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Xbox's lack of compelling games won't be fixed next year

Xbox's lack of compelling games won't be fixed next year
From Engadget - December 28, 2017

A 6-teraflop GPU and 12GB of RAM wo not help Microsoft clear its other hurdle, though, at least not in the short term. Since last year, the company has shuttered a pair of its internal development studios (Fable house Lionhead and Max and the Curse of Brotherhood's Press Play) and killed off at least two other games: the incredibly promising dragon-owning-simulator Scalebound from PlatinumGames and the internally developed game-creation suite Project Spark.

The number of internal studios and software projects is so low that the company had to announce it would be going on a shopping spree for new studios and games next year. The problem is, on average, games take between two and three years to make, and big AAA tentpoles can easily spend double that time in development. Xbox's dearth of fresh games you ca not play anywhere else is not going to be fixed in 2018.

This fall, the Xbox's big exclusives were racing sim Forza Motorsport 7, which, while extremely pretty, was more of the same, and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. The latter has 25 million players on PC, and Microsoft is bragging it racked up over 1 million players in its first 48 hours on Xbox One. The lovably clunky work in progress is not the type of thing that's going to hit beyond Microsoft's shooter-centric base, however. At the moment it also is not the type of game you boot up to show off your fancy new console and TV. The same goes for backwards compatibility with 15-year-old games from the original Xbox.

So how does Microsoft fill the gap between now and whenever its first new purchase comes out? Early 2018 has the cartoony shared-world pirate simulator Sea of Thieves and Crackdown 3, both of which are big maybes. Let me explain. Thieves is developer Rare's first stab at making a Destiny-like persistent online world. It'd be a feat for any team to make, but aside from the nostalgic Rare Replay collection from 2015, Rare has not had a critical hit in almost a decade.

Crackdown 3 has been delayed multiple times, and based on what I played of it at E3 this year, its being pushed into 2018 was not surprising at all. Will it actually be good when the ambiguous "spring" launch window rolls around? I wish I could say yes with any degree of certainty, but that is not the case. State of Decay 2 is supposedly getting a big push from Microsoft, but zombie-survival games are not the type of thing that cross over to mainstream success. That brings us back to Microsoft's well-tread path of racing games and first-person shooters.

The team at Insomniac did not get an order for 'Sunset Overdrive 2' unless you count their PS4 exclusive 'Spider-Man' game out next spring.

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