Opinion: Xbox’s Exclusive Game Drought Is Finally Almost Over

I’ve waited a long time to say this with confidence: Microsoft is finally – finally – set up for sustained first-party success. Xbox Studios’ on-paper portfolio was capped off by The Game Awards’ riveting reveal of Perfect Dark, which will revive a beloved N64-era franchise that has been dormant for 15 years. It’s been entrusted to The Initiative, Microsoft’s lone new homegrown studio located in the development hotbed of Santa Monica that’s staffed by talent with impressive resumes. Perfect Dark’s director, for instance, is Drew Murray, who also helmed the sublime Sunset Overdrive.But let’s back up a bit first. The story of the Xbox One’s disastrous launch has been well-told at this point, though I’d argue that Microsoft’s failures in the first-party/exclusive games department over the past generation have been just as damaging to the brand, if not more so. Funny enough, Xbox One had a pretty solid launch window’s worth of exclusives, including Forza Motorsport 5, Dead Rising 3, Ryse: Son of Rome, and Titanfall. But since starting reasonably strong on the software side, the well has gone and stayed dry, year after year. And while there have been some gems, they’ve been overshadowed by studio closures, franchise failures, and high-profile cancellations and even higher-profile delays.

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