Xbox, as a platform, has been doing very well in recent years. Last year especially was great for Xbox. As they had a spectacular E3 showcase with games galore, from both third party and their first-party titles alike. But even with great game launches, such as Psychonauts 2 and Forza Horizon 5 that year. Something was missing, and that can be felt more so this year.
Nintendo has Directs, and PlayStation has State of Plays to regularly keep their fans in the know about upcoming titles. Even if those titles would be released sometime later, or in just a few short weeks. Xbox sadly only has one big showcase like the aforementioned E3 show. Where they show off titles coming soon, later, and even further beyond. Like The Outer Worlds 2 or Fable.
This strategy isn’t inherently bad, but something needs to be done about their regular game news cycle. Something, that I believe can be done alongside their normal big game showcase in the summer.
What Show can Xbox do?
The answer is quite simple, not a Direct, not a State of Play, but something more involved with their Game Pass service. While Xbox executives have gone on record saying they don’t focus solely on Game Pass, they really should. Each month for game pass drops anywhere from ten to twenty games depending on the month. While they do regular posts on the Xbox Wire as well as Twitter posts from their stellar social media team. The word of games coming to Game Pass relies mostly on word-of-mouth.
But I believe, without breaking the yearly massive showcase cycle that they do, they can put on regular shows for games coming to Game Pass itself. Whether it be monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly, having a show dedicated to games coming to Game Pass can be highly beneficial. As you can have trailers, full or edited down for each game coming up as well as having certain developers offer some insight about the game the viewer is seeing.
For example, I saw the recent drops for Game Pass when they were available recently and saw a game called “Unsouled” a pixel-art top-down hack-and-slash game. If I went to the Xbox Wire article showing this game off, all I could read was:
Test your reflexes to the limit and land uber-satisfying combos in Unsouled, a punishingly difficult (yet fair) Action RPG. During the journey, you’ll have to master the ability to execute various skill combos and counterattacks for maximum damage if you hope to survive.
The “action RPG” label is very broad and this game didn’t even have a screenshot associated with it. I had to search and find out what kind of game this would be from a purely aesthetic standpoint. Something I’m sure many other subscribers had to do as well.
“Discover Your Next Favorite Game!”
Is Xbox’s motto for Game Pass. A phrase that does ring true for subscribers, as they find and play more and more games they would never actually try, me included. But relying too much on the subscriber to find games themselves instead of proudly presenting games to them, is a missed opportunity.
If you give each and every game coming to the service a spotlight, I’m sure some games would not be overlooked by most subscribers. There are currently twenty-five million subscribers and I’m sure with just more of a push. Gamers who scour Xbox’s youtube channel could tune in, see all of the stuff they’re missing, and want to get in on it.
I’m not going to pretend I understand how daunting of a task this would be. But if the goal for a subscription service is to get as many people as possible to subscribe, spotlighting the highest quality games, and leaving out others seems detrimental to that. Diversity gets you subscribers, and you are not presenting that diversity well.
I, like many others, really love Game Pass. It’s a wonderful service filled to the brim with great and not-so-great games across tons of genres. But the lack of presentation for its games and news for these upcoming games is disconcerting to me. I know Xbox wants to stick to tradition, but PlayStation had two great State of Play’s and Nintendo had an excellent Direct as well a few months ago. The player base for both of those platforms knows what’s coming.
But players on the Xbox platform, still sadly have to wait and do the heavy lifting themselves. Something that should be rectified, sooner rather than later.