Microsoft’s Xbox team kicked off its Xbox Fanfest at Gamescom 2016 in Cologne, Germany today, and Head of Xbox Games Marketing Aaron Greenberg gave an interview to Engadget to talk about the growth of the Xbox ecosystem. The interview is very interesting, and the Xbox exec shared that he is satisfied with the current state of the Xbox ecosystem and he also reiterated his confidence that the upcoming Project Scorpio will be the best gaming console to be released next year.
In the meantime, the Xbox One is still trailing behind Sony’s very successful Playstation 4. While the Xbox One is reportedly selling better than the Xbox 360 at the same point in their lifecycle, Microsoft no longer discloses its console sales numbers and now considers that engagement on Xbox Live is a more important metric. When asked by
When asked by Engadget how the Xbox team plans to close the gap with Sony, Greenberg answered:
We’re focused on a few things. I’d say first we’re focused on growing the userbase of our games, bringing our games to as many gamers as possible, that’s why you see a lot of our big franchises on Windows 10. That allows more gamers than ever before to play titles like Gears of War, Forza Horizon, etc. From a console ecosystem standpoint, we’re seeing really healthy console sales, really healthy engagement. Year-over-year for the month of July we saw Xbox One usage up 18 percent, so also really healthy.
Sony’s had a lot of success as well. I think what you’re seeing is that the console market is really healthy, console sales are doing really well in general, software sales are strong. It’s been a good industry for both of us, and we’re innovating in different ways. We’re innovating in a way where we know a lot of gamers are multi-device gamers, they don’t just buy one system, and so we want to be able to have the same types of experiences on Xbox Live, the same games, the same friends, both in the living room on their console or at work, on vacation or at school on their PC. You should be able to stay connected, and play the same games through things like Play Anywhere. That’s really been where we’ve been focused on.”
And so, it seems that Greenberg and the Xbox team believes that “Xbox” is now bigger than the Xbox One and turning into a true gaming ecosystem that aims to deliver a consistent gaming experience across devices. Xbox Play Anywhere, which will soon allow you to buy a game once and play it on both your Xbox One and your Windows 10 PC, is certainly a big incentive to join the Xbox crowd, but it remains to be seen if other game studios will follow the steps of Microsoft Studios which for now is the only game developer backing the initiative.
As console manufacturers are also iterating faster during this hardware generation, Engadget also asked Greenberg if this could be the last console generation before we see consoles upgrades continually happening. Here is Greenberg’s answer:
For us, we think the future is without console generations, we think that the ability to build a library, a community, to be able to iterate with the hardware, we’re making a pretty big bet on that with Project Scorpio. We’re basically saying ‘this isn’t a new generation, everything you have continues forward and it works.’ We think of this as a family of devices.
But we’ll see, we’re going to learn from this, we’re going to see how that goes. So far I’d say based on the reaction there appears to be a lot of demand and interest around Project Scorpio, and we think it’s going to be a pretty big success. If the games and the content deliver, which I think they will do, I think it will change the way we think about the future of console gaming.”
While we don’t know a lot about Project Scorpio yet, the Xbox team previously revealed during E3 2016 that the upcoming console will be 4K-ready with 6 Teraflops of computing power, but there would be no exclusives “Project Scorpio” games though. However, Sony is reportedly getting ready to introduce its Playstation 4 NEO next month, and the new console is expected to support 4K TV sets as well as Sony’s own virtual reality platform, the Playstation VR.
Overall, does Microsoft really needs to catch up to Sony in console sales? As of today, playing games on Xbox is a great experience. The Xbox One S is the best Xbox ever, Microsoft is also iterating fast with the Xbox system software, and the console is already getting the first Universal Windows Platforms apps. If you own a Windows 10 PC, it’s even better as you can stream games from your Xbox One to your PC, and soon you’ll be able to play some Microsoft Studios games on both platforms.
Microsoft would really need to worry if game developers were no longer willing to develop games for the Xbox, or if Xbox and Windows 10 exclusives could not match the quality of Playstation 4 exclusives. So far, however, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Are you as confident as Aaron Greenberg for the future of the Xbox ecosystem? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.