We are now reaching the second half of the year and E3 is just around the corner. With Sony’s overwhelming success in God of War, I wonder if Microsoft can ever get out from underneath the rubble.
It has only been six months since Xbox One X was released. And sure there’s no denying this console is the most powerful console out there in the market. But what they have in power they are still lacking what really matters: The games. It certainly doesn’t make sense to buy their console if there are no games that you can play on it. Sure, you can play Assassin’s Creed Origins or Far Cry 5 which have been great in their own right. But what about Microsoft’s first-party games?
Let’s look at Sea of Thieves. This game seems okay but it has received mixed reviews since it was launched. It got a 69 rating on Metacritic and a 67 score on OpenCritic. Our very own Enricko Ozoa gave it a 6 in his review of the game. So far this was the game that made news in terms of Xbox exclusives but it didn’t really make a lasting impression and the hype soon died down.
Compared to God of War which became the fastest selling game for the PS4, Microsoft has nothing that can even match up to this success. In fact, the next one they have lined up is State of Decay II but I don’t think it will gain as much success as God of War did. Yes, it’s a pretty good looking console but if you can only play third-party games in it, might as well by a PC which can dish out better graphics than the Xbox One X.
Microsoft has been so desperate they even tried to get Kingdom Hearts III on their console this year. But we all know this will sell more on the PlayStation since most of the people that played the previous titles of the series played it on the PlayStation console. Maybe they just didn’t get to seal the deal in terms of getting Kingdom Hearts 1.5, 2.5 and 2.8 but had they done that it would have probably made an impact on people deciding where to get the game on.
The thing with Microsoft is they don’t think single player games matter anymore or at least that’s what Shannon Loftis said. He believes that people want games with higher resolution graphics. But if that was the case, then why is God of War so successful? It’s a single-player story-driven game plus it has high-quality graphics. They say it’s a risk to capitalize on story-driven games in the fear of it not being well accepted by the audience.
But it takes risk and a whole lot of talent to come up with high-caliber story-driven games. Look at Sony’s Santa Monica Studios and Naughty Dog. These studios have been delivering us with such great stories and even risked it all by coming up with new ones. Unfamiliar ones like the Last of Us that became such a hit surprise because of how well-crafted the story was.
I think that Microsoft is still trying to play safe. They try to stick with the familiar, tried-and-tested formula. They tend to make sequels and sequels of the ones that became popular thinking that people will just eat it all up. Sure it’s because of Microsoft that we get breakout hits like Ori and the Blind Forest which I actually loved and I wish Microsoft would create more of these. But alas, they even had to cancel Scalebound which would have been the break that Microsoft needed.
I think it’s high time that Microsoft push forward and stop with this no single-player nonsense. The best games are the ones that provide a great storyline and high-quality graphics. Heck, graphics don’t even have to be that great. (And no, not great graphics is not equal to Mass Effect Andromeda. There’s a huge difference when you’ve got good quality graphics over graphics that’s just abysmal.) Multiplayer games can only do so much to propel them forward.
As a parting note, I challenge Microsoft to be more of a risk taker. Grab this opportunity to hire creative writers or just brainstorm great ideas rooted in single-player storylines. If they can somehow come up with great stories that will rival that of God of War then I’m sure that they will catch up to Sony in no time.