I count myself as a big fan of Phil Spencer, head of Xbox and a guy who’s proven to love the entire gaming industry and not just be an Xbox mouthpiece, but this has BS written all over it. When asked why Xbox is behind PlayStation when it comes to exclusive, narrative driven games, here’s his response:
The audience for those big story-driven games… I won’t say it isn’t as large, but they’re not as consistent. You’ll have things like Zelda or Horizon Zero Dawn that’ll come out, and they’ll do really well, but they don’t have the same impact that they used to have, because the big service-based games are capturing such a large amount of the audience. Sony’s first-party studios do a lot of these games, and they’re good at them, but outside of that, it’s difficult – they’re become more rare; it’s a difficult business decision for those teams, you’re fighting into more headwind.
Make no mistake, multiplayer games like Destiny, Call of Duty, and Battlefield absolutely sell in droves but those mega games are already being made by 3rd party studios and coming to all viable platforms. What that leaves are the more intimate, narrative-driven games that uniquely leverage what a console has to offer, which in turn differentiate one console from another. Yes, fans will buy the next Halo game in droves but that’s a market that’s already well satisfied with quality shooters and doesn’t necessarily need Microsoft to participate in. Instead of competing directly with those types of games, Sony has smartly built their first party studios to tell these amazing tales with titles like
- The Last of Us
- Horizon: Zero Dawn
- The Last Guardian
- God of War
and this sets PlayStation consoles apart from the pack, namely Xbox. Gamers can right now show up to either console and play their FPS of choice or dive into grand games like Grand Theft Auto or FIFA but it’s only on PlayStation they’ll be able to get these intimate stories and experiences. From that statement, it’s clear that Microsoft has been unable to piece together the culture and studio to build such titles and so they spin it as needed by downplaying the importance of them.
At last count, PS4 just neared 60 million units sold while it’s believed Xbox is hovering around or under 30 million as MS stopped giving out sales numbers due to how bad it’s been performing.