Microsoft in 2016 will work to improve its first party games lineup on both Xbox One and Windows 10. The bad news? The best games are still Xbox only.
“Last year we were proud to offer you the greatest games lineup in Xbox history, and we are thrilled to see all the fun you’re having playing them,” Microsoft Corporate Vice President Of Marketing For Xbox Mike Nichols explains in a new post to Xbox Wire. “With great new games, hundreds of additional titles coming to Xbox One Backward Compatibility, a wave of investments in Xbox and gaming on Windows 10, new Xbox Live updates and features for the console including Cortana on Xbox One, 2016 is shaping up to be an even bigger year for gamers.”
The big thing I’m looking at here is Windows 10. As everyone must know, Microsoft pretty much dropped the ball with Windows gaming over the years—arguably, more than once—but it has pledged to change things (again) with Windows 10.
With that in mind, Microsoft has announced that it will deliver the following Windows 10 game experiences in 2016. To be clear, these are first party titles—i.e. games made by Microsoft-owned game studios—only, and in rough chronological order.
Cobalt (Steam) Feb. 2, 2016
Killer Instinct: Season 3 March 2016
Fable Legends Open Beta Spring 2016
Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition. Spring 2016
Gears of War: Ultimate Edition. Spring 2016
Halo Wars 2. Fall 2016
Sea of Thieves. 2016
(Also, Minecraft will receive “even more updates” throughout 2016.)
What’s not clear here is how these games will be delivered. One game, Cobalt, which will also ship for Xbox One, is listed as being a Steam deliverable. I would have assumed that the other titles were Windows Store apps, but given Cobalt, I’m not so sure. Are some of these games just traditional Win32/desktop games?
It’s worth noting that many of these titles—Halo Wars 2, Fable Legends, ReCore, Sea of Thieves, Gigantic, Killer Instinct: Season 3, and Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition, will also ship on Xbox One. But perhaps more interesting is the list of new games Microsoft announced that will ship only on Xbox One:
Gears of War 4. Multiplayer Beta in Spring 2016/Launch in Fall 2016
Quantum Break. April 5, 2016
Crackdown 3. Multiplayer in Summer 2016
Those are arguably bigger than anything in the Windows 10 list. And that’s the problem, I think. It’s time to start treating platform exclusives as Xbox One/Windows 10 exclusives.