Summer Game Fest and its many events dominated the news over the past few weeks, but few companies stood out from the crowd as much as Xbox. From the major announcements to the news cycle that can’t get enough of everything Microsoft, this was their time to shine, and shine they did. Boasting one of the more exciting showcases of the year and lifting the curtain on some amazing-looking titles, Xbox is looking stronger than ever.
Microsoft is a company you should never count out, even when they stumble along the way. Despite being a massive corporation with its hands in countless different pies, the people behind these projects and initiatives make the company a force to be reckoned with.
This is perhaps most true when looking at Xbox. This brand has stood firm as one of the most recognizable gaming brands since it hit the scene in the early 2000s. Now with a core group of people devoted to gaming and the drive to shake things up, it is hard to deny there is a lot to be excited about when you talk Xbox.
“The console is critical to the success of what we’re doing…”
Despite this powerful position and the people behind it, the core Xbox team came into the week of Summer Game Fest humble but excited. From the showcase to the “What’s Next for Gaming?” panel held afterwards, Phil Spencer sent a clear message that even if they made mistakes in the past, Xbox is not going anywhere. Beyond touching on the pressing issues of the Activision Blizzard merger and their dedication to seeing that go through, he also dove into how vital the console is to the future of Xbox.
“We know that for players, especially Xbox players, where we come from is people sitting in front of their television with a console plugged into their television.” Detailed CEO of Microsoft Gaming, Phil Spencer. “It’s what developers are targeting. It’s what so many of us play.”
Going on to say, “The console is critical to the success of what we’re doing today and the future of Xbox. It’s not the only thing we’re going to focus on. We’re going to focus on allowing player choice. But we know that console is the core of how people think—box is in the name of our product, Xbox. The console is critical to what we are building.”
Yielding the floor to the next set of questions, he was resolute in the dedication Microsoft has for the brand and what that brand means. Say what you will about how Xbox has managed itself over the past year, but no one can say the company has not pushed gaming in some exciting new directions. Xbox Game Pass is still one of the best values in gaming, and the sheer metric tonnage of games Microsoft is bringing to the service is staggering.
It is no surprise that Xbox is pushing for game streaming on its own platform but also expanding onto competing services. For everyone that likes choice, this is a great thing, and if you are already a part of GeForce Now, it means more games for you to enjoy. First detailed by Sarah Bond, and later expanded on in Xbox Wire, if you are a Game Pass member, some of your games are now playable via NVIDIA’s service.
“Today we shared that Game Pass members will soon be able to stream select PC games from the library through Nvidia GeForce Now,” Xbox Wire Editor-in-Chief Joe Skrebels writes. “This will enable the PC Game Pass catalogue to be played on any device that GeForce Now streams to, like low-spec PCs, Macs, Chromebooks, mobile devices, TVs, and more, and we’ll be rolling this out in the months ahead.”
First-party studios are not lying down on the job, and even as the executives detail the many things they have planned, the developers have been working hard to make these many promises a reality. The showcase was an example of this, bringing some of the most exciting announcements of the week.
From a new Fable, details on Forza Motorsport and Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II, to the look at new games like South of Midnight, this was a showcase from a company that wants to set the record straight and show gamers what they have to offer.
Nothing was as expansive as the Starfield deep dive following the showcase. Bethesda is known for its immersive and complex games; it seems this game is even more so than anything we have seen before. Todd Howard took this time to give anyone worried a sense of just how impressive Starfield actually is. From the incredible depth to the vast level of worlds to explore, this game is made for people who want to be lost in a virtual world.
It makes sense that Xbox Studios boss Matt Booty would take the “What’s Next For Gaming?” panel to set the record straight and demonstrate they know they have made mistakes but have turned a corner. “We had some gaps last year, but I think we’ve turned the corner going into 2023.”
Booty went on to detail that he is “feeling very good about launching Hi-Fi Rush; we have Minecraft Legends out there that’s doing well. We’ve had Age of Empires continuing to come to console. As we saw today, we are very excited for this fall with Forza Motorsport and Starfield.”
“This is all part of our goal to get to at least four games a year…”
Concluding with the statement, “This is all part of our goal to get to at least four games a year,” we see just how committed Xbox and the people who run it are to the future of the brand and what that means for gamers. It may sound obvious, but it is the games that make a console worth owning, and with the sheer level of studios and IPs Microsoft has at its disposal, it could be a very good time to own an Xbox Series X|S—especially since they also announced the Xbox Series S 1TB.
There’s a lot to like about what everyone at Xbox has brought to the table, and if the showcase is anything to go by, there’s even more to come. Gaming is bigger than ever, and Microsoft is one aspect of a huge industry working to make interactive media something special. We can all be skeptical about announcements and games, but one thing is for sure, the future looks bright for Xbox, and that is thanks to the people behind it making their dreams a reality.