‘Starfield’ and ‘Redfall’ delays are bad news, but is Xbox doomed?
Without a doubt, the fact that Bethesda’s two big Xbox and PC exclusives have been delayed to 2023 is bad news for Microsoft and Xbox gamers.
star field was supposed to be released on 11/11/22 – a release date that was apparently set “in ink, not pencil” according to Bethesda chief Todd Howard. Erasable ink, it turns out. red fall—from Arkane, the studio behind Dishonored and Death Loop– was slated for release in September.
Both games were slated to come to Xbox Game Pass on day one, thanks to Microsoft’s $7.5 billion acquisition of Bethesda last year. Now, that won’t happen in 2022. Hopefully both games will release in 2023, but there’s obviously no guarantee that any game will release on the stated release date. Delays are common in this sector.
Game delays are a good thing
Game delays are also generally a good thing. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule—star citizen springs to mind, but more often than not a game gets delayed because it’s just not ready for release yet, and the developers need more time to polish and fix issues. This can lead to a lot of problems, unfortunately, but it can save a lot of bad press and angry consumers.
Infinite Halo was delayed an entire year and frankly, given the post-launch content issues, it probably should have been pushed back even further. Cyberpunk 2077 was one of the most anticipated games of the last decade, but its launch was nothing short of a fiasco, damaging CD Projekt REDit is reputation in a way that seemed impossible after The Witcher 3. As bad as everyone wanted to play Cyberpunk 2077, it seems obvious now that rushing this release was a mistake.
You can cite many other examples, from No Man’s Sky for Battlefield 2042. Rushed and buggy games with a load of features and content far from promised, released to an angry mob upset with broken games and broken promises. Bethesda certainly has a lot of experience in this department.—more recently with the hasty release of Fallout 76.
Many of these titles compensate for this by releasing updates and DLCs that help fix the game over time, but often the damage is done. Delays can help avoid the worst of the backlash.
Still, PlayStation fanatics, ever eager to wage console wars, have clung to these delays as proof that the Xbox is the inferior platform. Xbox is in big trouble, we’re told, because the Xbox release landscape is now so barren compared to Sonyit is 2022.
There is some truth in that, of course. I’ve argued in the past that Sony’s main strength is to focus on premium AAA-quality PlayStation exclusives. Why buy a PlayStation? ‘Cause it’s the only place you can play Uncharted 4 and Demon’s Souls And so on. Xbox, as a console, is much less appealing largely because all of Microsoft’s exclusives are also on PC. So you might as well get a PC, a PlayStation, and a Nintendo Switch.
Xbox changes its approach to console gaming
But I also made a secondary argument that Xbox goes completely beyond console wars – that Xbox as a console that we physically place in our homes is something that is slowly turning into a Platform built on Xbox Game Pass and Cloud Gaming.
In other words, Microsoft’s strategy is based much less on exclusive video games for the Xbox platform and much more on the accessibility of its games via Game Pass and the cloud. You can play Xbox games on your PC, tablet, phone (even a smart fridge!) Microsoft also has All Access which helps gamers fund a new console plus Game Pass making it more affordable.
They are two different strategies and, in my opinion, both have their merits. I don’t think Sony necessarily has to adopt Microsoft’s strategy. Sony thinks offering its premium AAA exclusives for free from day one with the new PlayStation Plus/Now hybrid service would be bad for business, and I think the company is probably right in that assessment.
Sony, in other words, relies on an older business model that emphasizes a physical console and premium exclusive content; Microsoft is abandoning this strategy and adopting a new, more accessible and broader approach that could theoretically lead to the end of this console as we fully know it. Both of these strategies could work.
Funnily enough, a lot of the criticism I’ve received on social media hubs regarding the postponement of these two exclusive Xbox titles to 2023 despite all of my argument being that exclusive content isn’t the backbone of the Microsoft’s Xbox business model. That’s part of it, of course, but not to the extent that Sony or Nintendo rely on exclusive content. I never even mentioned either of these games in my original articles on this subject, but somehow the fact that they were delayed totally invalidates everything I said. (Naturally, it was because of my headlines that, yeah, I made you click people. And then I made an argument that apparently no one read!)
The refrain on Twitter, of course, is that I’m “shilling” for Microsoft. In fact, I bite the bear. What can I say ? I get a bit of a kick out of stupid, pointless fanboys and console wars. If you are it worked on which console is better, get professional help. I like Xbox, of course, but I also really like PlayStation!
The fact is that Xbox is leaving PlayStation behind, but whether it will be a successful strategy or doomed to fail remains to be seen. Microsoft couldn’t compete with Sony on exclusives, and probably never will even after all of its acquisitions, because all of those games are coming to PC as well.
Quite honestly, I imagine the three major console platforms will continue to thrive and prosper, and we consumers will benefit from the competition. Competition is good! I’m glad we have different approaches to console gaming from these different companies and a variety of games to choose from.
I have a PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4 Pro, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One X, two Nintendo Switches, Nintendo Switch Lite, Wii U, multiple 3DS handhelds, gaming PC , a gaming laptop, a Google Stadia, an Amazon Luna, several different retro consoles, an Android smartphone, an Apple iPad, an Oculus Rift, and an Oculus Rift 2 and I think they’re all fun little toys. I’ve owned many older consoles over the years and back then it never occurred to me that I had to choose between Xbox or PlayStation. I just played what I could afford.
I like to play games. I don’t really care which hardware is “best” at all. I appreciate my Demon’s Souls on PS5; I’m playing Ring of Elden on Xbox; I stick to PC for my first person shooters. If I’m desperate, I’ll play a mobile game once in a while.
Life is too short to constantly voice opinions on articles you haven’t even bothered to read beyond the title, even if that title rubbed you the wrong way.