As we’re about four months away from E3 2017, it’s time for speculation and rumors to start running rampant. Everyone wants to know what Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, and all the other big video game players have in store for the coming year. Every once in a while they’ll peel back the curtain and give us a glimpse at what’s ahead, which happened today on Twitter with Xbox head Phil Spencer saying that Xbox One will feature more diversity in its games and more first party titles in 2017.
Responding to a fan who asked if the Xbox One would have any good exclusives for the coming year, Spencer responded “I feel very good about this year. Should have more 1P [first party] games than last year, great diversity + launching new IP. Good year.” Of course, fans immediately jumped on the announcement of a new IP, debating what it could be. Many pointed out that it was Rare’s upcoming pirate game, Sea of Thieves, which Spencer later confirmed.
The console business is built around exclusives, with each console maker wanting to draw in the largest crowd possible using exclusive games. A big part of this is the first party development process which pretty much guarantees that the final game will be an exclusive. Of course, Microsoft has been sort of changing course here, offering their games on Windows 10 PC via the Xbox Play Anywhere program.
It’s likely that this will continue with the slate of 2017 first party games, but it seems like Microsoft isn’t very concerned with the loss of firm exclusives, if it means expanding the PC gaming market. They’ve definitely shifted this philosophy as of late, and it has so far been working out for them with big sales on Xbox Play Anywhere games.
The promise of more diversity is also great to see, as the console market can sometimes get flooded with similar experiences. Shooters, action games, and the like can all be a lot of fun, but they do get old if that’s all you’re able to play. The loss of Scalebound definitely hurts here, but it seems like Spencer is confident that they have enough diversity and first party titles to cover it.