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Wired: Xbox Has Always Chased Power. That's Not Enough Anymore. (Exclusive interview with the Xbox team)

3liteDragon

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Specs go a long way. But in exclusive interviews with WIRED, the Xbox team explains why they're thinking outside the teraflops.
“Performance” is an Xbox word. So is “power.” When Microsoft wants you to think about Xbox—specifically, buying an Xbox—it has a lexicon well-honed over nearly two decades to connect two ideas: big daddy hardware and big-number performance. Microsoft could talk about teraflops and terabytes all day, but it traditionally both shows and tells.
An Xbox 360 ad shows a confused teen drop his phone and pick up a sword lodged in the city street. He’s in a game; the copy reads “Jump in.” To promote the Xbox One, phrases like “Ultimate precision” and “Games that feel like real life” underline porny hardware footage. For the Xbox One X, intricate computer chips and glowing circuit boards metastasize into the lines of a human iris. Even for its lower-tech sister, the Xbox One S, the ad opens with “4k Ultra HD Video.” The message is clear: Xbox tech will make your game look so good you’ll be swimming in it.
The above is not just a history of Xbox’s marketing strategy; it’s a commentary on its whole schtick. The Xbox has traditionally been a luxury item designed to shove as many pixels into our eyeholes as modern tech will let it. And traditionally, compared to the PlayStation or Nintendo devices, Xbox has leaned hard on horsepower as a sales pitch. But seven years after its last console generation launched, the Xbox Series S and Series X will soon arrive in a modern gaming climate with entirely modern expectations—and not necessarily for the most baroque hardware specs.

In 2020, the ever-expanding gaming population is in the spirit of making trade-offs. Resolution for cross-device gaming. A better price point for a less powerful GPU. Exclusives for subscription services. Everybody is a gamer now, and not everybody’s life can accommodate a $500 immersion box stapled to the living room TV stand.
In interviews with WIRED, Xbox executives detailed a more holistic strategy going into their splashy November launches. As with the previous generation, Microsoft will offer a high-octane Xbox and a stripped-down alternative: the Xbox Series X and Series S. But Xbox’s two-console launch is just the superscript. “So much of my experience as a gamer 10, 20 years ago was dictated by what device I played on,” Xbox head Phil Spencer tells WIRED. Today, he says, he’s pushing for a reality in which “the device doesn’t dictate to me what I can do—I’m going to want to bring my experience to any device, whether it’s a PC, my phone, or a great console.”

Xbox has spent years architecting a digital terrarium for its new machines. Its unholy-good Game Pass subscription plan provides a sort of “Netflix for video games,” while its cloud gaming service powers its presence on Android devices. The foundation for this live ecosystem is a new, more democratic ideology toward gaming—one that decenters performance from the console gaming experience.

It began with some retrospection. “We looked at the current Xbox One and PS4 generation. And clearly we had a box that was out of balance,” says Spencer. The Xbox One’s graphical power was off the charts when it launched in 2013. But the brain of the console, the CPU, is underpowered relative to the GPU, he says. In 2018, Xbox added a prescient bit of tech popularized by PC gaming called “variable refresh rate,” an update that Spencer says gave him confidence that “focus on CPU and frame rate this gen would be important.” Variable refresh rate enhanced the Xbox’s display options by matching monitors’ refresh rates—how often the screen shows a new image—to the Xbox’s output rate of in-game frames. The alignment meant less input lag or “screen tearing,” when several animated frames appear stacked on top of each other.
Watching Xbox One, PC, and Game Pass players modulate their settings on 2019’s Gears 5 or the Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Spencer noticed that while some adjusted for the best possible fidelity (even if a 30-frames-per-second frame rate woodchipped their gameplay), a lot optimized for feel. They’d easily sacrifice a couple of luminescent sunbeams for more reactive shooter mechanics. The critical question for the Xbox team: Why was that compromise so attractive?

“It was a pivot,” says Liz Hamren, head of gaming engineering at Xbox, of Xbox’s dual-console, next-gen strategy. “The truth is that the CPU and I/O performance is roughly equivalent between these two products. It’s really around the resolution.” The $500 Series X falls in line with Xbox’s machismo hardware traditions, while the $300 Series S mirrors a more contemporary understanding of gamers—people less likely to stand open-mouthed in the “4K TV” aisles of Best Buy, and more likely to unwind after a tough shift with 30 minutes of brain candy wherever they park their body. While both consoles have essentially the same CPU, the Series S has no disc drive, less storage, and sacrifices the Series X’s tricked-out 8K graphical capabilities. If you’re in the business of comparing teraflops, a measure of a console’s graphical power, the Xbox Series S has three times fewer than the Series X. But it’s still a next-gen console; it will enhance some older Xbox games to a maximum of 1440p. (2017’s Xbox One X supports 4K resolution.)

“There was a lot of debate. Should it have a disc drive or not? Is this next-gen performance? What does next-gen performance mean and how do we measure it?” says Hamren. Accessibility is one way; Hamren says the $300 price point for the Series S was an early objective. She also wanted people to feel comfortable gaming for just 20 minute sittings, perhaps a habit built off mobile and popular online games’ pick-up-put-down designs. Xbox’s new Quick Resume technology, available on both consoles, lets players suspend action in their Outer Worlds games and immediately resume wherever they left off in Yakuza 0. “I can walk into my house, maybe I have an Alexa or a Google Home, and I'm like, ‘Turn on my Xbox.’ I can sit down, I can play, and then I can go off and do something else, versus psychologically feeling like I need more time,” she says.

At the same time, there will always be gamers who gather every snack in their house around a plush sofa for hours-straight grind-throughs of Assassin's Creed Odyssey. And when Xbox has pitched them, “immersion” has been inexorably wrapped up with “performance.” As countless retro-style indie games have proven, graphics aren’t the most reliable measure of emotional investment. A lot of things do this other than teraflops: voice chat with friends, great writing, suspense, loot boxes. Hamren says performance and resolution are “necessary but not sufficient” for a great gaming experience, and “not the core of what we talk about 80 percent of the time.”

“I think we're really good at the melting-into-the-couch,” she says. “I think we've nailed that. We'll continue to be great at that. We're never gonna abandon it. But also, I do want us to feel like no matter how you play—deep melting into the couch or casual—we support it.”

Technological breakthroughs can also fall flat, especially when they’re over-hyped. Ray tracing was the last game-tech buzzword, a years-long obsession for GPU producers. It calculates how light would bounce off digital objects in real life, an unfathomably big-brained algorithm that helps GPUs render game environments particle by particle. Flashy. And a feature in both of Xbox’s upcoming consoles. But as a recent PC Gamer article put it, “Ray tracing has failed to deliver on its promise.” Few if any games have significantly benefited from the tech. Nobody’s going to love or hate a game because you can see a ceiling lamp shining off a bullet as it whips by, or a really convincing alleyway puddle.

When WIRED read PC Gamer’s headline to Spencer, he said he thought it was “probably right.” “When I think about games where ray-tracing has had a dramatic impact on my experience as a player,” he says, “it’s kind of spotty.” And while both the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 both technically support 8K resolution, don’t expect that to mean much in practice. “I think 8K is aspirational technology,” Spencer says. “The display capabilities of devices are not really there yet. I think we’re years away from 8K being—if it ever is—standard in video games.” (One tech advance with immediate, tangible benefits is a 120-Hz refresh rate, which Spencer says is “absolutely there for people to use.”)

“There’s a little bit of buzzword bingo that starts happening,” says Spencer.

Referring to data her team collects, Hamren suggests that not as many people have 4K TVs as AAA publishers might think. Nintendo hasn’t even touched 4K, and the company still stole gamers’ hearts with the cartoony The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Increasingly, and inevitably, lists of 2020’s best 8K TVs are cropping up ahead of the next-gen PlayStation and Xbox launches. IGN’s pick is $8,000.

“The leap in generations is less big than it has been in the past,” says Tom Wijman, who leads gaming research company NewZoo’s games analytics division. “I think the importance of top-of-the-line specifications has been more important in the past.” What will drive people’s holiday console decisions, he says, isn’t a slight difference in resolution or processing power, topics typically discussed when a console is announced. “In the end, what will drive people’s decision is their social surroundings, if people play on Xbox around them, their past purchasing behavior, and exclusive games that come out for a system.”

This time around, to participate in the next-gen Xbox launch, you don’t even need to buy a console. Wrapped around the arrival of the Series X and S is Xbox’s new network of play: its revamped Game Pass subscription service and its (beta) cloud gaming service for Android devices. For $15 a month, you can play a rotating roster of games, which has included Resident Evil 7, The Outer Worlds, Minecraft Dungeons, Dishonored 2, No Man’s Sky, Crackdown 3, Dead Cells, Ark: Survival Evolved, three Age of Empires games, 11 Halo games, and hundreds of other titles in the well-curated Game Pass library. And you can play a lot of them across old Xbox, new Xbox, Android, and PC. (It helps that Microsoft makes Windows.)

Xbox is jockeying for a limited number of consumer subscription dollars, already claimed by Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, and other gaming offerings. It’s a safe bet, though. In April, Game Pass had 10 million subscribers. Its latest incarnation, which adds the Ultimate option encompassing xCloud and Xbox Live Gold, has helped attract millions more for a total of 15 million. Within the content microcosm of gaming, “service” means more than easy access to content. Factors outside of commercial gaming products can create strong gravitational pull over time. Take Fortnite. Instead of the traditional $60, Fortnite is free. And instead of moving on after a month or two, unrelenting content updates—including in-game items and events or out-of-game esports leagues—might entice you to play for another three years. If you play Fortnite on PC, you can link up with buddies on Xbox, PlayStation, Switch, or smartphones. And you want to hang out with your friends, right? This is what Microsoft is attempting with Xbox as a whole, on as many platforms as it can.

“They’re deemphasizing themselves as the center of the living room and more emphasizing getting people into the ecosystem,” says Joost van Dreunen, cofounder of game analytics company SuperData and author of One Up: Creativity, Competition, and the Global Business of Video Games. Pointing out that the PlayStation 4 sold twice as much as the Xbox One, van Dreunen says that Sony’s exclusive games proved more attractive than the Xbox’s performance spectacles. “Historically, they’ve really emphasized hardware and hardware capability. Now, it’s about the availability of content.” Unless you’re a mega-fan of a particular franchise or two, Xbox’s Game Pass and cross-platform ideology easily outmaneuvers Sony’s walled-garden approach to exclusives.

It is a euphoric experience to scroll through the Game Pass library and know that it will instantly delete any FOMO you had from missing a big game launch. Hearing weeks of hype around the strategy kingdom simulator Crusader Kings 3, I impulsively downloaded the $50 game, quickly became confused by its menus, got bored reading so much text, and put it down forever. What luxury. Likewise, I picked up my PC Ori and the Will of the Wisps save on my Android phone through xCloud’s beta; Xbox still counts me as a user, although my Xbox One sits dusty in the living room.

Sarah Bond, who heads up Xbox’s gaming ecosystem division, says the company has learned a lot from how players interacted with Game Pass on the Xbox One. “We see that people actually spend 20 percent more time playing games, try 30 percent more genres, and play 40 percent more total games, including outside the subscription,” she says. “We have seen the highest levels of engagement ever on our own games and growth in the playerbase.” After landing on Game Pass, she says, Grounded reached a million players in 48 hours. Microsoft-owned Minecraft’s user base has ballooned to 132 million.

Game Pass is a ridiculous thing to exist. And it only exists because Microsoft is very big. Microsoft owns Xbox Game Studios, an amalgamation of over a dozen developers including Obsidian (The Outer Worlds, Pillars of Eternity), Mojang (Minecraft), Double Fine (Psychonauts), and 343 (Halo, duh). Earlier this month, Microsoft made a massive acquisition: ZeniMax Media, the Bethesda Softworks parent company, for $7.5 billion. What does Bethesda make? Elder Scrolls (Skyrim), Fallout, Wolfenstein, Dishonored and Doom. Xbox declined to say how the acquisition would impact Game Pass, but last week, Xbox announced that Doom Eternal would land on Game Pass soon.

Some of Bethesda’s games will also come to PlayStation. And so as a fun quirk of late-stage capitalism, you don’t need an Xbox console, or to have anything to do with Xbox, to participate in its growth.

The approach does have its limits. Microsoft can put its own games on its Xbox apps, design those apps for its Windows operating system, and create cross-play opportunities between PC and Xbox owners. In its Pinky and the Brain world-domination quest, Microsoft has designed its own stage for Xbox and set it, too. But by betting big on software like xCloud and Game Pass, Xbox is inherently reliant on other people’s platforms. After a trial run on iOS, xCloud has been effectively shut out by Apple, which says each individual game would need to be submitted as a separate app. (Non-gaming streaming services like Netflix have no such restrictions.) Even though Spencer says that he eventually wants to see Game Pass “on all platforms,” it’s not likely to happen soon. As he said in an interview with GameStar, "The other competitive platforms really aren't interested in having a full Xbox experience on their hardware. But for us, we want to be where gamers want to be and that's the path that we're on."

Rather than “power” or “performance,” Xbox’s big word this time around is “choice.” Audiophiles and cinema geeks can enjoy music and film wherever they go; gaming is making that transition, too. Xbox head Spencer says that now more than ever the company sees customers on PC who they never see on Xbox. “We don’t look at them as lesser because they didn’t go buy one of our consoles,” he says. “At some point, we’re going to have Xbox customers who only know us on their phone, and that’s also fine.”

The living room console is still Xbox’s flagship experience. It’s still the sun around which its world turns. But today everything can be a console, if Fortnite’s explosive success across platforms says anything. Phones are the most popular way to game. On that theme, in a June interview with WIRED, Spencer said, “In the long run, to me, it’s a question about the viability of the television.”

Gaming, though, has always been an identity as much as it’s been a hobby. Gamers like things—expensive, hype, lit-up, decked-out. Having is being. Picking apart next-gen consoles’ specs and pledging allegiance to Company X is communion with your community; it’s not foreplay to a cold consumer decision. Xbox is betting that how we play won’t always define who we are. Hopefully, it’s right.
 

LittleBusters

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This is why Xbox Series S will sell many times the amount of its powerful brother. Especially at $15/month for Series S All Access. Think about that, $15 gets you the new hardware with Velocity Architecture(1440p/120fps) and 200 games right off the bat. Best value in gaming today.
 

GHG

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This is why Xbox Series S will sell many times the amount of its powerful brother. Especially at $15/month for Series S All Access. Think about that, $15 gets you the new hardware with Velocity Architecture(1440p/120fps) and 200 games right off the bat. Best value in gaming today.

Are all your posts written like advertisements?

Also "All Access" isn't available to everyone, nor is it available everywhere.
 
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GHG

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He's on repeat with the $15 thing. They don't even hide it anymore.


The real wildcard will be Xbox Series S, especially the 'all access $15/month'. That could be a gigantic hit that actually hurts Sony. Hell, I'm considering replacing my One X with a Series S down the line instead of the Series X. I love how small it is and 1440p/120fps is not bad at all, considering it has all the rest of Velocity Architecture improvements.

Christ alive.

You'd be better off making a bot ffs.
 

Nhranaghacon

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At some point we will have a roaster of Xbox customer's who only know us on their phone

Hopefully they succeed with bringing cloud gaming to the forefront. I honestly personally hope it replaces the console - and soon - quit your asinine complaining - if Xbox
brought a solid cloud experience that was indistinguishable from the home system - meaning not choppy, loads of performance, smooth gameplay - perfect for playing games on at any resolution...

why would this be a bad thing? It wouldn't. It would mean suddenly developers have all the power they need to make whatever game they wanted, as they wouldn't been locked into a hardware platform - the cloud could just be upgraded for that particular game.

When Netflix started off it's domination, it had about 2 years of terrible service if you look back on it. I remember 2 weeks where Netflix didn't even work. Day's of outages. Choppy/nonworking playback.

And as I knew I would be, I'm glad they kept at it - cloud services are the future of computing/gaming/entertainment even if you lot can't see it. And hopefully Microsoft dominates that arena.
 

JTCx

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This is why Xbox Series S will sell many times the amount of its powerful brother. Especially at $15/month for Series S All Access. Think about that, $15 gets you the new hardware with Velocity Architecture(1440p/120fps) and 200 games right off the bat. Best value in gaming today.
Best value in gaming and promotes debt lmfao
 
Nov 22, 2019
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This is why Xbox Series S will sell many times the amount of its powerful brother. Especially at $15/month for Series S All Access. Think about that, $15 gets you the new hardware with Velocity Architecture(1440p/120fps) and 200 games right off the bat. Best value in gaming today.
It blows my mind that anyone can look at that and be like, "nah, 500 dollars console and 70 dollar physical games please. I really need a remake of a ps3 game and sort of a sequel to Spiderman!" There is a whole ocean of games out there that game pass lets you try risk free.
 

Dodkrake

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It blows my mind that anyone can look at that and be like, "nah, 500 dollars console and 70 dollar physical games please. I really need a remake of a ps3 game and sort of a sequel to Spiderman!" There is a whole ocean of games out there that game pass lets you try risk free.

Every time I see gamepass being sold as the answer I swear a baby dolphin dies. Why does every single gamepass crusader forget that PSNow is a thing and has more than twice as many games? Or that the PS5 will have more than a dozen triple A games for free for PSPlus users.
 

LittleBusters

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It blows my mind that anyone can look at that and be like, "nah, 500 dollars console and 70 dollar physical games please. I really need a remake of a ps3 game and sort of a sequel to Spiderman!" There is a whole ocean of games out there that game pass lets you try risk free.

Yeah why won't millions of PS4 owners consider the XBox library? Not everyone wants to play the same platform forever.
 

GHG

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Reach harder.

Credit checks are required:

A full credit search needs to be conducted

To sign up for Xbox All Access you need to sign up for a credit agreement with the relevant financier for your region In the UK, this is Klarna Bank AB, who will run a full credit search on you. To apply through Klarna, you must be a permanent UK resident, and be at least 18 years of age.


"When you apply for Financing with Klarna, Klarna will make a full credit search with credit reference agencies who will supply credit information," the Xbox All Access FAQs state. "The agencies will record details of the search, which can be seen on your credit file, whether or not credit is granted. This record will also be visible to third parties and may affect other organizations’ future decisions on whether or not to provide you with credit. For any questions relating to the credit check process, contact Klarna’s customer support team.

What happens if you miss a payment:

...Missed and late payments will be reported to credit bureaus and could impact your credit score."


In the US, Xbox All access finance is provided by Citizens One, so you need to open a Citizens One Line of Credit. Citizens One has no fees, but late payments may be reported to the credit bureaus. Like with Klarna, a full credit check will be run before your line of credit is approved.


Sounds like any other type of debt to me.

Do you promote mobile phone or home appliance store financing with the same level of enthusiasm?
 
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You know we are heading into a new generation and they barely mention upcoming titles at all in that interview. The only whiff of it was studios list and the Bethesda acquisition.

No update on how Halo is doing, what’s to look forward to in the coming months or even a hint to that.

I love Xbox but they don’t half drain the excitement out of stuff at times, when I saw the headline I thought content would of been the focal point of the interviews.

And let’s be honest here, the retrospect into last generation they should look at themselves compared to others on the market and the content, it should never have been allowed to get to a point where their most determined social media defenders have to keep repeating the same rhetoric “Wait till E3, Wait till XO19, Wait till Gamescom” etc .

Yes I’m aware we are in a pandemic , since Feb/March, what’s been cooking there before that?
 
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AgentP

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This is why Xbox Series S will sell many times the amount of its powerful brother. Especially at $15/month for Series S All Access. Think about that, $15 gets you the new hardware with Velocity Architecture(1440p/120fps) and 200 games right off the bat. Best value in gaming today.

It won't even make up 20% of the Xbox sales next gen. People don't settle.
 

TeKtheSanE

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Some of Bethesda’s games will also come to PlayStation. And so as a fun quirk of late-stage capitalism, you don’t need an Xbox console, or to have anything to do with Xbox, to participate in its growth.

Well at least some of Bethesda games are going to PS5, wonder if this is referring to Deathloop and Ghostwire, or if this is referring to later titles.
 

M1chl

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JTCx

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Doesn't stop people from leasing Teslas and iPhones. Microsoft is otherwise leaving sales on the table if they don't participate in this consumer debt game. It's not their responsibility to make better citizens.
No it doesnt but youre promoting it.
 
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Bo_Hazem

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Sinthor

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Deathloop and Ghostwire are coming 2021 tho :pie_thinking:
I'd imagine Starfield and possible Elder Scrolls VI still will as well, given Sony was negotiating on those titles more recently. If they've been getting developed all this time, that's a lot of capital and resources to throw away. That being said, anything after those games...is anyone's guess.
 
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I'd imagine Starfield and possible Elder Scrolls VI still will as well, given Sony was negotiating on those titles more recently. If they've been getting developed all this time, that's a lot of capital and resources to throw away. That being said, anything after those games...is anyone's guess.

Starfield I'm pretty confident it will. Especially if it is coming next year like rumored. No idea with Elder Scrolls. Think that would have been too early in production to be negotiating anything anyway.

Could go either way though
 

Kuranghi

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This is why Xbox Series S will sell many times the amount of its powerful brother. Especially at $15/month for Series S All Access. Think about that, $15 gets you the new hardware with Velocity Architecture(1440p/120fps) and 200 games right off the bat. Best value in gaming today.

*As long as you play on console and literally just started gaming and so haven't already played the best games of the last 5 years.

Its not really best value/useful if you have even slightly kept up with the gaming zeitgeist, if I had gamepass ultimate for the last 5 years I'd have spent £750 quid on it and I'm not sure the really great games would even add up to that much value.

I just went through the list right now (The console list, to be more fair towards Game Pass even though I'm on PC) and out of the 243 games I bought 30 of them, about 10 were full price (£40) and the rest were priced between £10 and £20 (Say average £15). I have pretty eclectic taste so that includes many genres I didn't just choose FPSes only or anything like that.

(10 x 40) + (30 x 15) = £850

So I've paid £100 extra and I get to:

1) Keep all the games forever
2) Buy them exactly when I actually want them rather than when they come to Game Pass
3) Not have to use the awful Windows Store to buy/install/play games. Its literally the worst experience I've ever had with a digital service. You can't even edit the files and folders of the game you own if there are technical problems, what a joke!

Sorry if this comes off as attack on you mate, not at all. I don't think its always bad value, I just think the value is extremely misleading unless you want to play EVERY game and I'm pretty sure that not who this is aimed at primarily. As your bit about XSS demonstrates.

I guess its good if you don't really finish many of the games you start but I'd say that a bad character trait and shouldn't be encouraged generally. Having good judgement and actually finishing "tasks" is VERY important in life imo.
 

Sinthor

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Starfield I'm pretty confident it will. Especially if it is coming next year like rumored. No idea with Elder Scrolls. Think that would have been too early in production to be negotiating anything anyway.

Could go either way though

Ah, good point. I checked and I was mistaken about Elder Scrolls. At least no DOCUMENTED reports of discussions about that, which indicate it's probably at least 2-3 years away still. Starfield is supposedly this coming year though with Covid, I expect a TON of the big budget games slated for 2021 to slip to 2022. Which will make the jump Sony got on making true next gen titles for the PS5 even more important.

Yeah, we'll see. I can see MS going either way with the Bethesda games and others. Depends on what their data tells them- whether the data says it's better to make them exclusives, or whether it says to follow their other public statements recently and focus on just putting their games out EVERYWHERE. Should be interesting.
 
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captainraincoat

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will be interesting to see what happens once the consoles actually start flowing into stores again post launch as you have one side thats been ticking alot of boxes and being open and offering some pretty cool stuff
and on the other side of the fence you have alot of question marks which people are happy to handwave as the ps4 was the best console of the generation

I hope the lack of communication does not continue
 
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sn0man

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In 2018, Xbox added a prescient bit of tech popularized by PC gaming called “variable refresh rate,” an update that Spencer says gave him confidence that “focus on CPU and frame rate this gen would be important.”

Technological breakthroughs can also fall flat, especially when they’re over-hyped. Ray tracing was the last game-tech buzzword, a years-long obsession for GPU producers.

Is there a key or guide I can reference when reading this ad copy? Sometimes it almost seems like double talk.
 

Redlight

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I'd imagine Starfield and possible Elder Scrolls VI still will as well, given Sony was negotiating on those titles more recently. If they've been getting developed all this time, that's a lot of capital and resources to throw away. That being said, anything after those games...is anyone's guess.
Imagine all you like. There's zero evidence that any of those Zenimax games will come to PS5.

MS didn't spend 7.5 billion dollars simply to give Sony equal access to the properties they just paid for. They've regained the power title, now they're shutting down the 'Xbox has no games' narrative.
 
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Imagine all you like. There's zero evidence that any of those Zenimax games will come to PS5.

MS didn't spend 7.5 billion dollars simply to give Sony equal access to the properties they just paid for. They've regained the power title, now they're shutting down the 'Xbox has no games' narrative.

There is evidence though

Phil even said they're going to consider other consoles on a case by case basis
 

Sinthor

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*As long as you play on console and literally just started gaming and so haven't already played the best games of the last 5 years.

Its not really best value/useful if you have even slightly kept up with the gaming zeitgeist, if I had gamepass ultimate for the last 5 years I'd have spent £750 quid on it and I'm not sure the really great games would even add up to that much value.

I just went through the list right now (The console list, to be more fair towards Game Pass even though I'm on PC) and out of the 243 games I bought 30 of them, about 10 were full price (£40) and the rest were priced between £10 and £20 (Say average £15). I have pretty eclectic taste so that includes many genres I didn't just choose FPSes only or anything like that.

(10 x 40) + (30 x 15) = £850

So I've paid £100 extra and I get to:

1) Keep all the games forever
2) Buy them exactly when I actually want them rather than when they come to Game Pass
3) Not have to use the awful Windows Store to buy/install/play games. Its literally the worst experience I've ever had with a digital service. You can't even edit the files and folders of the game you own if there are technical problems, what a joke!

Sorry if this comes off as attack on you mate, not at all. I don't think its always bad value, I just think the value is extremely misleading unless you want to play EVERY game and I'm pretty sure that not who this is aimed at primarily. As your bit about XSS demonstrates.

I guess its good if you don't really finish many of the games you start but I'd say that a bad character trait and shouldn't be encouraged generally. Having good judgement and actually finishing "tasks" is VERY important in life imo.


I have to agree with this as well and I'm NOT ripping on Microsoft here, but here's my points:

First, the Series S isn't cheap enough to make a mark on the true low end/budget segment of the market. $300 is still a lot of money for people, especially given how the year has gone. I think the market for the Series S is more for people like myself maybe, who can afford it and just want a box to run the new Halo or whatever, without caring about it being 4k or not. And that's a more limited segment of the market.

Secondly, you need GamePass to make the Series S truly worth it. Well, that's another $180 a year assuming the prices stay the same. That's almost 2/3rds the cost of the console itself! Every year! Again, may not be a consideration for some of us but I know a LOT of people who are really behind the 8 ball right now because they had to furlough from work for a month or two..sometimes more and while they're working now, they got way behind on credit card and other bills. So again, $299 plus another $180 a year is NOT 'bargain basement.'

Third is twofold but around the all digital nature of the box. For those who are extremely budget conscious, the Series S eliminates the benefit of used games. Not only GETTING used games at reduced price, as that might be countered by some good, aggressive digital sales, but the ability to trade your games IN and get credit. Again, I know people who count on this. The way they GET that new Call of Duty this year is by trading in one or more of the games they currently have. Many cannot afford $59.99 per game and $69.99? Just that much worse. In addition, almost half of the United States does not have access to high speed internet. This kind of internet is again, expensive, costing anywhere from $30 to $60 or even $80 per month! Of course, the internet is used for plenty of other things and isn't fair to count as a specific expense related to gaming. The problem is, that without GOOD internet connectivity, the Series S will be severely impacted. Streaming obviously, but the utility of downloading games will be drastically impacted as well.

Again, I'm not ripping on MS or the Series S here, just commenting on the issues I see with the argument that it will sell a ton to the lower ends of the market segment. After all those arguments against it though, the one fear I have in the OPPOSITE direction is literally that it may sell TOO much! What I mean is that...especially with MS having no real XSX exclusive games for at least another two, maybe 3+ years from now, that the Series S may FAR outsell the XSX. Without all those flashy XSX 4k games, the Series S may be "good enough" for the core Xbox fans and again, given this years economics...it may see more traffic from that group that normally would go for the XSX. The problem with this is that the Series S almost certainly has a thinner profile margin than the Series X. So if MS ends up cannibalizing the Series X sales with the Series S, that would be another big problem.

So I hope all my fears are groundless and MS does well with both the Series S and X. I just think this is a risky move for them, especially in light of how long people will be waiting for those 1st party exclusive 'showcase' games. Time will tell.....

 
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Sinthor

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Imagine all you like. There's zero evidence that any of those Zenimax games will come to PS5.

MS didn't spend 7.5 billion dollars simply to give Sony equal access to the properties they just paid for. They've regained the power title, now they're shutting down the 'Xbox has no games' narrative.

Likewise, no evidence that they won't. Relax there, Sparky! As I said, you could make an argument either way and it will be interesting to see if all the comments MS has been making about exclusivity not being the way, etc., have been setting the ground for a more agnostic way of doing business going forward or if they will lock those titles down. My money's on them locking the titles down in the end....at least having exclusivity for 2-3 years before releasing elsewhere, IF they release at all. But again, I could see them going either way, especially with their stated philosophy and goal of having their games played everywhere and focusing on making their gaming like they did with Windows. Also, MS doesn't operate in a vacuum so it will be interesting to see how Google and Amazon react- this is a direct and immediate threat to them, moreso than it is for Sony.
 
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Neo Blaster

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It blows my mind that anyone can look at that and be like, "nah, 500 dollars console and 70 dollar physical games please. I really need a remake of a ps3 game and sort of a sequel to Spiderman!" There is a whole ocean of games out there that game pass lets you try risk free.
Lots of shovelware and old games, you get what you pay for. Quality games have a price, just like any other consumer products.
 

supernova8

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Point is that they want you on Game Pass. They don't really care if you buy a new Xbox or not. Could even say Xbox as a device is just a workaround solution until their cloud offering is totally bulletproof. Next-gen games costing $70 only makes the proposition more and more enticing.
 
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Redlight

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Likewise, no evidence that they won't. Relax there, Sparky! As I said, you could make an argument either way and it will be interesting to see if all the comments MS has been making about exclusivity not being the way, etc., have been setting the ground for a more agnostic way of doing business going forward or if they will lock those titles down. My money's on them locking the titles down in the end....at least having exclusivity for 2-3 years before releasing elsewhere, IF they release at all. But again, I could see them going either way, especially with their stated philosophy and goal of having their games played everywhere and focusing on making their gaming like they did with Windows. Also, MS doesn't operate in a vacuum so it will be interesting to see how Google and Amazon react- this is a direct and immediate threat to them, moreso than it is for Sony.

Apologies if I came across as a little aggressive, the thing is, I've had this discussion a thousand times before. :)

There is evidence that the new games wont be multiplatform, also, if you read the original quote of 'exclusivity not being the way' (in context) then it's very clear that Phil is talking about games not being exclusive to Series X at the expense of Xbox One owners. It's a relatively old quote and yet no one thought that games owned by Xbox would come to PS5 as a result. Well, until Zenimax that is.

There's nearly 20 pages of this very discussion at the link below.

Good luck. :)