This impending new console generation’s going to be…different. For starters, both Sony and Microsoft are taking a few more cues from PCs in how games will work. We know that PlayStation (at the very least) and Xbox One (and all previous Xbox generation) games will work on the new consoles, allowing players to bring their existing libraries into the new generation.
We also know that for a whole at least, Microsoft’s been trying to do away with the entire notion of console generations. They’ve also been pushing Xbox as more of an ecosystem than any single product, so it should come as absolutely zero surprise to anybody that the next Xbox Generation – if which we know only about the Xbox Series X – will share its new games with the old generation of consoles. And, says Microsoft’s Matt Booty, it’ll stay that way for at least two years.
Speaking to MCV, the Xbox Game Studios head Matt Booty confirmed that first-party games (that’s the ones made and published by Microsoft’s studios) will work across existing Xbox systems and PC for at least two years. That means you’ll probably only see the first “true” Xbox Series exclusive in 2022.
“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,” Booty said.
“We want to make sure that if someone invests in Xbox between now and [Series X] that they feel that they made a good investment and that we’re committed to them with content.”
That means you can expect new first-party games from the company to work on Pc and the Xbox One consoles. That includes launch title Halo Infinite and the recently announced Hellblade 2.
It does take the ceremony out of the Xbox Series X launch, as usually, consoles have these great big launch games that make them exciting prospects to pick up. They do usually end up being poorly regarded in retrospect, so maybe this is a fine strategy.
“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,” Booty said.
“And for us that’s going to be Halo: Infinite, which is a big opportunity. It’s the first time in over 15 years that we’ll have a Halo title launching in sync with a new console. And that team is definitely going to be doing things to take advantage of [Series X].”
They do realise this is a very different strategy to what Sony did with the PlayStation 4. Noteworthy, because it’s Sony’s exclusive games that are usually highlighted as the reason that the Japan company “won” this generation.
“First of all, Sony’s done a fantastic job just across the board in terms of what they’ve done with building an audience, selling consoles, obviously, a number of amazing, great games that have come out of their first party teams. I try to stay away from framing things as a head-to-head bout with
Sony, instead I think that it’s just up to us to focus on three things. First of all, we need to deliver on the promises that we make. So if we say a game is going to ship at a certain time, we’ve got to get that done, we just need to get better at executing.”
“We need to make sure that we hold the bar high on quality, and that we’re releasing games that we can be proud of and that the fans can be proud of as Xbox exclusives.”
It’ll be an interesting generation, that’s for certain. Having new tent-pole games work across existing hardware does mean that potentially millions more people will be playing those games (even if they’re not explicitly playing for them, thanks to services like Game Pass). It does, however, take away a bit of the lustre – making this new-gen more like the launch of a new GPU from AMD or Nvidia than a brand new console. We’ll have to see if it’s a clever strategy or one that leaves Microsoft eating PlayStation dust once again.
Last Updated: January 13, 2020