The last few years have been a bad time to be an Xbox fan.
There has been a consistent stream of award-winning exclusive after exclusive available for PlayStation 4 players, while Xbox Ones have been collecting dust since the release of Gears 5.
The one area that Xbox has excelled is in its game subscription service. The Xbox Game Pass is now a reliable source of income for the company, attracting over 10 million active subscribers compared to PS Now's 2.2 million.
With the announcement that Project xCloud, Xbox's cloud streaming service, is coming to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate FOR FREE, Xbox is consolidating itself around game streaming, hoping to become the 'Netflix of gaming'. Will it work? Maybe.
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Why Xbox cannot rely on new exclusives to sell the Series X
The 'console war' is quite like an election. You will have your devoted loyalists (the Xbox fans and PlayStation fans) who will buy/vote for you no matter what, and then you have the undecided- the median voter.
So how do the undecided make their choice on which console to buy/party to vote for? They look at past policy. Xbox's past policy, to put it bluntly, is the gaming equivalent of the Prohibition.
The Xbox One had few critically or commercially successful exclusives and as a result, was overshadowed by its competitor- the PlayStation 4.
No matter what Xbox shows off at the Xbox Games Showcase, there is a lack of trust between serious gamers and the company. Especially after they released Crackdown 3.
The company cannot rely on their cinematic trailers and a promise that they've changed to convince gamers to jump back over to their console. They need a new tactic- Project xCloud.
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Project xCloud- Xbox's saving grace
No matter the exclusives announced at the Xbox Games Showcase, it is likely that the PlayStation 5 will sell more than the Series X at launch.
If Xbox wants to sustain itself without being at the mercy of Microsoft's growing redundancies, Project xCloud's addition to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate may be the solution. At least until it can prove it has a great lineup of games not available on the PlayStation 5,
Project xCloud is Xbox's latest innovation, allowing subscribers to stream games directly to their mobile devices. While Stadia also utilises this technology, the lack of enticing games has crippled the platform.
Xbox has avoided the mistakes of Google, offering players the chance to play the likes of Gears 5, Destiny 2, Borderlands 2, SUPERHOT and Tekken 7 on the go.
With the promise that Halo Infiniteand future first-party Xbox games will also be available from the service, the company are sure to attract those wary of spending £400+ on a console at launch. After all, £10.99 for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate will be a bargain when xCloud launches.
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Will people actually sign up for xCloud?
Judging from the success of Xbox Game Pass, which as I mentioned earlier, already has over 10 million subscribers, gamers are not averse to joining subscription services.
Game Pass does not only attract the console players but also PC players wanting to play the latest Xbox games, now available through Windows 10. While the PC gaming sphere is huge, the revenue potential from opening-up to the mobile gaming market is unmatched.
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