As we get further along in the console launch year, people start to make decisions on which console they’re going to purchase at launch. It’s not always an easy choice to make, and it’s definitely not a cheap one. All three main console makers, Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo, all view (and portray) themselves as consumer friendly.
However, it is Microsoft, that is the most friendly. You can stop typing your comments right now. We all know that Xbox finished a distant, and I mean distant, third place in providing quality exclusives on their box. Both PlayStation and Nintendo had some absolute masterpieces come out that were exclusive to them.
But it is Xbox that has done everything else better than the other two in the lead up to the next generation. Yes, they had multiple missteps in the launch of the Xbox One, with things like DRM and the poor marketing surrounding it. But when Phil Spencer took over, things took a step in the right direction, and they have set themselves up to crush this upcoming generation.
It was Xbox who first allowed EA Access on their console, choosing to let players decide if it was a good value. If you played a lot of EA Games, the subscription was absolutely worth it. EA put many of their old titles in the vault that you could download and play at anytime. Plus you received discounts on any titles purchased from EA which more than made up for the subscription cost. It would take 5 years before Sony would allow the service on their system.
Similarly, Xbox was the first to promote cross-play. This allowed players to play with their friends regardless of the system they were playing on. PlayStation took forever before they started allowing cross-play, and were accused by developers of playing favorites in which games they allowed cross-play on.
Xbox also led the way in Backwards Compatibility, allowing users to play their old titles from both the Xbox 360 and the original Xbox. If gamers don’t actually use the feature all that much, then the feature is extremely consumer friendly. It’s very nice to be able to play a round of Left 4 Dead 2 without having to get out the Xbox 360 to play it. The fact that Xbox also enhanced many backwards compatible titles on the Xbox One X is an added bonus. And of course, if gamers do actually use the feature often, then it makes sense to have it.
Going forward, Xbox has stated that thousands of games will be available to play on the Series X at launch. However, not only will you be able to play your Xbox One games on the Series X, you’ll be able to play Series X titles on the One, at least for awhile. So even if you don’t want to upgrade to the Series X right away, you’ll be able to play Halo: Infinite and Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 on release on the Xbox One family of consoles.
Even if you don’t upgrade right away, there’s no need to worry, since Xbox unveiled the Smart Delivery feature which gives you the enhanced game if and when you upgrade to the Series X. All of their first party games will use the feature. Similarly CD Projekt Red tweeted about Cyberpunk 2077 using it, and at the Inside Xbox from May 7th, we saw many more third party games taking advantage of the feature.
Of course, not having to buy games to play them is always awesome, and that’s where Xbox Game Pass comes in. The service allows you to play every single first-party Xbox game on release without needing to buy it, with the added bonus of still being able to download it and have it ready before it launches. Plus there are many third party games included both on launch day, or only a few months later.
Being able to try a genre you might not normally is fantastic, and might lead you to discovering something awesome you wouldn’t have played otherwise. Without Game Pass, I wouldn’t have played Slay the Spire which is one of my favorite games from last year.
If you have Game Pass Ultimate, which combines Xbox Live Gold, and Game Pass into one subscription, you also can play many games on PC. Xbox doesn’t actually need you to own one of their consoles to play one of their games. All of their “exclusives” are available to buy on PC, or to play through Game Pass. Many of those titles are Play Anywhere as well, which means you can pick up and move between PC and Xbox with your progress following you.
Furthermore, Xbox gives you reward points for every dollar spent in the store that can be used on gift cards, or sweepstakes entries. Plus there’s always bonus points to be earned for purchasing movies or upcoming releases. And even if you don’t spend money, you can still earn reward points. There are constant weekly quests that allow you to earn easy points by doing such things as checking out a Mixer stream, or launching the rewards app. On top of that, you can also earn a lot of points just by playing games on Xbox Game Pass. So not only do you get to try new games, you also get reward points for doing so.
Finally, Xbox has given consumers multiple ways to join the Xbox family. If you primarily play on PC, you can still get Game Pass for PC to get access to many games, including all first-party Xbox games. They’ve also created a subscription model called Xbox All Access which gives people 2 years of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, as well as either a Xbox One X or Xbox One S depending on the tier you sign up for.
On top of being able to play games on either an Xbox console or PC, with the addition of Project xCloud, you can stream many games on your phone or tablet. While the service is still in beta, being able to play on multiple different devices is a boon.
Now you can argue that none of the above actually matters without good games. As of the time of this piece, Xbox has acquired 15 separate studios to make games for the Series X and Game Pass. We will get a chance to see a lot of their work and what’s coming to next generation on July’s Inside Xbox.
The ability to play on either PC or Xbox gives consumers choices, and you don’t have to re-buy the game either. Plus you don’t actually have to buy the first-party games to be able to play them. And there’s no rush to upgrade to the next console generation since you’ll be able to play the new games on the Xbox One family of consoles for a long time. All of this is the reason that the Xbox is the most consumer friendly console of this generation and the future.
Is the Xbox the most consumer friendly brand in console gaming now? Let us know your thoughts in the comments. For more stories like this, and much more visit Generation Xbox.