This all sounds great, but it also sounds not all that differentiated from what Sony has promised for the PlayStation 5 — notably when it comes to load times. So as with a lot of consumer tech these days, the real answer to what you’ll get when you buy an Xbox isn’t going to be about the hardware, it’ll be about this: Microsoft’s ecosystem of services.
I read all the coverage of the Xbox Series X yesterday, and everything Dieter wrote here resonates with my feelings on it as well. I think the Series X looks cool today because we have not seen the PS5 yet.
Improved load times will be great, and the instant resume feature that lets you bounce between multiple games in seconds is amazing, but they didn’t give me much to get excited about after that. The hardware clearly looks impressive, but Microsoft has not convinced me yet that they have solved the actual reason they lost so badly this generation: games.
Microsoft has only demoed existing Xbox One games running on the new hardware, which is all well and good, but really, that’s it? The problem with the Xbox One was that it didn’t have enough exclusive games to make it a compelling purchase over the PS4 for most people. By showing off new hardware that runs those same games, I don’t know how they’re persuading people that this will be different going forward.
I own a PS4 and got it specifically because of the exclusives. God of War, Horizon Zero Dawn, Spider-Man, The Last of Us, Uncharted, Ratchet and Clank, Death Stranding, Shadow of the Colossus, Persona 5, Bloodborne, and Ghost of Tsushima are all games that I adore and I simply can’t get on Xbox.
That’s not to say Xbox doesn’t have some good exclusives, with Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Forza Horizon, and Halo jumping to mind, but I’d take the Sony list in a heartbeat, personally.
I know many of you are not gamers, so I’ll say this is like a Mac vs Windows comparison. Would you buy a Windows laptop because it had a higher specced CPU and higher resolution display? No, probably not because the software you want isn’t there. Would you go to a theater that had higher resolution screens, but didn’t have the movies you actually wanted to see? No, because the movies are the thing, not the tech surrounding them.
The tech in these new consoles is going to be fun to explore, but as we have seen time and time again, that’s not what wins the day, it’s always the games, and Microsoft hasn’t convinced me yet that they’re going to have those.