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GamingBolt: What The Hell Is Going On With Xbox Game Studios?

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IbizaPocholo

NeoGAFs Kent Brockman

Console gaming has never been easy for Microsoft. It was laughed at for trying to buy Nintendo; laughed at for the OG Xbox's bulky size and massive controller; battled hardware issues of its own making thanks to the Xbox 360's Red Ring of Death; fought from underneath to reverse so many of the Xbox One's initially terrible policies; and so on and so forth. When Phil Spencer took over as the head of Microsoft Game Studios in 2014, however, there was a conscious drive to make Xbox gaming better. To show that Microsoft actually cared and was willing to invest in its product, both for its present and future consumers.

This can be reflected in various positive ventures like backwards compatibility (which is free as long as someone owns the game); Xbox Play Anywhere which allows for playing the same game on Xbox One and Series X/S as PC; and of course, Xbox Game Pass, currently at over 25 million subscribers and growing. Even initiatives like better gaming integration with Windows 11, the Xbox Adaptive controller, and cloud gaming which lets you stream Xbox Series X/S titles to an Xbox One, deserve to be praised. It's incredible to think that this is the same company that had Don Mattrick at the gaming helm, telling people to play on an Xbox 360 if they couldn't always be online with an Xbox One back in 2013.
 

DeepEnigma

Gold Member
Persevere Supreme Court GIF by GIPHY News
 

Thirty7ven

Sony make cringe trainers.
i dunno if it was the narrator voice or how they written the dialogue but my brain froze. They didn’t seem critical of anything, just a video telling the “epic” tale of how MS went from rags to riches! Basically a Disney tale! Princess brought things and lived happily!

I’m kinda exaggerating but…

That has been the media narrative for a hot minute now, that somehow MS is this humble small beginnings tale that has assumed the role of Rocky the eternal underdog fighting all odds against mighty Drago, as if they aren’t the empire casting a shadow as big as the sky and are now assembling the fucking Death Star(/s).

Anyway, they just bought a ton of studios, give it time geez.
 
Do gaming journalists not understand how Microsoft works? MS literally iterate until they make it. It's a pretty age old modus operandi of theirs. Xbox really isn't very different to windows or office or server/software or browsers with respect to grinding out revisions and reforms for improvements over time until a solid or market leading position is achieved. They've been breaking that mould a little with Surface, Xbox/Gamepass and Azure with great success but the old formula is still heavily applied long term. Acquisitions have always been part of big business, some go horrible and others go brilliantly.

The cadence of iterations through Xbox kills it over Sony or Nintendo in terms of online services, platform updates and general maintenance of their ecosystem and services.
 
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DarkMage619

Member
i dunno if it was the narrator voice or how they written the dialogue but my brain froze. They didn’t seem critical of anything, just a video telling the “epic” tale of how MS went from rags to riches! Basically a Disney tale! Princess brought things and lived happily!

I’m kinda exaggerating but…
Did we watch the same video? There was tons of criticism from what happened with Halo Infinite to what is going on with Everwild and Undead Labs. It was balanced, talking about the good and bad of XGS. I don't know about rags to riches but in console gaming MS is clearly the underdog. It shows money alone doesn't equal success; they have to have a compelling product and they have that with the X Series systems right now.

They have come a long way from the original Xbox and there is way more positive than negative currently. I appreciate them continuing to support their earlier gaming efforts with their backwards compatibility system. I wish all platform holders did that.
 
Microsoft studios have some major issues. Halo multi live service being the head among them but their constant delays and under delivering being another.



However there is considerable talent and names there that I won't bet against. If you don't think Brian Fargo, Tim Schaffer, Godd Howard and others arnt gonna continue to produce then idk what to tell you.

They're gonna have highs and lows. Consistency isn't there yet. But the talent is. Even if half of it just left the initiative.
 

Zeroing

Gold Member
Did we watch the same video? There was tons of criticism from what happened with Halo Infinite to what is going on with Everwild and Undead Labs. It was balanced, talking about the good and bad of XGS. I don't know about rags to riches but in console gaming MS is clearly the underdog. It shows money alone doesn't equal success; they have to have a compelling product and they have that with the X Series systems right now.

They have come a long way from the original Xbox and there is way more positive than negative currently. I appreciate them continuing to support their earlier gaming efforts with their backwards compatibility system. I wish all platform holders did that.
We did! If you think that was being critical then oh boy… must show you real journalism!

The problem with gaming media and we gamers is, that we think Xbox is somehow not part of MS as one corporation. Let’s be honest here, with all that influence and money they could had push gaming even further and destroyed the competition but they MS doesn’t even know what made the Xbox 360 special! That is the sad truth!

Yes they are currently doing some positive things but if you keep trying everything, one day we will get something right. The big 3 do not exist in a vacuum and they do influence each other.

Same way as sony woke up from their PS3 nap, Nintendo double down on mobile gaming after the Wii U failure… MS is just to slow!
 

ABnormal

Member
Well, it's quite the opposite. They repeatedly failed to create a proper identity and quality software (outside very few exceptions) since XOne era, and they simply admitted their incapability. So they decoded that, if they are not able to create a culture and structure to build quality games, they can simply buy the ones created by others, since they have the moneyyyyzzzz
 
Well, it's quite the opposite. They repeatedly failed to create a proper identity and quality software (outside very few exceptions) since XOne era, and they simply admitted their incapability. So they decoded that, if they are not able to create a culture and structure to build quality games, they can simply buy the ones created by others, since they have the moneyyyyzzzz
They basically just bought there 3rd party publishers that sold more games on playstation....its not that deep.
 

adamsapple

Gold Member
Xbox in 2022 is a far cry from Xbox in ~2013. The coming years and when their acquisitions start putting out the many projects currently underway will only make it better for gamers.


i dunno if it was the narrator voice or how they written the dialogue but my brain froze. They didn’t seem critical of anything, just a video telling the “epic” tale of how MS went from rags to riches! Basically a Disney tale! Princess brought things and lived happily!

I’m kinda exaggerating but…

I'm sorry it wasn't the hit piece you were expecting going by the topic title :goog_unsure:
 

SenjutsuSage

Halo TV Series Promoter - Live from: Reach
I rather enjoy this silliness where everybody is concern trolling the #1 publisher of the prior year as each of their studios go through the same early, mid, late project issues that all studios go through. Did Xbox Game Studios not absolutely kill it last year? Do they not get time to actually build their games and find their way in a project like all studios do?

If you keep behaving like there is a massive reason to be worried, maybe it becomes a reality? I think that's what some hope for, but I think they'll be disappointed on that front.
 

adamsapple

Gold Member
I rather enjoy this silliness where everybody is concern trolling the #1 publisher of the prior year as each of their studios go through the same early, mid, late project issues that all studios go through. Did Xbox Game Studios not absolutely kill it last year? Do they not get time to actually build their games and find their way in a project like all studios do?

They absolutely did. Along with being the highest rated publisher, 4 of the highest scoring game of the year games of 2021 were published by Xbox Games Studios.

But to call a spade a spade, they do have an issue with backloading the 2nd half of a year with their big hitters. All 4 of the games in my last line released in the 2nd half of the year. It seems like they're gonna follow a similar trend this year as they don't have a single big first party game coming out in the coming month(s). Redfall is MIA and I don't expect it to meet its Summer release date in the slightest.

If you keep behaving like there is a massive reason to be worried, maybe it becomes a reality? I think that's what some hope for, but I think they'll be disappointed on that front.

Let's be honest, most of the concerned folks are generally bad faith actors in the first place.
 
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Represent.

Gold Member
Going on 2 years into the gen and its still literally only been Halo and Forza as the big AAA games.

Their other studios seem to be in shambles management wise, which leads to development hell.

None of their new studios have proven anything yet.

They need to get going and prove they can deliver constant, high quality games. Enough BS.
 

tusharngf

Member
I still remember 2013 xbox launch and how the media destroyed everything about Xbox brand. Phil learned from this mistake and someone manage to get everything back together. As long as PHIL is there xbox is not going down. Microsoft made a huge mistake by hiring Don mattrick guy and listening to bill gates. Bill was the one who said we should do something like wii console.

They got a powerful system now and has lots of quality studios in the hand. Nothing can go wrong from here as long as they give AAA title every 2 or 3 month.
 

Zeroing

Gold Member
I’ll be honest I expectea console war here… there’s hope for humanity :D
Xbox in 2022 is a far cry from Xbox in ~2013. The coming years and when their acquisitions start putting out the many projects currently underway will only make it better for gamers.




I'm sorry it wasn't the hit piece you were expecting going by the topic title :goog_unsure:
Contrary to you and your little click group, I watch things, either positive or negative of any brand! Just because I choose to be critical doesn’t mean I swore my allegiance to Sony/Nintendo! Not my fault all that is talked here lately is Microsoft’s acquisitions…

I’m also sorry there’s not been made any new gamepass threads… must be hard for you!

Joking.
 

Zeroing

Gold Member
I still remember 2013 xbox launch and how the media destroyed everything about Xbox brand. Phil learned from this mistake and someone manage to get everything back together. As long as PHIL is there xbox is not going down. Microsoft made a huge mistake by hiring Don mattrick guy and listening to bill gates. Bill was the one who said we should do something like wii console.

They got a powerful system now and has lots of quality studios in the hand. Nothing can go wrong from here as long as they give AAA title every 2 or 3 month.
Big daddy Phil isn’t going anywhere! We all need him and he need us!!!
 

adamsapple

Gold Member
I trust Phil. That's all I'm gonna say.



I think it's a safe assumption the Xbox brand would have been dead or in obscurity right now if it wasn't for him. Not only did he help to bring it back, he's also managed to get the CEO of Microsoft (Satya Nadella) investing in the gaming/entertainment divisions more heavily than ever before.

He's probably someone as relevant to Xbox as Kaz Hirai is historically to PlayStation.
 
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Going on 2 years into the gen and its still literally only been Halo and Forza as the big AAA games.

Their other studios seem to be in shambles management wise, which leads to development hell.

None of their new studios have proven anything yet.

They need to get going and prove they can deliver constant, high quality games. Enough BS.

Wrong. Sea of Thieves would like a word, as would Age of Empires, Minecraft and Flight Simulator. Just because you don't like those games doesn't mean they are not consistent and popular.

You're also omitting success stories out of Gamepass like The Ascent, Psychonauts 2, Tunic, Sable, Shredders, Grounded etc. Gears 5 was only 2.5 years ago too, sames goes for Ori 2 borderline 2 years ago now.

Posts like this that Xbox has only Forza and Halo are irrelevant and ignorant these days.

How about the roadmap for 2022/23? Starfield, Avowed, Perfect Dark, Redfall, Contraband, Hellblade 2. Unknown release dates surround Everwild, State of Decay 3 and Fable.

We haven't even really pushed into ActiBliz studios that much here either with COD, DOOM, Wolf, Overwatch, WoW, Diablo, Star/War craft, Tony Hawk, Guitar/DJ Hero, Sierra games and if you want to get picky Sekiro is under ActiBliz IPs too.
 

peter42O

Member
They absolutely did. Along with being the highest rated publisher, 4 of the highest scoring game of the year games of 2021 were published by Xbox Games Studios.

But to call a spade a spade, they do have an issue with backloading the 2nd half of a year with their big hitters. All 4 of the games in my last line released in the 2nd half of the year. It seems like they're gonna follow a similar trend this year as they don't have a single big first party game coming out in the coming month(s). Redfall is MIA and I don't expect it to meet its Summer release date in the slightest.
Completely agree on all aspects but on the bright side, Microsoft has made Xbox the best it's been since Xbox 360 in my opinion. The second half of 2022 will in my opinion have Deathloop in September, Age of Empires IV (console) and Forza Motorsport in October and of course, Starfield on 11/11/22. I do think Redfall gets delayed to early 2023 (Feb/March) but that's perfectly fine by me as I don't want to see the first half of 2023 being empty like 2021 and 2022. 2023 could have Redfall, Avowed, Contraband and Hellblade 2 spread out throughout the year. We'll know what a the second half of 2022 and the first half of 2023 look like once June gets here and Microsoft has their Xbox Games Showcase.
 

DavidGzz

Member
Wrong. Sea of Thieves would like a word, as would Age of Empires, Minecraft and Flight Simulator. Just because you don't like those games doesn't mean they are not consistent and popular.

You're also omitting success stories out of Gamepass like The Ascent, Psychonauts 2, Tunic, Sable, Shredders, Grounded etc. Gears 5 was only 2.5 years ago too, sames goes for Ori 2 borderline 2 years ago now.

Posts like this that Xbox has only Forza and Halo are irrelevant and ignorant these days.

How about the roadmap for 2022/23? Starfield, Avowed, Perfect Dark, Redfall, Contraband, Hellblade 2. Unknown release dates surround Everwild, State of Decay 3 and Fable.

We haven't even really pushed into ActiBliz studios that much here either with COD, DOOM, Wolf, Overwatch, WoW, Diablo, Star/War craft, Tony Hawk, Guitar/DJ Hero, Sierra games and if you want to get picky Sekiro is under ActiBliz IPs too.


These games would be good and relevant if they were on Playstation. That's how the mind of a fanboy works. MS has been doing just fine and it will only get better from here.
 

sol_bad

Member
Do Activision own the studios that made the recent Spyro and Crash games? I don't want the IP's dug into the ground but I hope MS let them make more games. Or make some original IP platformers. Or a new Banjo game.

Something tells me MS will fuck up and not capitalise on these possibilities.
 

Ozriel

Member
Going on 2 years into the gen and its still literally only been Halo and Forza as the big AAA games.

Their other studios seem to be in shambles management wise, which leads to development hell.

None of their new studios have proven anything yet.

They need to get going and prove they can deliver constant, high quality games. Enough BS.

If you’re going to talk about what their studios have proven, then you’d have to include Deathloop and Psychonauts 2 with multiple GOTY awards between them.

There’s absolutely no indication that most of their studios have any issues. We’ve only heard issues with a handful of studios out of the multitude they own.

Looking forward to their June showcase so we can have better calibration as to where we stand
 

sol_bad

Member
If you’re going to talk about what their studios have proven, then you’d have to include Deathloop and Psychonauts 2 with multiple GOTY awards between them.

There’s absolutely no indication that most of their studios have any issues. We’ve only heard issues with a handful of studios out of the multitude they own.

Looking forward to their June showcase so we can have better calibration as to where we stand

No.
No you do not include those games. Microsoft had absolutely nothing to do with those games.
 

Ozriel

Member
No.
No you do not include those games. Microsoft had absolutely nothing to do with those games.

Lmao this is bullcrap. The conversation was on the performance/output of Xbox Game studios. Arkane and Double Fine are Xbox Game studios.

Not to mention it’s pure bullshit to claim MS had nothing to do with Psychonauts 2 development when the Studio head has said multiple times that funding from MS made them flesh out the game further.

You tried, though.
 
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I’ve always got the impression that Microsoft’s internal studios (that they’ve had for a while) have largely been mismanaged. Turn 10 seem to be the only internal team to my knowledge who’ve just got on and released hits continuously without drama or huge changes in direction.

The Initiative sounded interesting on paper at the start. Huge budget, poaching top talent from other studios and a new mantra from Xbox about letting studios manage themselves and just be creative. It’s a shame that it seems a bit more authoritarian over there than we might have expected.

343 is such an interesting case - every project they’ve released has had issues and they’ve had a blank cheque to get things right. Halo Infinite launching the way it did after a year long delay is mind-boggling.

Their newly acquired studios have had to duck and dive a bit to survive (Ninja Theory, Double Fine, Obsidian etc) so I’m hoping their management keeps control over their projects because they are good teams.
 
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sol_bad

Member
Lmao this is bullcrap. The conversation was on the performance/output of Xbox Game studios. Arkane and Double Fine are Xbox Game studios.

Not to mention it’s pure bullshit to claim MS had nothing to do with Psychonauts 2 development when the Studio head has said multiple times that funding from MS made them flesh out the game further.

You tried, though.

MEH.
Looking into it, it looks like they were able to re-implement boss battles and make the game optimized for Series X. Sorry, MS weren't involved in any decision making or approval processes. I personally wouldn't include Psychonauts 2.
 

Zannrebel

Member
MEH.
Looking into it, it looks like they were able to re-implement boss battles and make the game optimized for Series X. Sorry, MS weren't involved in any decision making or approval processes. I personally wouldn't include Psychonauts 2.
Death Loop was delayed due to MS giving more time for polish.
 

Ozriel

Member
MEH.
Looking into it, it looks like they were able to re-implement boss battles and make the game optimized for Series X. Sorry, MS weren't involved in any decision making or approval processes. I personally wouldn't include Psychonauts 2.

MS provided funding and allowed them delay the game for further polish and added content.

But all that is immaterial, and what you would or wouldn’t include is irrelevant. They are an XGS studio and their work is counted as part of XGS output post acquisition.

The Wikipedia entry for XGS lists Psychonauts 2. Facts > Opinions.
 
MS provided funding and allowed them delay the game for further polish and added content.

But all that is immaterial, and what you would or wouldn’t include is irrelevant. They are an XGS studio and their work is counted as part of XGS output post acquisition.

The Wikipedia entry for XGS lists Psychonauts 2. Facts > Opinions.
I think that’s more of a technicality more than anything else though. It’s clutching at straws a bit. Good game, but very little of it is down to Xbox.
 
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