If there’s one thing that will help to shift a console, it’s exclusives. It doesn’t matter whether that’s the timed exclusivity of Call of Duty or Crash Bandicoot, or the full-on exclusivity of God of War or Mario, exclusivity helps to move the hardware. Microsoft continues to trail behind in this department. Offering sub-par to above-average titles such as Quantum Break, Sea of Thieves and Super Lucky’s Tale, in the hopes that they will attract newcomers to the Xbox platform, a platform that’s been massively confusing this gen, so far.
Crackdelay 3 is next up to persuade you to invest, but for now, I’ll leave my blunt thoughts and opinions regarding that hype-dead experience out of this article. I’m not going to sugar coat this for Microsoft, because frankly, that’s their job, not mine. I’m not here simply to bash Microsoft either. Although we’re an Xbox outlet, I feel it’s equally as important to point out their shortcomings, as it is to praise them when they get their act together and produce something meaningful, such as their new Xbox Adaptive Controller.
It’s because we’re an Xbox outlet that I feel a responsibility not to blow smoke up their ass and pat them on the back when they don’t always deserve it. We’re honest and we’ll always be honest. When Nintendo fans were enjoying Super Mario Odyssey and Sony fans were enjoying Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, yet, Xbox fans had to put up with Super Lucky’s Tale, I made no excuse for them. I’ve made no excuse for many of their confusing signals this gen either; closing of studios, cancellation of games, Kinect and so on and so forth.
I could go on and on and point out several other questionable choices. Though, the one constant that I (and many others) simply cannot overlook, is the lack of exclusives, one of the most important aspects of any given platform. Don’t get me wrong, Microsoft has made some stellar movements this gen; Xbox One X, backward compatibility, game pass and more, but strength must be focused on their exclusive lineup if they want to appeal to the curious gamer. State of Decay 2, their latest exclusive, is far from what I would call a system seller.
I describe State of Decay 2 as a game pass seller more than anything else. It costs less than that of a AAA game and comes less polished as a result, but still goes on to be an experience that’s worth the investment of the cost and/or subscription fee that it’s tied to. I personally don’t see many people racing out to the stores to buy an Xbox One, just to play that game. Sure, it’s interesting, it comes with a heap of well developed systems and more importantly, it plays well, but it’s hardly going to help shift the hardware now, is it?
However, as for those that own a game pass subscription, Microsoft’s Netflix-esque library of games, it’s certainly more appealing. Many that have yet to invest in game pass can simply utilize the first free month to get in on some undead action, while those that have already used it, need only pay for one month (at least) to see what all of the fuss is about. On that front, it’s a much more realistic outlook for State of Decay 2 to enjoy. The kicker here is that this mainly only targets those that already own an Xbox One.
Furthermore, the game will already have a sizable player count thanks to those that already own a game pass subscription, assuming the majority will give it a spin, of course. If that’s not you, I fully recommend buying into the service or activating your free month. State of Decay 2 may not be GOTY material, not by a long shot, but it’s unquestionably worth the small investment that’s needed to access it. There’s heaps of longevity, plenty of diverse content and most of all, it’s a very tense edge-of-your-seat game.
I cant, however, recommend buying a console for State of Decay 2. Maybe I could argue that game pass is worth buying a console for, but most definitely not State of Decay 2 alone. Microsoft needs to throw out some truly intriguing first party titles to captivate the crowd, something that any Xbox fan can really brag about, à la PlayStation’s God of War or Nintendo’s Mario. Phil Spencer is clearly evolving the Xbox platform and I’ll strongly praise him for his direction and commitment to improve what needs improvement.
Though, when all is said and done, we’re years into the current gen and we still don’t have enough fresh and exciting first party titles to cheer about. Spencer states that Xbox at E3 2018 will be like nothing they’ve ever done before and that we can expect some shock announcements, but now more than ever, Xbox fans need something outside of “best looking third party games” to boast about. Game pass sellers such as State of Decay 2 and Sea of Thieves just wont cut it in the long run, we need bigger and better, yesterday.
Again, I don’t want to come down too hard on Microsoft or State of Decay 2. The latter is a game that I don’t see myself putting down anytime soon. I’ve sunk several hours into it so far and I’ve barely scratched the surface. I have complete faith in Microsoft that they’ll get there eventually and show off a collection of exclusive games (Fable 4 is rumored) to hit home, hard and fast, but if that doesn’t happen at E3 2018, I’ll be very concerned about the timing, given their recent history of delays and cancellations.
Still, when all is said and done, Microsoft has very deep pockets. We just need to see them reaching in there and distributing it wisely. There’s a considerable amount of weight on Microsoft and the Xbox division right now. They hear the concerns of the fans loud and clear and they fully acknowledge that they need to strengthen their weaknesses. Let’s see what this year brings us. Do you agree that State of Decay 2 is more of a game pass seller and less of a system seller, or do you disagree? Hit the comment section below.