Will Halo 5 Save The Xbox One?
I recently watched an episode of Inside Gaming Daily on the Machinima Youtube channel. The video focused on the Master Chief Collection, sales figures for each of the Halo titles, and Halo 5. But the big question is: will Halo 5 save the Xbox One?
Firstly, the Xbox-One doesn’t necessarily need saving, but it does need to pick a focus. In retrospect, I feel silly being a part of the crowd that screamed and argued against the DRM features they were going to implement. There are a bunch of reasons as to why those particular policies would never work, but I’ll save those for another time. I say all this to point out that Microsoft spent the better part of the year backtracking on pretty much everything they initially announced (price cut, no kinect, no DRM, etc.). Now, the console must stand on its own and rely on gaming to bring it through.
This brings me to the original point of all this: Halo. I am a Halo fan. Despite the lame RTS attempt, or the weird spin-off, or the weird direction of the plot in the latest instalment, I still enjoy Halo. I have yet to purchase an Xbox One because Halo isn’t available for it yet. However, that purchase will also rely on what other games are available at the time.
Yes, the Master Chief Collection will probably end up in my collection at some point. Yes, Halo 5 will probably end up in my collection, as well. But it doesn’t change the fact that Microsoft still has a lot of work to do. When the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 went head-to-head in the 7th generation, I believe that the Xbox came out on top because it had a bigger line-up of titles sooner than its rival did. Also, Xbox had Halo, which was awesome. But as time went on, I realized that one game franchise can’t carry a video game console. This goes especially for graphics, too.
Put simply, video game consoles need games. And not only that, but video game consoles need exclusive games, or there really isn’t much point in buying one console over another. During the 7th generation, we all saw a massive shift in dominance in terms of exclusivity. And I’m not talking about exclusive DLC content for certain games! Nintendo does this quite well, and they’ve been doing exclusivity well for years. Let me see if I can name exclusive franchises for the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3 off the top of my head:
Gears of War
Metal Gear Solid
The Last of Us
White Knight Chronicles
God of War
And before anyone tries to freeze me in my tracks by shouting ‘Mass Effect’, allow me to break the ice. Mass Effect stopped being an exclusive when Electronic Arts purchased the developer, Bioware. When they ported Mass Effect 1 and 2 over to the Playstation 3, it was inevitable that Mass Effect 3 would be a multi platform release. It would have been the perfect Xbox exclusive, in my opinion. Personally, I think Microsoft made a mistake by not scooping up the franchise before Electronic Arts. That particular franchise might have done better in Microsoft’s cereal bowl, but we can’t keep crying over spilled milk.
The sheer difference in my list is what makes me think that the Xbox One needs more exclusive titles. Remastering some Halo games won’t sell the consoles necessary for the Xbox One to re-establish the position the Xbox 360 gave them. Halo 5 won’t produce the numbers necessary to convince customers that it’s a good console and worth the still hefty price tag. The problem is that a lot of the game being released as of late are multi platform releases. This means that a lot of the games I’m looking forward to are going to be released for PC. And if I build a good rig, I can have my pick of some of the best games out there.
With that in mind, and with a lot of the big games being released for the PC, why would anyone buy either gaming console? All the console manufacturers need to constantly ask themselves that question. If they’re smart, this is pasted on the ceiling over the executives beds and on the mirrors in their bathrooms. Keep in mind that a good PC rig ranges from $400-600, and it seems like I could have more options in terms of games. The PC versions of games cost at least $10 less than their console counter parts. And with Steam and Good Old Games discounting big titles every few months, it makes it more difficult for me to decide which console to buy.
In my opinion, it’s not about whether or not Halo 5 will save the Xbox One. This is about console exclusives, and the Xbox One needs a bunch of exclusive titles for its respective library. It’s the only way to validate its existence. Again, Nintendo doesn’t have this problem since they mainly deal in exclusives anyway. And as listed above, Sony has a bunch of exclusives to lean on, and I believe that there’s more to come.
When Microsoft begins dishing out more exclusive games to their console, Halo won’t be the crutch that it was. Right now, it seems like almost everything is riding on the success or failure of one game. Now that Microsoft is done backtracking, it’s time to move forward and give us some games!