Microsoft’s first-party lineup of Xbox One games hasn’t been very strong lately. In 2017, Forza Motorsport 7 and Halo Wars 2 are among the only AAA titles to come from Microsoft, and the gap between Xbox console exclusives and those on PlayStation 4 has only been growing. But Microsoft hasn’t abandoned first-party development. In fact, the company is planning to ramp it up in the future.
Speaking to Bloomberg, Microsoft’s head of Xbox Phil Spencer revealed that the company will be looking at starting new studios as well as acquiring additional ones as it increases investment in video game development.
“We need to grow, and I look forward to doing that,” he added. “Our ability to go create content has to be one of our strengths. We haven’t always invested at the same level.”
Curiously, in an interview with GameSpot, Microsoft Studios Publishing General Manager Shannon Loftis said that the company was in a good place with exclusives, though she admitted some players weren’t happy with the current offerings.
At the beginning of the console generation, development in Xbox console exclusives was fairly strong. Games like Titanfall and Sunset Overdrive offered experiences unavailable on PlayStation or Nintendo systems, and big-name games such as Halo 5: Guardians and Forza Horizon 3 are comparable in quality to Sony’s first-party lineup. But Microsoft has also run into trouble recently, with the cancellation of the much-anticipated action-role-playing game Scalebound, which was scheduled to be a heavy hitter this holiday season. Another game, Crackdown 3, suffered a delay into 2018 and has underwhelmed critics during preview events.
Meanwhile, this year PlayStation console exclusives include Nier: Automata, Persona 5, Horizon Zero Dawn, Nex Machina, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, and Gran Turismo Sport.
Matching that level of quality will be key for the success of Xbox in the future, particularly with the launch of the new Xbox One X system. The upgraded console is the most powerful gaming console ever produced, capable of running many games in native 4K resolution at 60 frames per second, but it will need a consistent library of exclusive games to back it up. That extra power likely won’t sway the average player and is intended primarily for those looking to get PC-level visuals out of their games without breaking the bank. The difference between the Xbox One X and older Xbox One systems is quite impressive, even when running at less than 4K resolution.
The Xbox One X is available on November 7 for $500.