Microsoft Commits Seppuku

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2016 has not been a great year for Microsoft and the Xbox One. With so many games getting pushed back, and many games being developed and then never spoken of for years, it is becoming quite problematic for Xbox gamers who wish to have a good line up of amazing games to play throughout the year. Many of Xbox One’s most anticipated games for 2016 have been pushed back to 2017, and some outright canceled. Recently with the cancelation of scalebound and the cancelation of Fable Legends, it seeming like any major game people might want to play is getting axed or delayed with potential to be canceled. As if just canceling Fable Legends wasn’t enough they even went so far as to completely shut down Lionhead Studios. Lets just take a look at 2016 alone.

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  • 2012 Whore of The Orient is announced targetting a 2015 release. 2016 game is still not released and is later confirmed canceled.
  • 2012 Microsoft buys the Press Play company. Press Play begins development of a multiplayer survival game similar to The Hunger Games in 2015 called “Knoxville” with a projected release date in 2016. Press Play is shut down in March 2016.
  • Fable Legends is canceled and Lionhead Studios is shut down.
  • Scalebound idea developed in 2006 but put on backburner. Game begins development in 2013. Game development is canceled in December 2016 but not announced till January 2017. (Not surprised a company with less than 200 employees would have problems developing 4 games at once)
  • Below by Capybara Games is announced at E3 2013 with a projected 2015 release. Below is delayed to 2016, and then delayed again with a release date still yet TBA.
  • Rive is planned for a septermber 2016 release on xbox one, but is silently delayed to sometime in 2017. No news and xbox is excluded from the games trailers.
  • Verdun is planned for release August 30, 2016 for Xbox One and PS4 but game is delayed with a release date still TBD, possibily in 2017 if it doesn’t get axed as well.
  • Cuphead begins development in 2010, and is continuously getting delayed. If it makes its new 2017 release date it would have taken them 7 years to develop the game. Considering the games art was estimated to only be 40% complete in July 2014, I do not see a 2017 release being a possibility. Apparently it takes them an entire year to develop 10% of the game which would put a realistic release date at 2020. Props to them if they some how manage to make a 2017 release.
  • Crackdown misses out on its 2016 release and gets pushed back to 2017. Apparently this game is also receiving a lot of issues but supposedly there is no risk of cancelation. At least not at this current moment.
  • Dead Island 2 slated for a 2015 release. Game gets delayed with an expected 2016 release. Game is delayed with no release date.
  • 2015 Microsoft releases windows 10 with a new closed platform within a platform model to hold a monopoly on the entire pc ecosystem. UWP provides game developers with the tools they require to develop games that can run across multiple devices (as well as the tools for any app to run on windows 10). Those games can only be downloaded through microsoft, at which point Microsoft gets a 30% cut of all the profits. This is a huge move by microsoft to monopolize on anything game related, without having to actually develop games directly themselves. It disadvantages competing stores like the ever so popular Steam, Origin, or any game developer who provides direct download of games through browsers since microsoft already bundles pre built web browsers, and other applications would have to give up something to even allow you to download a game through your own web browser.

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Over the years Microsoft’s overall score for all the games they release through out each year has steadily declined. While they were once ahead of Sony, they are now falling very far behind. With Sony’s huge game announcements that we can already predict are going to sell millions of copies (The Last of Us 2 & Final Fantasy 7 Remake for example) compared to Microsoft’s announcements of delays and lack of news on many of their supposed upcomming 2017 releases, it is not looking good for the Xbox One. If we look at Microsoft Studios (video game production wing of Microsoft) We see that many of the games they released in 2016 had mediocre ratings with only 6 games receiving a score over 7. Three of them all being Forza games and the other major one being Rocket Riot.

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If there is one thing Sony has learned, you need to put your money where your mouth is, even if that means you have to spend as much as 10 years to develop something. You stick to it, and you keep funding it, theres no other option. Sony has learned that spending several years developing a single game is far more rewarding. That is how we got the amazing “The Last of Us” and the insanely beautiful “Final Fantasy 15”.

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Scalebounds cancelation makes absolutely no sense. Now millions upon millions of dollars has gone to waste for nothing. Microsoft wont sell it to any one else after spending so much money on it, and wont fund it currently any more. Supposedly the game couldn’t even run well but looked perfectly fine in the gameplay footage. If the engine was the problem, buy a new engine. If the hardware of the Xbox One was an issue, port it to PC. They are using UWP after all…. heck they could have even made it an Exclusive for their new console if its as great as they tout it to be.

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But deep down what Microsoft really needs to do is be more transparent. All this annoying damage control is getting old. If your going to cancel something tell us why, exactly, and detailed, not generic broad information. It is a lot easier to be more understanding in a situation that upsets someone when their anger is met with transparency and honesty.

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What do you guys think? Is Microsoft going to just going to wedge themselves into having a monopoly over gaming software and distribution and stop making console games themselves? Not like they have any amazing exclusives, and most of their games are also on pc. Their not even trying to create new franchises, and instead hoping to be sucessful with a montage of one hit wonders. Let me know in the comment section below.

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