Phil Spencer the Head of Microsoft believes that the future of gaming is boiling done to the end of consoles. I am inclined to agree with him, with the numbers of digitals out performing physical copies is becoming a up trend in media. Phil Spencer and the rest at Microsoft have been hushed on the true power of the X-Box Scorpio, the Scorpio is said to be a game changer in the console market allowing developers the ability to create any game they want with out the limitations of space.
Phil Spencer is leaning towards the future of the gaming culture and as an X-Box fan and gaming enthusiast I am excited about what’s to come, but the issue at hand is the direction that Spencer and X-box is moving toward. The problem is that they see a future for continuous online multiplayer services like Destiny and The Division type games, with endless DLC’s and constant micro transactions.
Now these games are great with hours upon hours of fun gameplay, so I am not downplaying or disparaging such games. The only thing about these games, is that the fun evaporates after a while. The constant need to be connected online is also a troublesome entity of service based games. Offline story based games are and has been a strong viable source of content for years because of their replay ability. How many times have your played Ocarina of Time or Final Fantasy 7. Even to stray away from RPG’s how many people has played through any of the Nathan Drake Uncharted games or old school Metal Gear and even Jak and Dexter. Gaming has become a strong staple in entertainment because of innovative game play mixed with compelling stories. Mr Spencer doesn’t see a future for open world story laced games like Breath of the Wild or Skyrim, this is sad considering the X-box struggles with providing exclusive story driven games.
Breath of the wild was a major hit and a blockbuster for the Nintendo Switch. Horizon Zero Dawn was a shocker when it came out the gate. Horizon Zero Dawn is a ferocious contender that shocks and awe many with its interesting story, graphics and beautiful scenery. To limit gaming to just paid services is not a smart model to follow. Yes Destiney and The Division may bring in revenue that continues to raise due to their World of Warcraft style of releasing new content. But is this fair to the fans, I love to play Call of Duty but after a while I get the itch to throw maybe a Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 in and play through the single player or play Grand Theft Auto V and just cruise around. Gaming has to appeal to your moods and likes not just trends. Phil Spencer is really looking at the community as a sales tag and not as a collective of people who enjoy playing strong games.
Halo and Gears of War may have a cult following with great stories. These game’s stories are so compelling, that they span many books, comics and original internet episodes, but they are at the end of the day shooters. I mean truly ask yourself how many times have you replayed Gears of War to say a Skyrim, that has not only defined Western RPG’s but also invigorates an entire mod culture.
Story based games are the backbone of gaming, from the days of Atari to modern consoles. Story is so important lets look at the NBA 2K franchise. NBA 2K added a complete story mode where your custom created NBA hopeful try’s to survive as a rookie to become a bona fide superstar. Including the idea of following a storyline in a sports game did wonders for the franchise, that sells like hot cakes still to this day. Even with the classic modes and the massive online gameplay NBA 2K changed the sports gaming industry by appealing to gamers who love a good story.
Story based games as I stated before, existed since the days of the Atari, even though the graphics lacked the mere imagination of playing games like Indiana Jones or Dungeons and Dragons really made these games classics that still are played and talked about in the Retro Gaming circle. X-Box needs to focus on getting exclusive third party games that are challenging and fun, with the cancelling of ScaleBound hurt X-box, even though this is far from a nail in the coffin for them. Scalebound was supposed to be an Action Adventure game where the protagonist travels the world of Draconis accompanied by his Dragon Thuban, Scalebound was supposed to be a groundbreaking IP for X-Box. X-Box still has properties like Fable that is still a viable open world game, that if done right could rival the likes of Zelda and the Elder Scrolls, only if it is done properly.
If games like Destiney and The Division are the future of gaming than that is a sad existence to live in. Gaming needs to be multifaceted offering a plethora of different options to round out great catalogs of games, So counting out story based games or Open world games could potentially hurt X-box.