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GamingThread Is Xbox's problem with first party a lack of identity?
Reason User Banned (2 weeks): Console wars
When looking at all three Xbox Consoles to date, I begin to notice something very interesting about games from Microsoft Studios (now Xbox Game Studios). As a publisher, Microsoft never really seemed to have much of a core identity or vision in their games. What I mean by this is that Microsoft throughout Xbox's history, seemed to just take in whatever game they could get, with no clear vision or anything resembling a cohesive content strategy. I think this sort of "throw shit at the wall and see what sticks" approach worked with the Original Xbox, as it gave us really unique and underrated gems like Kung Fu Chaos, Quantum Redshift, Blinx, and Phantom Dust. But it also gave us some stinkers like Tang Lou, or Sneakers. Even going into the 360, it was easy to see that Microsoft Game Studios still didn't find a clear voice. The console was mainly carried on the backs of Halo and Gears of War. While these are great games, what about them sets Microsoft apart from Sony or Nintendo? Nintendo has always placed fun and gameplay before anything else, everything regarding their games is designed to support the idea of putting fun at the center of the experience. Gameplay is simple, yet deep, and involves an arcade sense of ingenuity and intuitiveness that anyone can pick up and play. It's why their games and characters stick around for generations after their debut. Sony Computer Entertainment defined itself as a specialist in Cinematic, set-piece driven adventures, leveraging the hardware and media formats of their platforms to create worlds, characters, gameplay, and stories that connect with people young and old even years after release. I think the PlayStation 2 was when this style really started coming into its own with games like Ico, Ratchet & Clank, Jak & Daxter, God of War, Primal, Shadow of the Colossus, Sly Cooper, and others. With Microsoft, you never really got the sense that they had a particular strength in their games. Instead, they did seemingly everything and anything, and they did a good job, but they were rarely able to make masterpieces on the level of Sony or Nintendo. This really came to bite them in the ass with the Xbox One, where Microsoft Studios had closed and sold off half its teams, and cancelled several promising games, which not only left the Xbox One with painful, Wii U-esque software droughts of exclusives, but what little Microsoft did release for most of the gen always gave off a sort of "Discount Sony" vibe. Like they were trying to ape the PlayStation style, but they were never as good or talented at it as Sony's Worldwide Studios were. With the next Xbox Generation in the form of Game Pass and Series X, I think Xbox Game Studios going forward, needs to really nail down exactly who they are as a publisher. We're 4 Xbox consoles in at this point, and Microsoft can no longer afford to have its first party lack anything resembling a tangible content strategy. Xbox Game Studios should at least, try to establish themselves as the "Anti-PlayStation". That being do games and genres Sony usually doesn't do nearly as well, or take common PlayStation first party tropes, and subvert them. They can't afford to be seen as "Diet PlayStation" for the third generation in a row, they need a vision and an identity that stands out.