I’ve never been one to sugar-coat something. Xbox One had a terrible run to begin with and Microsoft certainly didn’t help with their daft attitude and confusing PR stunts. I couldn’t count on two hands how many times the Xbox brand screwed up this gen; be it the awkward launch of the console itself, the DRM crap, the death of the “mandatory” Kinect, the cancellation of games, the closing of studios and just about everything in between. Though, just when hope was at an all time low, Microsoft came back fighting and ready to roll.
Phil Spencer is a man that I’ll always believe is the right chap for the job of head of Xbox. Time and time again he’s shown his willingness to address feedback, his motivation for change and his clear intention to appeal to as many gamers as possible. There’s no denying that Spencer came into the roll at a very bleak time, but many (myself included) would argue that he saved what little grace the Xbox One had going for it. Sure, he’s made some very tough calls during his time as captain of the proverbial ship, but he’s also made some great strides.
Spencer’s clearly in his position for the long run, and during his time at the head of the table, we’ve witnessed some bold moves. This all started with Backward Compatibility, which is arguably one the Xbox One’s most appealing features. Then, this branched out to the likes of Xbox Game Pass, a Netflix-esque service that allows subscribers access to a wide range of rotating titles; chief among this subscription being that all first party Microsoft Studios games will be added to Xbox Game Pass the day they launch. Not too shabby, am I right?
Further bolstering Xbox One’s accessibility is the recently announced Adaptive Controller, which is a vastly customizable pad that allows disabled gamers the chance to play games with as much comfort as anybody else. Then there’s the four brand new studio acquisitions that Microsoft announced during E3 2018, as well as the forming of a brand new studio that’s already pulled in a wide range of talent from varying AAA outlets. It doesn’t end there, though, as Spencer made a clear statement that work on next gen platforms is already underway.
It’s clear that Spencer, and in effect, Microsoft, have come out swinging this gen – despite the rather shitty honeymoon period. Many of these changes wont come to pass until next gen, such as the titles that these newly acquired and formed studios will output. Whatever the case, Xbox Two or whatever the hell it will be called, is already positioned to be a much superior product to the Xbox One, and certainly something that competitor platforms should take a lot more seriously. Did I forget to mention Xbox All Access?
Microsoft recently announced Xbox All Access, another subscription-like service but on a much deeper scale. Think about how a mobile contract works. You buy into a contract and pay monthly fees until you own that snazzy new mobile. Well, Microsoft are donning the same thing with Xbox All Access. If you buy in, you’ll get a console, gold membership and game pass for one affordable monthly fee – zero APR. Once you hit the end of your contract, you own the console. That’s pretty damn impressive and again, accessible for all, is it not?
Say what you will about Microsoft and the Xbox One. Yes, it started out poorly and yes, for a few years following, it was hardly appealing. Since then, though, Microsoft has been going from strength to strength and I fully expect to see all of these features and services straight out of the box at the dawn of the new gen – putting Microsoft in a very competitive and appealing position. What do you think? Have you enjoyed the benefits of being an Xbox owner? Do you look forward to the new gen? Hit the comment section below to get in on the action.