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Ryuu96 said:
shikamaru317 said:

It's bad business sense, sacrificing potential exclusives in the name of making all games day one Gamepass. Some devs and publishers are never going to be willing to accept releasing an Xbox exclusive that is day one Gamepass because they see Gamepass downloads as costing them too many crucial day one $60 sales, it puts Xbox at an automatic disadvantage at the negotiating table. Such a mentality would particularly hurt them when trying to get JP exclusives I suspect, which will make getting 2nd party JP exclusives even more difficult than it already would be. 

Hardware movement should trump all else in Xbox's eyes, with Gamepass growth being a still very important secondary concern. You need to move alot of hardware to be a success in the gaming industry, and nothing moves more hardware than popular, high selling exclusives. Licensing already popular IP's as exclusives is one of the best ways to get a strong selling exclusive that move alot of hardware, Spider-Man from Insomniac already proved that when it sold like 4x as many copies as the previous bestselling Insomniac game. If there is one thing Xbox is currently lacking in, it's exclusives that are capable of selling the kind of numbers that Sony's exclusives like Uncharted, TLOU, Horizon, God of War, and Spider-Man are moving (all trending toward 20m+ lifetime, if not already above 20m), popular licensed IP's as exclusives is one of the best ways that Xbox can move those kind of software numbers themselves.

Why is selling alot of hardware so important? The reasons are severalfold:

  • The more hardware that is sold, the more software, service subs, and accessories the person buying that console buys over the course of the generation, and software, service subs, and accessories all generate big profit unlike the hardware itself which is loss leading.
  • A console that has a big sales lead over another console has a big advantage at the negotiating table when making 2nd party and 3rd party moneyhat deals. The larger a console's install base, the more potential copies sold as an exclusive vs as a multiplat game, which gives an advantage when negotiating for both 2nd party full exclusive deals and 3rd party timed hat deals. In other words, if Xbox doesn't start doing more to close the hardware gap with Sony, Sony will continue to be able to lock down big 2nd party games and timed 3rd party hats with relative ease, which continues a cycle that is bad for Xbox owners.
  • The more hardware that is sold in non-core markets for Xbox, the more retail space and the more headspace Xbox begins to get in those markets, which builds up success that will last into later generations.

Well then it's a good thing that they have 30+ studios once Activision-Blizzard closes, Lol. I also see no evidence outside of licenses that it is hurting their ability to get exclusive content when Xbox Game Publishing has dozens of projects in development alone, it isn't hurting their ability to get independent studios working with them at all, it only really hurts their ability to get exclusive content from major publishers but that was always rare in the industry.

The problem is that there are very few independent AAA devs left these days. Their 2nd party division is already working with some of the remaining ones like Avalanche and IOI (while Sony has already snatched up deals with alot of the new AAA studios that have recently opened), leaving Xbox with very few remaining potential independent AAA studios to work with on 2nd party exclusives. Their 2nd party division needs more AAA's in the pipeline than they seem to have currently, and it would be alot easier to make 2nd party deals with AAA studios which are owned by other publishers if Xbox was willing to wait say 3-6 months for the game to come to Gamepass.

Independent developers will take the offer because most of them have no choice and are working from game to game. LucasArts does have a choice and ultimately them losing Indiana Jones videogame won't hurt them in the slightest. 

On that I agree.

Licenses are nice but the fanbase who like licenses have many overlaps with multiple other genres that Microsoft does cover so they are unlikely to miss their cliental, licensed exclusives didn't help at all in Xbox 360 and PS3 selling over 80m, they don't help at all in Nintendo selling over 100m, even PS4 only had a single license exclusive.

I don't recall Xbox having any truly big licensed exclusives 7th gen. Star Wars Kinect doesn't exactly count since it was a Kinect game which automatically limited it's sales potential. Your Marvel's and your Star Wars' and your Indiana Jones' and such can move alot of copies and hardware if the game is made well and marketed well by Xbox.

Licenses have their fair share of misses too, it's not a guaranteed success, Insomniac is simply an amazing developer working on Marvel's most popular character by a large margin (Spider-Man). They can move hardware and they can be amazing with the right developer but they ultimately won't be needed for Xbox to have long term success.

I agree that there is no guarantee of success, but if done right big licensed exclusives are a shortcut to success. 

To make a point, 4/5 of those IPs you listed for Sony aren't licenses, they're IP that Sony created from the ground up into huge successes, two of them being fairly fresh IPs (IPs created within the last 9 years) and one having a resurgence because it was basically soft-rebooted, there's no reason why Microsoft shouldn't be able to do the same.

Of course I agree that Xbox should be building up their own IP, but that takes time. Their biggest IP of the past, Halo, only sold like 13m copies on it's biggest game (Halo 3) compared to 20m+ for 5 Sony IP this past gen, while other Xbox IP sold less than Halo. Gears did like 7-8m on it's biggest game, Fable did like 6m on it's biggest game. Forza was selling like 6m copies at most before this past generation, and while Forza Horizon's explosive popularity growth over this past gen has allowed 20m+ players on the series now, we don't know what that comes out to in sales since Xbox doesn't announce sales these days, just player counts. Outer Worlds has sold like 4.5m as a multiplat release, sequel may sell less as an Xbox exclusive. The fact is, many of Xbox's biggest IP's of the past were only selling like 25-33% of what 5 different Sony IP's are now capable of moving. 

Xbox's acquisition of Bethesda did at least give them one studio that has proven themselves to be consistently capable of 20m+ sales, but that is still 1 studio for Xbox compared to 4 studios for Sony so far. Xbox has a lot of catching up to do on 1st party popularity growth, and big exclusive licensed games in the meantime could help with growth overall platform growth while their 1st party IP's are hopefully growing in quality and popularity.

Responses in bold

Last edited by shikamaru317 - on 28 May 2022