My Thoughts on the 2020 Xbox Games Showcase

Yesterday, Microsoft held their July Game Showcase event where they revealed the latest lineup for this next console generation. As someone who has primarily played on a Xbox console for their entire life, here are some of my thoughts about the presentation.

Going into this conference, I was really hoping Microsoft would bring out some heavy hitters in AAA exclusives. The comparison between Sony and Microsoft will always be a thing and no matter what, they’ll forever be compared. Debates about what console has the better exclusives, and which console is just is best for gamers. Like any topic there are multiple opinions for each side, all with equal amount of points too probably.

But it’s very clear now that Microsoft and Sony are taking two very different approaches. I feel that in some ways we’re overlooking things from these recent confrerences becasue we are looking at this next generation a bit in the same as the previous console reveals in 2013. The landscape is so different given things like streaming and new game services.

If you were to look at the library of exclusive games on the Playstation 4, you’re looking at multiple classics and amazing titles. The PS4 exclusive library has so many top games from this this generation. Games like God of War, Horizon Zero Dawn, Last of Us 2, Spider-man, Uncharted 4, Ghost of Tsushima, and tons more.

As we look into what was shown at both Sony and Microsoft conferences over the past months, it looks like this idea of Playstation being THE console for exclusives will carry over to this new generation. I don’t necessarily see that as a negative thing.

Xbox is my main console and has been since the 360. The main reason is because of friends. But all that aside, regardless of my “main choice”, I’m getting both these next gen consoles. Not someone who chooses to sticks to just one console

As I said earlier, I was really looking foward to what Microsoft would bring. Show me the exclusives (games in general) that will make me excited to still play the Xbox Series X in 2022. I hindseight I think that I, and many others, were hoping for a Sony E3 2016 hype event type of conference.

The press conference was opened with 8 minutes of Halo Infinite gameplay. I think the main thing that has me excited about this game, is the feel of Halo 1. The Graphics are nothing to really rave about. It just feels good to have a new Halo that will feel like old (but new) feel to it.

It’s understandable why 343 Studios would take this route given the not so great reactions to the Halo 5 campaign. Choosing to lean into a bit of nostalgia for this game was safe. I think it’s a safe bet because I think that at this point it’ll be easier to sell a nostalgia influenced game rather than a continuation from Halo 5.

After all this game is considered a spiritual reboot.

The exploration being expanded with what looks like a mix of linear and open world, brings back memories of Halo Combat Evolved. I welcome new mechanics like the grappling hook. Seeing Chief pull explosives and throwing them looked awesome, and it makes get me excited when I think about how this mechanic will play in multiplayer as well.

Halo wasn’t given an exact release date but it was announced as a Series X launch title so I’m presuming that it will launch with the Series X.

Titles like State of Decay 3 (no release date), Forza Motorsport (no release date), Psychonauts 2 (no release date), The Medium (no release date), a new Fable game (no release date), and other games were also announced. Honestly I don’t think that this was a bad conference from Microsoft. But did it bring out the hard hitters like I was kind of hoping for? No it didn’t.

But Microsoft did something very very big for this next console generation. For every game that was shown, the Game Pass logo was attached. That meaning that every game shown in this conference would come to Game Pass day one of that titles launch. This was on my mind as the conference was happening, and not many people seemed to give it as much praise as it may have deserved.

Well that’s not entirley true becuase Alanah Pearce actuyally made a 10 minute video discussing this same part and feeling. It was a great point and great video.

For those that don’t know what Xbox Game Pass is, it’s a monthly subscription service to a library of over 100 games. New games and old. To just play games online though you need Xbox Live seperately. Xbox introduced Game Pass Ultimate which acted as a bundle subscription of both Xbox Live and Game Pass for just $15 a month.

With Gamepass Ultimate you also have access to these games on Windows PC. It was also recently revealed that Microsofts new xCloud game streaming service was being bundled into Game Pass Ultimate. So you can now stream high quality those same games on your phone as well. All for the cost of just $15 a month.

In fact, your first month of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate will only cost you $1

The deal previously available of 12 months of Xbox Live for $60 is also no longer being made. The further we get into this next console generation, the more it’s clear that Microsoft will be primarily leaning into Game Pass Ultimate. I do hope a multiple month long subscription option to Game Pass Ultimate happens at some point, as opposed to the $15 a month, but we’ll see.

But it looks like your only option as of now will be a $15 a month subscription that forces you to have Game Pass. Going forward no matter what if you own a Xbox, you have Game Pass. This really is an amazing deal.

There is a part of me that feels dissapoitned in not having those “AAA hard hitters”. But good part of that frustration is quickly washed away (not entirely) with the offer of Game Pass. The crazy thing to me is thinking about how this isn’t at least talked about more considering just the last week of game news.

You have reports that some next gen games are now going to cost $70 instead of $60, but then you have Microsoft with Ultimate Game Pass. Game Pass Ultimate really to me seems like the best deal you can have as a gamer when it comes to online service. But is that enough of a statement and reason as to why you should buy a Series X? I don’t know, because I’m not you. so I won’t say yes or no. Everyone is different

But as someone who already owns Game Pass Ultimate and plans on getting a Series X, this was pretty reasurring for the future of the Series X. I’m not making an argument for exclusives or launch library. I think about what the Game Pass library will look like in about five years from now (if it’s even still around and hasn’t changed) and I see such a large variey of indie games and AAA games that are available to download.

A lof of those games shown at the conference looked great to me. Do I plan on playing all of those games? No because some of the games shown aren’t for me, but they are for someone. There was at least one thing in that conference for everyone. And it’s all available on Game Pass Ultimate.

I realize that Game Pass wont give you access to every game that comes out. There will be games I’ll have to pay $60-$70 for and that’s completely fine. But as an Xbox owner there will also be a lot of games I won’t have to pay for thanks to Game Pass Ultimate. In a way, for Xbox owners it may feel like games have never been cheaper. Xbox is playing the long game and I do think that there is a good chance it will benefit them greatly in the future.

I’m gonna get both consoles, I had already planned on it. I’m buying a Playstaion 5 for those exclusives. And I’m buying a Series X for Game Pass Ultimate. I think the reason why I’m okay with this move and marketing style from Microsoft is because if you look at Xbox in 2020 compared to Xbox in 2013, they couldn’t be any more different.

The Xbox One (at launch) was not a console for gamers. It was never marketed in that way. The Xbox Series X with Game Pass Ultimate is an amzing deal for gamers. Of course the actual price of the Series X and Playstation 5 will matter when it comes the what really is the best deal. Ultimately there’s a different reason person to person.

But as far as I’m concerned, 2013 Microsoft is no where in sight. Xbox owners can go into this next console generation knowing that Microsoft actually cares about games. Greatly.

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