Many gamers are upset about the lack of exclusives currently available for the Xbox One. This is a harsh, but fair criticism, with Sony releasing Horizon: Zero Dawn, Nier: Automata, and Persona 5 and Nintendo taking charge with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. These single-player stories were not only critical successes but also financial successes. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has an attach rate of almost 1:1. That kind of success is almost unheard of, but not surprising.
On Microsoft’s side, they haven’t released a solid single-player only adventure in quite some time. With the outstanding success of Halo 5’s microtransactions, it’s easy to see why Microsoft has focused on multiplayer. But rest assured, Phil Spencer said they are definitely looking into single-player games and will not solely focus on multiplayer games.
“As an industry, I want to make sure both narrative-driven single-player games and service-based games have the opportunity to succeed,” said Spencer in a recent interview with The Guardian.
While Spencer wants single-player games to succeed, he understands they face a difficult market:
The audience for those big story-driven games… I won’t say it isn’t as large, but they’re not as consistent. You’ll have things like Zelda or Horizon Zero Dawn that’ll come out, and they’ll do really well, but they don’t have the same impact that they used to have because the big service-based games are capturing such a large amount of the audience. Sony’s first-party studios do a lot of these games, and they’re good at them, but outside of that, it’s difficult – they’ve become more rare; it’s a difficult business decision for those teams, you’re fighting into more headwind.
Only time will tell if Microsoft will stick with games that combine both single-player and multiplayer, like Halo 5, or if it will be entirely single-player driven stories like Horizon or Breath of the Wild. With E3 just around the corner, it’s only a matter of time before we find out Microsoft’s plans. Until then let us know what direction you would like to see Microsoft go in with their exclusives.