Microsoft’s presence at E3 2017 was definitely a different approach than what we saw from others, especially when compared to Sony and Nintendo. While the latter two companies focused very heavily on exclusive games they are currently developing, Microsoft chose to focus on hardware and software bonuses alongside some titles that had dubious levels of exclusivity at best. While the Xbox One X and its claim of being the most powerful console ever created was exciting, the current crop of Xbox One owners were likely more interested in the announcement that original Xbox backward compatibility would be coming to the Xbox One.
At the time, it seemed like an easy announcement to understand, too. Xbox 360 backward compatibility on the Xbox One has been a driving force in online sales, and the original Xbox has a games library that is up there with the all-time greats, featuring titles like Halo, Jade Empire, and Ninja Gaiden. The addition of original Xbox games is driven by another motive as well, however, as Xbox boss Phil Spencer revealed during an interview with Giant Bomb:
“One of the things I worry about…are the single-player story-driven games. It’s hard when so much of the gameplay that happens on a daily basis is on these games that are long and growing and service-based, and then you get a smaller single-player game and what…how does it find its audience when so many hours are taken up [already]?”
Spencer specifically gave a nod to games like Destiny and The Division as examples of games that can demand hundreds of hours from players, and apparently Spencer is worried that this demand will create a smaller market for games with “a beginning, a middle, and end that I can actually see.” That might also explain why games like Sea of Thieves, Dragon Ball FighterZ, and Anthem featured so heavily during the Xbox presentation at E3 2017 – they’re all multiplayer-focused titles that don’t suffer from the same “clear end” issue that Spencer referenced during his interview.
Spencer also admitted that he wasn’t actively pushing for the death of smaller story-driven games, which is a key reason why the original Xbox’s backward compatibility is being launched on the Xbox One so late into that console’s life cycle. If what Spencer believes is consistent in other major developers and publishers – and that seems to be the case, with companies like RPG stalwart BioWare jumping into the multiplayer fray with Anthem – then we may be experiencing a major shift away from what is considered a “normal” video game title, and the growing pains the industry experiences could be rough during that process.
Source: Giant Bomb