Xbox One fans were treated today to more footage of the most anticipated Xbox One exclusive to release in the first half of this year: Quantum Break. The game looks phenomenal, gamers are getting Alan Wake and it’s DLC bundled with the pre-order, pre-ordering on the Xbox One also gives a free copy of the game on Windows 10, and the previews sound good. So, what’s the problem? Well, Microsoft dropped the bomb that Quantum Break is also coming to Windows 10.
The gaming community has since focused it’s attention on this announcement, which is a shame because the game itself should be the focus of the articles today as it truly does look fantastic. Alas, it was the controversial announcement of Quantum Break going to the PC that stole the headlines today. The Xbox community in particular has been very polarized over this announcement with what seems to be an almost even split of gamers who either are against this move or those who are welcome to it. This announcement didn’t come as much of a surprise to many as this seems to be a trend of Microsoft’s new vision of unifying the Xbox and Windows platforms. It’s a difficult situation: Xbox One isn’t as successful as the competition and there’s a lot of revenue to be made from PC sales so the decision of ever closer unity between the two platforms is both a good and a bad thing.
Personally, I see no problem with the unification of the two platforms since Microsoft owns the Xbox platform and might as well own the PC too since their Windows OS is on the vast majority of PC’s out there. While Xbox will always have a fanbase due to the simple fact that many gamers just enjoy the ease and simplicity of a closed system console, there are fears that by putting games that were previously announced as Xbox One exclusives on Windows 10, there’s a question over whether there is enough incentive left going forward for gamers who aren’t already fans of the Xbox platform to pick up an Xbox One because their exclusives can be picked up on PC so it could hurt the longevity of the console’s success. Let’s remember that PC hardware is still arguably fairly more expensive than consoles which will mean it’ll be a long time before consoles become obsolete.
In their Xbox Wire post about Xbox’s outlook for 2016, Xbox gave the following list of major games for 2016:
- Gears of War 4 (Xbox One) – Multiplayer Beta in Spring 2016/Launch in Fall 2016
- Quantum Break (Xbox One) – April 5, 2016
- Halo Wars 2 (Xbox One & Windows 10) – Fall 2016
- Crackdown 3 (Xbox One) – Multiplayer in Summer 2016
- Fable Legends Open Beta (Xbox One & Windows 10) – Spring 2016
- ReCore (Xbox One & Windows 10) – 2016
- Sea of Thieves (Xbox One & Windows 10) – 2016
- Gigantic (Xbox One & Windows 10) – 2016
- Killer Instinct: Season 3 (Xbox One & Windows 10) – March 2016
- Gears of War: Ultimate Edition (Windows 10) – Spring 2016
- Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition (Xbox One & Windows 10) – Spring 2016
- Cobalt (Xbox One, Xbox 360 & Steam) – Feb. 2, 2016
As you can see the only games that remain Xbox One exclusives today are Gears of War 4 and Crackdown 3. However, Gamespot also made a slip up today that Gears of War 4, arguably Microsoft’s biggest Xbox One exclusive for 2016, will be releasing on Windows 10 also. It’s unsure whether this was just a mistake or if Gamespot were letting slip of an announcement that might be coming at a later date. This begs the question whether or not the Xbox One console will have any true AAA exclusives by the end of 2016.
It’s important to note also that the benefits of bringing new IP to both Xbox One and Windows 10 far outweigh the negatives of doing so as very simply, bringing a new IP to both Xbox One and Windows 10 equals more sales which equals more revenue which equals better odds of receiving a sequel for said game. So, seeing a game like Quantum Break or a game like Sea of Thieves go to PC I believe many gamers don’t see too much of a problem with this due to the fact that the benefits do outweigh the negatives for the Xbox One console. However, games like Halo and Gears of War have become core system sellers for the Xbox console and were they to be announced for Windows 10 also it does leave the problem that many gamers who aren’t traditionally Xbox gamers might have less incentive to pick up an Xbox console, which could spell problems for the Xbox One console as a part of Microsoft’s vision because if Xbox sales get even poorer, Microsoft could possibly shift their focus more to PC which would be to the detriment of loyal, hardcore Xbox fans.
It’s inevitable that the new leadership of Xbox under Phil Spencer and Satya Nadella have a more open thinking vision of unifying the Xbox One and PC and that their job is too deliver on their vision and Xbox One exclusives going to the PC has both it’s benefits and it’s drawbacks and the best thing that Microsoft could do now is offer more transparency on their vision and just let Xbox One gamers know the details of their vision and where the Xbox console is heading in Microsoft’s future plans. It’s probably the lack of transparency and the fact that Microsoft waited this long before announcing the Windows 10 version of Quantum Break that lead to the controversy that ensued today as it’s a fair criticism of the way that today’s announcement unfolded due to the fact that the Xbox team had clarified previously that Quantum Break was an Xbox One exclusive.
If you look at the competition, Sony has a perception of being very console focused and the PS4 being the centre of everything that they do in gaming. Their exclusives, even their new IP’s like Bloodborne and The Order: 1886 release exclusively on the PS4 which means quite simply that if you want to play these games, you have to own a PS4. Whether this is part of the reason for their huge success this generation or not is debatable but it’s clear that Sony’s commitment to their console and console gamers has given them a better perception since the beginning of this console generation.
In closing, there’s been a lot of over-reacting in the gaming community today over the announcement of Quantum Break going to PC and the controversy has been aplenty. The future may still be a little foggy over the Xbox One and it’s exclusives but we must remember that, for the most part, there seems to be more benefits of games being released exclusively on both Xbox One and PC rather than Xbox One alone as Xbox One isn’t the hottest console this generation and there’s much more revenue to be had from releasing on both platforms. However, it’s a little bit less clear on games like Gears of War 4 and Xbox’s main AAA exclusives such as Halo and Forza too since these games serve as big incentives for gamers who aren’t already invested in the Xbox to pick up an Xbox One but aside from these games, it’s also important for Xbox to expand their portfolio with more variety and if releasing games on both Xbox One and PC helps Microsoft to make more quality new IP’s then it doesn’t sound too bad to me.
How do you feel about Xbox One exclusives going to Windows 10? Do you think it’s a good thing or a bad thing? Get involved in the discussion by dopping a comment and letting us know your thoughts.