Feedback about Xbox’s current state: a collection of feedback from the community and from myself compressed into one thread.

Hug0l1no

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Context: This is one out of multiple sections from a letter I made collecting feedback about the most commented flaws from Xbox in the recent years.


1st-party games​

When talking about first-party games, Microsoft has a certain fame in part of the game industry for not producing quality games, but that statement isn’t entirely true. The company has published, and continues to publish quality games, but a combination of a lack of consistency in quality and lack of relevant IPs has led to many people having the thought expressed previously, to the point that even when Microsoft does put out quality games, it gets often ignored or demoted by big part of gamers.

When it comes to Xbox Game Studios, Microsoft was very clear about defining creative freedom for the studios as the main principle, a strategy that has paid off in certain ways, but that came at a cost of the publisher’s reputation. Creative freedom is important and resulted in beloved games by the community like Psychonauts 2 and Hi-Fi Rush, but if that means studios should be allowed to make anything independent of the quality level of it, it would also be the responsible for releases like Redfall or Crackdown 3 (which aren’t very well remembered by gamers), implying the necessity of a better quality control, something the community itself has been asking for. Like Matt Booty said to Tim Schafer in E3 2019, the mission is just to “make good games”, so making sure that the games are at least polished while still being true to the creative vision is the core to making great games.

Letting the studios completely independent also means there is no guarantee Microsoft could just lose its next games, like what happened in 2020 or 2022, where the biggest games of the cited years got delayed because of a lack of planning between the publisher and the studios. If Microsoft managed to consistently deliver quality games, it would change their position as a game publisher, creating expectation for their next titles. The best example Xbox has of this is Forza Horizon, one of the brand’s biggest titles, which got bigger and bigger with each release by just being consistent, and as a result, is one of the biggest (if not the biggest) names in the racing genre and had Forza Horizon 5 as the biggest release in Game Pass at the time. So, if Microsoft wants to create successful IPs, it will need consistency more than anything.

Talking about IPs, Microsoft seems very determined in creating new IPs instead of depending on its classics and well-knowns like Forza and Halo, and from 2024 and forward, Xbox has been clear about their strategy of making the broadest lineup, not trying to highlight a specific game or undermine smaller games. It sounds like the perfect strategy; it guarantees the Xbox platform and Game Pass has games for basically every genre and every type of player, but it’s still not proven to be the best strategy. Although it makes sense considering Xbox’s strategy and it sounds good for both consumers and Microsoft, since it means Game Pass offers everything for all players from massive RPGs to smaller co-op and indie experiences, pretty much every good first-party lineup from Xbox had at least one big game, whether it was Halo, or more recently with Starfield, the platform always had a game that was pushed more than others, and for a reason: these big and broad games drive the platform forward and for more people. Sure, Microsoft’s lineup strategy for 2024 is solid; everyone that is interested in something from a plane simulator to immersive narrative experiences will find something that only Xbox can offer and will consider signing up to Game Pass, but these games (Avowed, Towerborne, Hellblade 2 and Flight Sim)* all feel more niche, made with target audiences in mind which compared to games like Forza Horizon 5, probably won’t cause the same impact for the platform. With that said, the point is not to just abandon these games or force game studios to make more casual experiences, but just pointing the possible risks of doing this strategy without a big and polished title that can be enjoyed by practically anyone. Matter of fact, that was what happened in 2022, a year with Grounded and Pentiment, two good games in their own ways, but that weren’t enough to mark 2022 as a good year for Xbox’s lineup in the minds of the community, because there was no big release like Forza or Starfield.

*This text was written before the announcement of the Developer_Direct 2024 and of Indiana Jones in 2024, which addressed this issue very well (unless it gets delayed O_O).

But if Microsoft wants a truly remarkable and iconic set of games, it needs uniqueness, and it seems to have understood this assignment. Xbox arguably has one of the most unique catalogues as a publisher in the industry, since it’s one of the few that are still willing to publish smaller and more creatively bold games, and that helps asserting an identity to the platform. Xbox is the only platform that currently offers RPGs or simulators, genres that Nintendo or PlayStation usually wouldn’t risk making because they just aren’t system sellers or known for having huge audiences. While that could be a risky strategy like said in the last paragraph, no one knows when one of these games could turn out to be a bigger success than a lot of other games that are considered more “mainstream”; Baldur’s Gate 3 and even Hi-Fi Rush, which got acclaimed by Xbox gamers and critics, are perfect examples that a game can be successful and burst out of their own bubble by just being fun and polished.

So, in conclusion, the priority is to consistently deliver quality and creative games, making sure they’re in their best state possible when they're in the player’s hands. If Microsoft can do that while balancing their lineup of games with creativity/variety and relevant IPs that have fun/accessible gameplay, it would increase their reputation as a video game maker, a platform and would boost Game Pass as consequence.
 
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Hug0l1no

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The ecosystem​

One of the biggest things Xbox has been known for is the platform experience. In recent years, Xbox usually had the best services for the best price and the most technically advanced hardware, and it’s what kept the community so loyal to the brand, and what attracted most of the new players to the platform, especially with the Xbox Series S. With this generation, Microsoft has shifted the focus of the Xbox brand from the console to the ecosystem, shared between console, PC and cloud (and mobile in the future). The idea of making a platform that is as accessible as possible is something not many companies are trying to do like Microsoft, and having one service that carries over all your games and data on different devices is a dream to most gamers, matter of fact, it’s one of the many factors that keep fans to the platform: the possibility of having hundreds of games accessible anywhere with Game Pass and Play Anywhere. That being said, as something that has been in the making since around 2016, with the launch of Play Anywhere, the “Xbox ecosystem” still has a long way to go.

It’s still not rare to hear “that game is not exclusive to Xbox, I can play it on my PC!”, and of course a lot of people will still see Xbox as a console because it’s hard to transition a brand that has always been associated to consoles only to a multidevice ecosystem, but part of that is also due to the fact that, in essence, Xbox is still a console. Excluding the console part of the Xbox brand, all it would have would be a successful line of controllers, PC Game Pass, a still new cloud gaming service, and a future mobile game store. Even if Microsoft has successful products outside of the console side of things, the most engaged and loyal player base is still on console, and that’s mostly due to that fact that people that want to have the best experience and take the most advantage of Microsoft’s gaming platform must get the console, and in a way, that makes sense, after all, it is THE Xbox, but it doesn’t go exactly according to Microsoft’s own strategy of delivering the best experience possible on every device. It’s hard to make a consistent online network across different platforms, and that’s understandable, but Microsoft committed to it, so it makes sense for players to demand the best experience possible on each device Xbox can be used on, and Microsoft, with the size and the influence they have in the gaming market in 2024, is one of the few companies that can really turn this idea a reality, but it doesn’t seem like the company understands the potential of its own ecosystem.

After 6+ years of existence, the Xbox experience on Windows still feels incomplete. In the last few years, with the release of PC Game Pass, Microsoft has completely shifted the focus of Xbox on PC from an online network/store to Game Pass, killing the old console companion and introducing a new, still incomplete, Xbox app. After the creation of PC Game Pass, it feels like Microsoft just sees PC like another place to spread Game Pass upon and not a platform which they can make a game store and grow an engaged audience, consequently leaving the PC community with just an app that doesn’t have leaderboards, captures, clubs, activity feed or a decent store page, and with various inconsistencies, being only used because anyone that has PC Game Pass or the Xbox console has to do so, but being avoided by most users when possible. And as compensation for the lack of features and quality, instead of trying to do major changes to the Xbox app as a launcher, the company spends most of the investments of Xbox on PC in marketing and in exclusive advantages for PC players like a better price (compared to Game Pass for Console) and free 14-day PC Game Pass code sharing with friends.

Now, with Blizzard, Microsoft has a major influence in the PC market and not only can make but already has one of the biggest PC gaming platforms, and it would be a waste to just abandon this 10+ year app with an already existing community and history behind it. Even though Microsoft’s strategy in PC gaming is not so much competitive, in a market that is dominated by Steam because other launchers are so underwhelming and indifferent, Microsoft has things to offer that others launchers/services don’t, and introducing an improved app that brings together Xbox's services and online network with Blizzard’s popular PC games and community in a bigger and better platform would be good for players, since it would add competition, pushing other platforms to make better experiences and innovate more, and good for Microsoft since it would diversify their gaming income, avoiding the company of being too dependent on Game Pass and possibly making it the only one besides Valve that can create a launcher with an engaged community, something Epic Games and EA have tried to do for years, but haven’t fully accomplished because they barely offer basic gaming features like achievements, game captures, a decent online network or anything unique that keeps player coming back, like rewards/points systems or engaging social features.

If Microsoft commits to making Xbox on PC a good platform for developers, for the first time, publishers could consider using Xbox as a platform in PC too, and possibly the use of Xbox Play Anywhere. If this app managed to be a success among gamers and developers, it could build a path for a future where it would be possible to expect most of the next games released on Xbox to have the ability to be played in console, PC and cloud with shared progress. It’s not simple to convince publishers to use Play Anywhere, especially because they take advantage of different versions to maximize profit, and Microsoft has a principle of not forcing devs to use or obey any features, but they can still incentivize them. The truth is that devs have basically no incentive to use Play Anywhere and if Microsoft doesn’t provide advantages for using the feature, like better revenue cuts, the ecosystem the company is trying to push is not going forward.

But reminder that the point is not to necessarily compete with Steam, and it’s still possible to make a successful launcher while supporting and publishing games on another platform. It’s important to say that because the factor that holds Microsoft back the most of doing a PC gaming platform is Steam, a software so many players are so attached to, with their own library and profiles that are worth hundreds of dollars, making it hard for any sort of competition to appear, but still, in an alternate reality where Xbox stops making consoles, the brand would probably be prioritizing PC (or at least it should), since it’s the most open market, with a huge number for potential gamers, and one that is already literally owned by Microsoft. Even with other launchers, PC is such a big space for gaming that Microsoft doesn’t need to take a piece of Steam’s pie to be successful. Unfortunately, it looks like Microsoft doesn’t prioritize its own ecosystem, since in Xbox’s most recent trailers for first-party games, the “PC”, “PC Game Pass” or “Microsoft Store” logos don’t appear anymore, giving space to the Steam logo (a third-party platform), and Bethesda games that have been marketed as exclusives, like Redfall or Starfield, do not require an Xbox account to be played on Steam, meaning that technically they’re actually not exclusive to Xbox, a very subtle hint that Microsoft does not show interest to grow Xbox as a platform on PC in any way. The Xbox launcher has evolved, but very slowly and higher-ups don’t seem to see the potential it has if it received more investment and attention.

As far as the cloud and mobile go: Cloud gaming is still a very new concept and is also one that, even though is impressive how it’s already being put in practice by Microsoft and how it actually works, hasn’t evolved much since it launched a few years ago, even with all the problems the community has being reporting about the technology, but that is to be expected because there will be disadvantages to playing with the cloud and it is still a new way to play that isn’t yet proven to be sustainable. Now, Microsoft’s new bet is mobile, and fairly so, but it remains to be seen how the company will enter the market, especially without its own mobile OS.

But the ultimate point is that Microsoft might be taking the success of its gaming platform on other markets for granted. Having Game Pass on PC and cloud will help Xbox grow on those markets just like having King will help Xbox grow on the mobile market too, but for a platform that has been so focused on delivering a good experience with the best features, it has seriously underestimated the importance of having a good user experience on creating a loyal player base. Xbox is in a position where it doesn’t depend totally on its consoles to survive as a brand because it has a huge set of services and games, and it uses that as a justification to have a console that “lost the console wars” according to the own company and is constantly losing in sales, but when looking at the other pieces of the ecosystem, they aren’t exactly successful either, or at least not reaching their full potential, which raises a question about what direction is Microsoft moving the ecosystem towards.
 

Hug0l1no

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Management/Branding​

Management and branding are two topics that have been a cause of a lot of discussion in the Xbox community in Twitter or Reddit for example, mostly in a negative way, seen by many as a weak point for Microsoft. Even though these are two distinct elements they are very connected, and this section of the letter tries to explain what the community finds wrong with each of these aspects and why they are connected.

In the past few years, Xbox has done some very questionable mistakes. Some demonstrate some missteps and lack of attention coming from the team, but others directly oppose the pro-consumer strategy Microsoft has been selling for so long. From increasing games prices to $70, increasing console prices in the UK and most recently removing physical discs and increasing the Xbox Series S price in Brazil.

Analyzing these last decisions made in Brazil, they are especially questionable since there doesn't seem to be a real justification for them. First, completely removing physical media from the region seriously weakens the brand in the country, because physical presence is important and increases Xbox’s influence, so it’s basically the simplest and most effective form of marketing a brand can get. In addition to that, Microsoft decided to increase the price of Series S from 2,659 BRL to 3,599 BRL, which is effectively the quickest way to kill the console in this market, since the PS5 Digital Edition can be found for a barely higher price on most retailers, which is a sacrifice most are willing to make. Technically, the Series S still has the best value considering Game Pass and just prices in general, but it doesn’t have branding on its side, since the PS5 is more powerful, has a considerably bigger marketing in the region and has a current first-party catalogue that is more appealing for most gamers (it’s debatable whether that’s Microsoft’s fault or not, but it was already discussed what MS should do about its first-party catalogue on the first section of the letter).

These decisions started a serious trust issue from the Brazilian community with the brand, so much so that they either believed that the Xbox’s higher-ups in Brazil are just out of touch, since it’s run mostly by Latin-American people from other countries, or people outside of XboxBR were trying to sabotage the brand in the region. Yet again, it feels like Microsoft takes its success on certain markets for granted, after all Brazil is the 3rd largest market for Xbox. Of course, there are decisions that are just necessary for the profitability of a business in a certain region, but eventually, these decisions could be the cause for the death of the brand in Brazil, one of the largest regions for the company.

What really strengthened the trust issues was the total lack of communication from the company. The price changes were informed only through specific media outlets with no explanation as to why these changes were happening, only information being that it would be happening in the “next few weeks”. In these next weeks, speculations started, rumors went back and forth, supposed retailers were giving their opinions in whether the price increase would happen or not and the suggested price on the website was changed multiple times until it got to the final 3,599 BRL price, while the brand itself was radio silent. In this whole situation, there was zero communication between the company and the consumers, and this miscommunication is not an exclusivity to Brazil.

A lot of fans have given some negative feedback about Xbox’s communication, sometimes causing more confusion than helping the brand. Proceeding on the example of XboxBR, it’s been apparent that the marketing/social media team doesn’t have a lot of Brazilians involved, hence not only the communication problems, but a lot of the mistakes that the marketing has had on the region, from translation mistakes to very poor communication. [...] The latest miscommunication scandal from the brand was related to Marvel’s Blade announcement. Being a Bethesda game, most of the community supposed that this is a future Xbox exclusive game, but the announcement wasn’t attached to Xbox’s brand in anyway, and to make things more confusing, Xbox posted the trailer on its channel only 3 days later, without explaining anything. Yes, Bethesda is still its own subsidiary inside of Xbox, with its own marketing, but there is no way this problem couldn’t be avoided, which almost makes it seems intentional. In a way, not having the Xbox logo in the trailer might be a good strategy, since this is a game that has caused curiosity in a lot of people, so revealing that this game is exclusive only after intriguing the audience to know more about the game could make a lot of players interested in the Xbox ecosystem or subscribing to Game Pass, but also not having such a big announcement instantly attached to your brand in the big screen in front of millions of people feels like a wasted potential to boost the brand’s relevance.

It seems that Xbox's biggest marketing problem in the current day is penetrating the mainstream audience like it used to. At some point, the brand was extremely influential in the gaming space, with the best IPs and the most aggressive marketing in the industry, but not anymore. Most of it feels thanks to the possible lack of identity the brand started to face in recent years, and to the lack of connection with critics and the media. Most of journalist and content creators that have a console have PlayStation or Nintendo as their platform of preference, which consequently decreases Xbox’s relevance in the gaming media. And it is important to note that these content creators have a much different role compared to the average player: different from consumers, they don’t care about value and services like Game Pass (after all, they receive most of the games and/or consoles), yet they influence consumers and specially the casual audience in a major way, so for Microsoft to win consumers, it’s essential that they win their influencers too.
 

Hug0l1no

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Bonus: Halo​

This section is more of a personal opinion/suggestion directed specifically at Halo and 343i

Halo is one of the most influential franchises in the gaming space. After 20+ years of existence, it’s fascinating that it is still ongoing with Chief’s story that started with the first game, and how it has such a loyal fanbase. After Halo 5: Guardians, 343 Industries decided to take a step back gameplay/narrative wise, going back to styles that resemble Combat Evolved more, while still adapting it very well to a new generation of FPS. Halo Infinite’s gameplay is the perfect evolution, a product of 20+ years of experience, and the open world really helps highlighting that, allowing for much more ways of approaching enemies and just opening the game to a much higher array of possibilities.

That’s all to say that Halo Infinite has a great gameplay and is very much a step in the right direction for the franchise, but it also contains a lot of wasted potential, and although Microsoft is focusing on new IPs with its first-party strategy, there are still ways of growing Halo in a new era of gaming, after all if the team loses its way with Halo, it loses its way with Xbox.

Halo Infinite’s first mistake might as well be the very fact it changed to open world. As much as it allows for a much freer gameplay and exploration, the game shows no apparent reason for that design change. As fun as it is to be able to just go around the map killing grunts and conquering banished basements in your own rhythm, this game doesn’t add something significant that couldn’t be done in the regular linear format from the franchise (besides the freedom with encounters and the combat itself like mentioned earlier). Unlike games that have exploration as a core aspect of their experience, like Ori or Starfield, there is no point in exploring in Halo Infinite besides for the satisfaction of doing so. Besides collectibles, there aren’t rewards for exploring, different activities or interesting things to explore like different biomes, with different atmospheres and enemies in the world. Talking about the world...

Something that really adds to game experience in previous titles are the different biomes and structures the players must go through, and if Infinite used more of that, it could greatly improve both the exploration and immersion aspects of it. Halo: Combat Evolved is a game that takes great advantage of different biomes and spaces to create different atmospheres, which helps every level feel new and invites the player. Even if the game is linear, it made exploring interesting just by making a detailed atmosphere, but Halo Infinite basically varies from the standard grass biome to the metallic structures from the Zeta Halo, and it keeps flip-flopping between these two different spaces during the whole game, which feels repetitive and would definitely receive backlash by the community if it was a linear game. But instead of seeing this as an opportunity to make a world full of different biomes, missions and level designs, 343 just uses the open world to make a more uniform world that doesn’t have a lot of variety, and though that doesn’t make the game bad, the addition of a bigger variety of biomes, with different terrains, structures, enemies, and wildlife (something 343 intended to put in the game at some point) would make the open world experience more alive, immersive and fun in general.

Besides different biomes, Infinite could’ve also benefited from a bigger variety of missions and interactions. Most of Infinite’s missions, and Halo missions in general are about eliminating various enemies while getting from point A to B, with some exceptions, and that is usually fine because Halo’s gameplay, although based on a linear experience, is like a playground where combat scenarios can play out in many ways, and the different level designs help the game keep constantly fun. However, different types of mission (like horde-defending or exploration missions, for example) combined with the sandbox, would take the playground aspect of Halo to another notch, where every mission is different and can be approached in different ways. And with an open world, Halo could have side missions for the first time, which would really elevate the exploration part of the game. The feeling of finding a new task and getting completely sidetracked from the current main mission gives the player such a sense of freedom and magnitude.

But one thing holding back the potential of Halo (and something a lot of the community would probably disagree) is the story. Infinite is the conclusion of a storyline that has been in the making for years, the sixth title of a 20-year-old franchise (letting aside spin-offs), so it’s possible to say this game is made more specifically for fans that have been following the lore for some years, which excludes people that aren’t as familiar with the franchise from fully experiencing the game. Even though Infinite was a necessary conclusion to Chief’s and Cortana’s story, now it opens possibilities to a new era of Halo, that invites new people to play the game while maintaining the core of the franchise alive. Both Sony and Nintendo did this (with the 2018 God Of War reboot and Zelda BOTW), and even though considered a risky move, mostly because it led up to a bit of backlash and shakeup from the core fans, both these games did things that ensured they were successful with the fans and new players, starting by the fact that the games stayed true to their franchise’s: even if they completely change the aspects of the game and their playability, God Of War is still a hack & slash game and Zelda BOTW is still an adventure/exploration game, and they still have signature traits that make them a recognizable game from that franchise, like the sound effects, recognizable items, or the characters themselves. But they also are fresh enough to the point that the enjoyability of the story and the gameplay doesn’t depend on having knowledge of previous titles, and it could be helpful if Halo got some of that same treatment.

But that’s only half of why Halo Infinite didn’t reach its full potential. Multiplayer has been a big thing for the franchise and its history, and it if wasn’t for this feature alone, Halo would not be in the position it is today, as one of the biggest in the FPS genre. Even before Infinite’s multiplayer mode released, players already knew 343 had struck gold with this new gameplay, and this was really important for the success of this mode. Core fans got really disappointed at how Halo 5’s gameplay tried too much to be other FPS games with its fast-paced combat and movement, so when the studio showed interested in going back to the roots of the series with its new multiplayer, the fanbase was happy and that was shown by how much of a success the Preview and Beta releases of the game were. This change made the game stand out in the FPS scene at the time and was responsible for a launch with hundreds of thousands of simultaneous players. Unfortunately, 343 wasn’t able to provide continuous support for the game with new content, maps and modes. It’s common for live services games to plummet in player count a while after its launch, but it’s not common for games to just lose almost all its players and stay completely inactive, with no updates, and that is what happened with Infinite’s multiplayer. It seems there was no plans from 343 that extended beyond the game’s launch, no plans to keep updating the game or provide anything new to incentivize the community, and even though the multiplayer itself was fun, with so little modes and variety, it was inevitable that it was going to become stale at some point. Weirdly enough, this release was almost like the exact opposite of what was Halo 5’s multiplayer: a multiplayer non-appreciated by many, but that had various modes and received the support and commitment from 343 until the end, resulting in a very loyal (even if small) fanbase, while Halo Infinite has received a more inconsistent amount of active players from season to season (but of course there is no concrete way of comparing player count).

[Continues...]
 

Hug0l1no

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So, what does Halo need? Well, after a lot of turbulence, it looks 343 has finally stabilized and found a place where it has a consistent development and an engaged player base, but as is, Halo Infinite didn’t reach its full potential of reaching a bigger audience in a new generation of FPS, something that could've happened if 343 maintained the consistency, and something that could have happened as proven by the success of Halo Infinite’s release and as proven by many other live services games that were able to maintain success after a popular release, like Fortnite or Minecraft (both games that had their lows). But before talking about multiplayer, let’s start by a suggestion of what to do on the campaign side of things.

As previously mentioned, Halo Infinite was a step in the right direction, but it could’ve gone further. 343 really nailed the style of gameplay, and the freedom of the open world helps to highlight that, but what felt is like 343 changed the type of game from linear to open, without changing the actual game’s design, meaning that the game barely takes advantage of the fact that it is an open world, and even having some downgrades compared to previous games because of that change, like the lack of biome variety. All of that to say that if the studio still plans in making the next single-player experiences open world, they should be more ambitious and embrace the exploration side of the games, making it more immersive, interesting and fun in general, giving a real refresh for the franchise. As for the story, as previously mentioned, Halo’s story has many possibilities, including some possibilities where they continue without Master Chief, but if 343 Industries believes in this new era of Halo and in inviting new players to the franchise, it must make new great stories that aren’t so attached to previous games.

But as much as the campaign has room for improvement, the one thing that has most potential for leveraging the franchise’s success (and consequently the campaign’s success) is the multiplayer. Halo Infinite’s multiplayer has gotten slowly better, improving season upon season, but it most likely got affected by its lackluster launch compared to its predecessors, and now that it’s found in a good state, with a variety of modes and activities that satisfice basically every corner of the community, it needs something to impulse it; something big. It has been known that Certain Affinity has been working with Microsoft on a new Halo multiplayer experience, but the idea of a separate mode from Halo Infinite’s multiplayer is concerning, just spreading Halo in a more confusing way. If 343 wants to re-popularize Halo as a multiplayer/competitive game, it’ll need some sort of relaunch, similar to what Valve did with Counter-Strike 2 or to what Epic Games does with every new Fortnite chapter. It could be argued that seasons are exactly that, but seasons feel more like big updates made for the people that already play the game, rather than an event that invites new players and needs to have as much people as possible to know about it. And to accompany this launch there should be something big: a new mode, like extraction (just preferably not a battle royale; that ship has already sailed), new guns, maps, visuals, etc. And to top it off, 343 could launch it alongside its next Halo campaign.

Besides all of that, there are just a lot of "simple “things holding back Halo Infinite’s multiplayer right now: whether it’s the downgraded customization and gun collection, or the fact that it’s hard to find one game in countries outside the US (based off personal experience), there is a lot 343 has to work when it comes to the infrastructure of the game before it can do a big update or a relaunch. Finally, it needs a good progression system, since it’s one of the core things that maintains players in live services games coming back to keep playing, so implementing things like events and rewarding the player for their dedication with things like cosmetics and in-game currency is important. Now, it’s arguable that Halo can’t get as popular as it was before due to some factors, but the main one being the gameplay style. That is not referring only to the fact it’s seen as a “boomer shooter” by most people’s standards nowadays, but more with the fact it has a simple gameplay style, that is considerably easy to learn, and while that is mostly a good thing, it’s also used by many as a reason to just move on from the game, since it’s more seen as a fun game than a competitive one. That’s why 343 needs to ensure that the multiplayer experience is as great as possible, and that the game has good progression and content that convince that players to keep playing.

But fact is that this franchise has a lot of room for improvement and a lot of potential to grow, but with the recent layoffs that occurred at 343 Industries and Microsoft’s recent shift in focus from the classics franchises to making new IPs, a lot of questions about the future of the franchise started in the community. So, this section tries to prove that Halo can still succeed in the current day without having to completely reinvent the franchise and start from scratch, and that 343 deserves more attention from Microsoft. This game has an incredibly loyal and dedicated fanbase, one that literally helps building the game with their suggestions in the forums and their creations on forge, so it would be disappointing if Microsoft stopped investing in 343 specifically in this time where the game finds itself in a good position and has so much potential to grow.
 

Luuthian

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Regarding the "incompleteness" of the Xbox ecosystem, it feels like that comes down to constantly shifting priorities. Xbox leadership can't stay the the course for more than a year or two and so goals and ideas constantly seem to shift and change. That leaves a lot of confusion on the consumer side and a lot of things feeling incomplete or unrealized.

I understand the need to adapt to rapidly changing market conditions and technology but I agree it's left Xbox in a lurch. Whatever their vision is, it seems unfocused and unclear. Hopefully that changes by the end of this console gen but so far... Not looking that way
 

Hug0l1no

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Regarding the "incompleteness" of the Xbox ecosystem, it feels like that comes down to constantly shifting priorities. Xbox leadership can't stay the the course for more than a year or two and so goals and ideas constantly seem to shift and change. That leaves a lot of confusion on the consumer side and a lot of things feeling incomplete or unrealized.

I understand the need to adapt to rapidly changing market conditions and technology but I agree it's left Xbox in a lurch. Whatever their vision is, it seems unfocused and unclear. Hopefully that changes by the end of this console gen but so far... Not looking that way
Yeah, Xbox and Microsoft as a whole are a bit inconsistent with their actions, always changing strategies and messaging. In this case, they probably realized making this ecosystem is not as simple as they thought, which is unfortunate because it's not something they can go back on. They have already sold the idea of the ecosystem, so I just wished they fully committed to it like they wanted to in the beginning.
 
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Luuthian

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Agreed... I wish they would bring more focus to the console in general. It makes sense that, as per the leaks, they panicked over revenue in the future when they realized they couldn't compete directly and subscriptions wouldn't make up the difference. The only out for them was to buy companies and invest in mobile... But that kind of vision takes a decade or more to fulfill. And it's expensive. It also means consumers are left having to decide if they want to ride out a very long wait with MS to get everything in order.

You'd think they would have doubled down on the console, and getting good exclusives out for it, and then bring that other vision in to focus later. Instead it feels like everything is sitting around half finished and unrealized.

I hope they're able to refocus and close out the generation strong. So far though the best part of owning an Xbox is having access to Gamepass for third party games. The Xbox desperately needs a unique identity because Gamepass alone is not something I think they can build a future on. We'll see if they're able to correct that sooner rather than later
 

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