredible.
An announcement that would have Game Pass grow exponentially would be the inclusion of Game Pass on smart TVs. Alongside the usual streaming apps like Netflix and Hulu, Game Pass could be built into your TV and all you would have to do is buy an Xbox controller.
Another announcement that can benefit Game Pass is an even cheaper entryway into the Xbox ecosystem besides the Series S.
An Xbox streaming stick has been heavily rumored the past few years and it makes a lot of sense for why it should become a reality.
Xbox doesn’t earn money on its hardware. They have been relying on Game Pass subscriptions to produce a profit, and expanding the availability of Game Pass can only increase those profits.
Whether it’s an app or a streaming stick, there is a large population that would pay for another subscription service if it allows them to play Halo without purchasing a $500 or $300 console.