It’s no secret that the Xbox One has been suffering from somewhat of an exclusive problem for some time now.
While it certainly would be incorrect to suggest that no new exclusives have been released on the Xbox One over the past few years, it does seem that such titles come too few and far between and then also sometimes fail to attract a person in the manner that they need to in order to sell a console.
The last three years has seen Microsoft release new entries into some of their most established video game franchises (such as Halo, Forza and Gears of War), however, some have argued that these franchises are beginning to show clear signs of series fatigue.
Barring Cuphead and the upcoming Sea of Thieves, it also doesn’t seem as if there is enough public attention being placed on new exclusive IP available on the Xbox One, despite the fact that there are quite a few rather interesting upcoming indie titles announced for the console at E3 last year.
Quite simply, many believe that in recent years there hasn’t really been enough new captivating big-name exclusive titles released on the Xbox One – the type of games that would make you buy a new system just to play.
Last year, Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, was quoted with saying that Microsoft was committed to rectifying the Xbox One’s exclusive problem by growing first-party content and studios.
Recent rumours have suggested that Microsoft may be adhering to this promise as the company has reportedly shown some interest in purchasing publishing giants, EA and Valve, as well as PUBG Corporation. Will such purchases be able to put an end to Xbox’s exclusive crisis?
To answer this question, an analysis of each of these options will be undertaken to determine whether such purchases will not only end the exclusive crisis, but also bolster the Xbox brand.
EA is undeniably one of the biggest video game publishers in the world and have created a number of very popular franchises.
Yearly best-selling video game lists are often populated with titles such as Battlefield, Madden and FIFA selling millions of copies each year and bringing in even more revenue through the implementation of microtransactions.
EA has stated in the past that they are strongly focused on producing multiplayer experiences as they believe that the current nature of the gaming landscape places a strong emphasis on the social experience.
This whole idea seems very much in line with previous suggestions made by Xbox head, Phil Spencer, in that data suggests most people do tend to spend more time focused on multiplayer type titles as opposed to single-player titles.
If Microsoft were to buy EA and make any of these franchises exclusive to the Xbox/Windows eco-system, there is no denying that many consumers would definitely see certain benefits to owning an Xbox.
However, analysts suggest that Microsoft purchasing EA and making acclaimed franchises exclusive to their console is somewhat unlikely as this would mean a significant drop in revenue for the company – large enough to make it very hard to justify having purchased the publisher.
Some have argued that should Microsoft purchase EA, they would potentially still make existing EA titles multi-platform in future, in addition to now having a number of studios to work on creating Microsoft exclusive titles, but others suggest that it would be more practical for Microsoft to purchase a small development studio as opposed to an entire publisher to make exclusive titles.
The Valve Corporation is probably most well-known for having created the PC video game digital distribution platform, Steam, as well as for publishing critically-acclaimed series, such as Half-Life, Counter-Strike, Portal and Dota.
Despite having published some games for console, Valve is often strongly associated with the PC market, and rightfully so, when one looks at the fact that some of the most played games every month generally tend to be Valve titles, in the form of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2.
While some analysts don’t think that Microsoft acquiring Valve is impossible, they also don’t feel that acquiring the company will really aid in reducing the exclusive problem facing the Xbox brand, but rather will help ensure Microsoft’s dominance in the PC realm of gaming and will perhaps see more titles receive cross-platform play capabilities.
Perhaps, in the long-term such a purchase would help improve the Xbox brand’s exclusive problem, but probably not in the life span of the Xbox One. If Microsoft really wanted to win the console war, all they need to do is release Half-Life 3 as an Xbox exclusive.
PUBG Corporation is the developing studio behind one of the most popular games in the world at the moment, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG). The game has sold over 25 million copies and is currently only available on PC and Xbox with no release date having been provided for the PS4 version of the game.
It has already been reported that Microsoft has attempted to make the PUBG exclusivity deal permanent as opposed to just timed. Perhaps, one way in which to achieve this goal would be to simply purchase the developing studio.
PUBG is a very popular game and thus it would certainly help improve the image of Xbox’s exclusive roster, but it has already been released (in preview mode, at least) and thus many may not think much about this addition unless PUBG Corporation is able to keep interest levels in the game as high as they are now or decide to produce new titles in the future that turn out to be just as popular.
PUBG Corporation is also only a single development studio and some do feel that maybe a bit more may be needed to help rectify Xbox’s exclusive problem.
Will Purchasing EA, Valve and/or PUBG Corp Help Boost The Xbox Brand?
There has always been somewhat of a debate surrounding the importance of exclusives. Some suggest that they do have a major role in the success of a system, in that they become a unique selling point, and then others believe that their role is somewhat minimal and that other factors, such as price, the system one’s friends own or the graphical output of the system, play a greater role.
Many have suggested that the major reason the Xbox One may be lagging so far behind the PS4 in terms of sales is that it doesn’t have as many quality exclusives.
While the overall impact exclusives may have on the success of a system can be debated, it cannot be denied that the exclusive availability of a particular game on a certain piece of hardware probably has affected some players’ decision to invest in said system.
It’s particularly difficult to argue against this idea when one analyses at how the extremely positive reception of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild impacted the sales of the Nintendo Switch and then how Sony believe that the upcoming Spider-Man title will ultimately push the PS4 over the 100-million-unit sales mark.
Quite simply, Microsoft knows that the Xbox One needs more exclusives and they have pledged to work on this problem, but it’s very difficult to see how purchasing EA or Valve will offer any immediate solutions in the same way that purchasing PUBG Corporation would.
However, purchasing EA and Valve may bring other benefits, such as the ability to include more titles in the “Play Anywhere” initiative as well as allowing for more cross-platform multiplayer experiences that may create other unique selling points.
Whether or not Microsoft will eventually go through with any of these rumoured purchases remains to be seen, but any such purchases would certainly present some interesting future situations.
But, what do you think? Do you think Microsoft buying EA, Valve and/or PUBG Corp is a good or bad idea? Will it help the Xbox’s exclusive issue? Please share in the comments down below.