When will the Xbox series X be available?
When is Xbox Series X release date? Xbox Series X is launching at participating retailers worldwide on November 10, 2020. xbox.comXbox Series X console
19 July, 2021 - 05:00pm
On July 31, Xbox Game Pass will be losing It Lurks Below, The Touryst, and UnderMine. It Lurks Below is a 2D survival game with randomly generated levels, whereas The Touryst is a platformer/puzzle/adventure game hybrid. UnderMine, meanwhile is an action-RPG roguelike with a retro art style. All of the games earned mostly positive reviews, so they're definitely solid options for anyone looking for something new to play.
Out of the three games, perhaps the most notable is The Touryst. The Touryst was actually an Xbox Series X launch title, with support for 120 fps. It was one of the few Xbox Series X launch titles that had that capability, and so those with Microsoft's next-generation console may want to check it out before it's removed from Game Pass.
In the meantime, there are some new Xbox Game Pass additions to look forward to this month, with three more big titles coming to the service before July is up. The first new Xbox Game Pass game coming between now and July 31 is Cris Tales, launching July 20. Cris Tales is a unique turn-based RPG that features time-traveling mechanics that has a great deal of hype behind it, so it's definitely a big "get" for the Game Pass service.
Cris Tales is joined by Microsoft Flight Simulator, which will hit Xbox Game Pass for Xbox Series X users on July 27. And finally, July 29 will see co-op cyberpunk game The Ascent make its way to Xbox Game Pass as well. So while Xbox Game Pass is losing three games on July 31, it will be gaining three big ones in the meantime.
19 July, 2021 - 05:00pm
The Steam Deck is inherently different from the typical Sony, Microsoft or even Nintendo consoles that we know and love. While it hasn't been released yet, Valve’s openness about the way the PC-console hybrid works is frankly surprising. The Steam Deck, unlike other consoles, isn’t built on top of an open ecosystem. Sure, it will come with a custom version of SteamOS out of the box, allowing users to install games from their Steam libraries exclusively. However, Valve’s open invitation to gamers for modding and installing third-party software, even Windows, is directly at odds with the business model that most console manufacturers operate on. With that said, that could also incentivise Microsoft to add a portable handheld to their Xbox family, backed by an all-digital ecosystem that the Series S is thriving on.
Let’s do a simple breakdown of Microsoft’s revenue model for its games and services division. It’s well known that console manufacturers make more profits through digital sales on their platform than moving hardware itself. While a standard game costs the same at both retail with a physical copy and on the console’s digital storefront, Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo make more from sales through digital sales.
Multiple developers and publishers have said that Game Pass not only incentivises players to try out a larger number of games more frequently, but it also boosts sales of the games across other storefronts, including Microsoft’s own Xbox store. This also includes in-game purchases, DLCs, season passes and expansions of many games that are offered in the Game Pass catalogue. Members of Xbox Game pass also get discounts on games bought from the Xbox storefront, which many might take advantage of before their subscription ends.
Iain Garner, co-founder of indie game publisher Neon Doctrine reiterated the same while criticising PlayStation's support structure said the same for smaller game developers.
"Games Pass definitely boosted our sales across all platforms and brought loads of new players to Sinner,” he said in a recent interview. “It was a really great experience and I would love to do it again.”
Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, has also explained a little bit about how the Xbox Game Pass service is operated, focusing on expanding its user base instead of looking at gross sales.
"The number one metric that we can look at to see if our business is actually growing are people playing more on the platform," he said in a recent IGN interview.
"There's nothing about review score, nothing about retail sales of console or retail sales of games. The number one sign that our platform is healthy and growing is actually engagement on the platform from players. That is what Game Pass is growing, and continues to grow and continues to be profitable at Xbox."
A handheld all-digital Xbox console could be the perfect entry point for budget gamers who are on the move. Xbox Game Pass’ growing library could make it an easy entry point for gamers into the Xbox ecosystem, with game progress carrying forward to the Xbox series X|S consoles or even PC whenever required thanks to Smart Delivery. And then there’s Xbox Cloud Gaming which is Microsoft’s ace up its sleeve, if implemented correctly.
While countries outside of Microsoft’s chosen few await the launch of its cloud gaming service, Microsoft has already shown that it is using its Azure infrastructure to increase the shelf life of its older Xbox One consoles. As next-gen games get more power hungry, Microsoft could, in theory, use the cloud to deliver them on its handheld console, or use aggressive scalability options like the Steam Deck or even the Nintendo Switch to port those games over.
But why even bother with another console SKU when you have the power of the cloud? Well, for starters, Xbox Cloud Gaming acts as an added bonus on top of one's Game Pass subscription, and it doesn't really work as a stand-alone service. We've seen that cloud-only endeavours in the gaming space such as Google Stadia aren't enough to sustain a user base, especially if it asks for separate purchases to increase one's gaming library. Nvidia's GeForce Now cloud gaming service acts similarly to Xbox Cloud Gaming, where users can access their existing libraries instead of having to purchase games separately. Xbox Cloud Gaming, as it stands right now, is a great bonus but not necessarily strong enough to stand on its own to attract brand new users.
Of course, there’s the question of price. With the Xbox Series S already coming in at a cheap $299, it could be hard for Microsoft to position another console for cheaper than that. However, as the Steam Deck and Nintendo Switch have already shown, portability is widely valued by a lot of gamers.
The Nintendo Switch is using what was outdated hardware at its launch, but its value doesn’t depreciate thanks to the excellent first party output of games and of course, portability. Another key area for the proposed handheld Xbox console to thrive in would be the more price-sensitive markets where it's harder to justify getting a more expensive console. This is also where cloud gaming can fail to garner a large enough user base, one which may not be equipped with the internet infrastructure that is required to handle lag-free game streaming.
With the Xbox ecosystem's growing list of devices and services serving as entry points, a handheld console seems inevitable, despite what Phil Spencer has said regarding their hardware roadmap. The question remains, are Xbox's first party studios up to the challenge of attracting more gamers to new hardware, not that Xbox has embraced a slightly more platform agnostic approach?
18 July, 2021 - 03:30pm
Throughout the decades, some companies have thrived and others have failed. While Nintendo, SONY, and Microsoft dominate the console market today, numerous companies have fallen by the wayside, like SEGA, Atari, Phillips, Coleco, and more.
Despite being the tenth bestselling console ever, the Xbox One failed to compete with SONY's PS4. This is partly due to the fact that the console had a lackluster game library. In fact, almost every best-selling game wasn't even an Xbox exclusive. However, the console did see some praise with titles like Halo 5, Titanfall, and Sunset Overdrive.
It was a critical and commercial success, launching beloved franchises, some of the best of which are even now available on the Nintendo Switch, including Donkey Kong Country, Star Fox, Mario Kart, and more. The console also had a hefty lifespan of over a decade, eventually selling 49.1 million units.
It was the NES that really took gaming into a new era with smash hits and some of the best NES games of all time, including Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Contra, and more. Many gamers might be surprised to learn that the console also had a considerably long lifespan, remaining in production in Japan until 2003. Throughout its 20-year run, the NES sold almost 62 million units worldwide.
Aside from the Switch being famous for its versatility, it's also gained popularity for focusing on co-op gameplay, allowing friends and families to play together. To date, the Switch has sold 84.59 million units, but with the new OLED Switch releasing later this year, the number is certain to keep climbing.
However, one of the biggest things that helped the 360 was the release of the Kinect motion sensor halfway through the console's decade-long life. Not only did Kinect Adventures! become the console's bestselling title, but for a brief period, the Kinect became a cultural phenomenon, even serving a prominent role in Paranormal Activity 4.
Luckily, PS-exclusives like LittleBigPlanet, Gran Turismo 5, and the Uncharted franchise helped keep the console competitive. It also had massive late-in-life success with top-selling titles like Grand Theft Auto V and The Last of Us being released in 2013, the same year as the PS4's debut. In total, the PS3 sold almost 87 million units.
Motion-focused games like Wii Fit, Wii Sports, and Just Dance dominated the sales charts, selling tens of millions of copies each. Aside from the motion games, the Wii also had some underrated games and under-the-radar hits, including Donkey Kong Country Returns, WarioWare Smooth Moves, and more.
From Resident Evil to Spyro, Crash Bandicoot, Gran Turismo, Final Fantasy, Tekken, and Metal Gear Solid, the console was completely unstoppable. The PlayStation pushed gaming into the 3D era, forcing every other company to play catch-up. In total, the PS1 went on to sell over 104 million units.
The console also had a steady line of heavily praised exclusive titles like Horizon Zero Dawn, God of War, and the continuation of the Uncharted franchise, which helped continue to give PlayStation the reputation of being the ultimate gamer machine. So far, the PS4 has sold more than 115 million units, and it's currently still for sale, so that number will continue to grow.
Plus, the PS2 came out with an endless line of hit exclusive titles. The console revamped the Final Fantasy series with Final Fantasy X and XII. They even managed to get Disney involved for the crossover games Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts 2. In total, 157.68 million PS2 consoles were sold during the system's lifespan.