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Gameverse | August 12, 2020

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What is the Legacy of the Xbox One?

Matthew Byrd

Xbox One

Microsoft has made it clear that the launch of the Xbox Series X will not mean the immediate death of the Xbox One. In fact, Microsoft will not produce true Xbox Series X exclusives for at least a couple of years.

Still, the release of any next-gen console gives us cause to look back on what came before. So join us as we take a look at the legacy of the Xbox One in order to try to better understand how Microsoft’s gaming console will be remembered.

The Xbox One Will Be Remembered for Its Disastrous Debut

Few consoles in recent memory have proven the truth of the old saying “You only get one chance at first impressions” quite like the Xbox One.

When Microsoft properly debuted the Xbox One, they talked about a console that was expensive, burdened by controversial features at least a decade ahead of their time, and a high price tag. Sony presented the PlayStation 4 as a console you wanted in your life. Microsoft talked about the Xbox One like it was a drill sergeant that would force you to get your **** together.

Had the Xbox One grown into the console Microsoft tried to force it to be at the start, things could have been different. Instead, Microsoft spent too much time listening to soothsayers who foretold the coming of a new age of gaming and less time listening to common sense.

The Xbox One Will Not be Remembered For Its Games

Obviously, all discussions of console wars and similar topics are subject to often extreme levels of subjectivity. However, we think that you’re going to have a hard time arguing that the Xbox One had better exclusives than the PlayStation 4.

It’s tempting to boil the problems of the Xbox One’s library down to its lack of a killer app. To be fair, there’s some truth to that. Franchise mainstays like Gears of War and Halo failed to truly impress with their Xbox One exclusive installments, and new series (such as Sunset Overdrive) failed to quite “get there” despite their relative quality. Even “gimme” games like Halo: The Master Chief Collection were plagued by issues.

Yet, the biggest problem with the Xbox One X’ game library is its best titles either fail to inspire more than a select group of gamers (such as Forza Horizon 4) or are available elsewhere on platforms which may be a better fit for them (such as Cuphead on Nintendo Switch).

The Xbox One Will Be Microsoft’s PlayStation 3

The PlayStation 2 is more than the best-selling video game console of all-time. It was a triumphant hardware success that was bolstered by an incredible library of diverse software. Sony’s follow-up, the PlayStation 3, was less of a success. In fact, it left many shrugging their shoulder wondering how a company atop the world released something so unsubstantial.

It’s a similar story for Microsoft and the Xbox One. The Xbox 360 nearly upset the dynamic of the entire industry with its revolutionary features, incredible game library, and stellar online service. It’s arguably one of the greatest consoles ever.

The Xbox One, meanwhile, just fell flat. It wasn’t a bad console in the ways that matter most, but its generally “meh” nature felt so out of place for a console manufacturer that was seemingly at the top of its game.

The Xbox One Will Be Associated With The Start of Game Pass

It’s funny. Even though the Xbox One isn’t especially notable for many individual games, its best feature may be a service that offers you many of those games.

One way or another, cloud gaming and video game “streaming” will be a big part of the industry. Microsoft combines those concepts in Game Pass: a collection of game accessed via a monthly service fee which you download and access as you go.

No other company has been able to match Game Pass’ combination of collection, technology, and price. It’s the most practical example yet of how the future of gaming may not involve paying $60+ for every title that comes out.

The Xbox One Will Be Praised for Backward Compatibility, Cross-Play, and other Consumer-Friendly Features

Given that the Xbox One started as a relatively consumer-unfriendly console, we understand if you’re shocked to learn that the Xbox One eventually became the gold standard for consumer-friendly features.

In recent years, Microsoft has pushed for the preservation of true, hardware-enabled backward compatibility as well as the advancement of cross-play technology which allows all gamers to play together regardless of which console they own. They’ve also pushed for the development of more accessible hardware which allows a greater variety of gamers to play the games they love.

Our sincere hope is that Microsoft continues to push for inclusivity and consumer innovation in the future. They’ve already forced rival companies to keep up with their progress thus far.