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Microsoft How Can Xbox "Win" a Generation?

A Link In Time

Break the Ice!
ZD Legend
This is something that I thought would be a fun thought exercise.

Microsoft is the only one of the big 3 to never have a best selling console of a given generation.

So how would they edge out the other two?

Microsoft has historically had the best online infrastructure of the Big 3. That should continue to be a point of advertising for wanting to play on Xbox.

With the Xbox Game Pass, I think a lot more people would be willing to try their games if they had more first party titles. And they bought up a lot of studios recently so the groundwork is there.

Continuing to promote crossplay is also a smart move that Microsoft should continue with, especially if Sony is reluctant to do so. That would garner good will with a lot of people.

There are rumors circulating around that there will be a high end and more budget version of the next Xbox. That's a smart step towards targeting different gaming demographics and would be a good blow to the PS5 if Sony doesn't do something similar.

It's also important not to mess up the initial reveal like Microsoft did with the Xbox One. No always online business and trying to discourage used games. Price at least one model at $400 too.

Of course, it could also happen that both Sony and Nintendo mess up their own marketing and fail hard. But that seems unlikely.

So how would Microsoft have the largest market share in a given generation according to you?


ZD Champion
Oct 13, 2013
The Xbox needs to differentiate itself from the PS4. What can the XBox do that the PS4 can’t?

There is the XB1X. Sure some will want the better specs but most simply wont care as long as their games run fine. The PS4P or PS4S will do them just fine.
Exclusive games. PS4 has quite a few good ones. XB1 has hardly any.
Sure the Xbox has a better online subscription service but that’s not enough enough even still to be a console seller.

You also say Sony and Nintendo will not screw up marketing? Never say never. MS and Nintendo screwed up the marketing of the XB1 and WiiU launches. Sony’s PS3 marketing was a mess also. Others can screw up but best not to count on it.

If MS want the Xbox to be relevant again, they need to take a few leaves from the Nintendo Switch book. Not make a hybrid console. But how to do a proper console launch.

Release a console selling must have game on day 1 console launch.
Have a decent roadmap for the first year of great games, both multiplat and exclusive.
Add in a non gimmick hardware feature that actually improves and changes up how people play the Xbox.
Make the launch console price affordable.
Make sure the consoles are not sold at a loss.
Do not have multiple console versions on sale at launch. Best not to fracture the market that early on.

Finally MS need to learn the lessons Iwata taught the industry. Sure some nerds drool over console specs. The majority don’t care. As long as the games are fun to play they will spend the cash.
The Xbox needs to become a fun first and specs second console. Sure that does not mean ignore console specs, just realise that fun sells way more games than 4KUHD and HDR support ever did.


~ ZD's Pug Dealer ~
ZD Champion
Jul 6, 2011
It isn't going to win a generation. Xbox has no good exclusives anymore and shares its games with Microsoft PC which is a far better choice to go for if you like gaming. Unlike with the 3DS and Wii there is no reason to have both a PC and an Xbox.

Its only purpose is to get people playing games who can't afford computers. Though personally if I didn't already own every current home console and a gaming PC I'd go for PS over Xbox because Microsoft exclusives are crap now and they killed their good franchises.

If they want the next Xbox to do better and take some PS competition then Msoft need to make good first party exclusive titles and get them released right away.


ZD Legend
Nov 29, 2011
Stop playing the hardware power game and start creating meaningful software experiences.

Remember when Halo meant something?

Exclusives matter. GOOD exclusives matter. And Microsoft has no meaningful experiences to be currently had. Microsoft are like the EA of consoles. They feel like a business rather than a body wanting to produce meaningful content for fans.

There's no need to play the power game when even pixel art indies are HD as standard.

The Xbox also has never and will never have a strong Japanese presence which is a massive chunk of the industry.

Microsoft should give it up at this point. They don't make games for art or meaning. They don't seem to care at all and seem contebt just to exist because they can afford to.

If they start giving a damn about what they do then maybe more people will start to and maybe they can win some fans and loyalty back.

But i doubt they'll ever be able to 'win' a generation.

Spiritual Mask Salesman

~ Deus' Pug Smuggler ~
ZD Legend
Site Staff
Oct 18, 2011
The astral plane
@the8thark and I had an interesting discussion on the SB a few months ago, in which he brought up that in the future we may no longer see traditional generation cycles of consoles anymore, and I think that is certainly a possibility.

But I have to agree with what the others have said so far. I have doubts that the Xbox will be able to win a generation. I'm not even sure where to begin on how it could win.

I'd say if they wanted to win their next Xbox will need solid exclusives, something the Xbox One has lacked.

Driving home the console's backwards compatibility, and the fact that people will be able to play any Xbox game from any generation would be smart. And they'd better keep backwards compatibility since it's a pretty big feature.

Online services are something Microsoft has done better than Sony, so that is something they have over them.

I think the Xbox has some cards that can be played, and if played right, it is possible they could win the next gen of gaming. Really depends on games though, it always comes down to the games.

@Deus made a solid point, however, which is a huge blow to Xbox consoles. All the games you can play on Xbox can be played on Microsoft PCs, and PC gaming is a much better choice than buying an Xbox. The Xbox is more in place for people who are still nostalgic and want a console experience, or for people who want to get into gaming but aren't ready to jump into PC gaming.

I'm not sure how having a high end version of the next Xbox console alongside a more budget version of the next Xbox will work out. Maybe more casual gamers will buy the budget version, but I doubt hardcore gamers are going to buy the high end or budget version.


Side note: I know the Wii probably did win Gen 7, but I feel the Xbox 360 had to have done well, I'm not sure if it atleast got close to winning that gen. I think after hype for the Wii dwindled and the motion control fad ended the dust cleared and the Xbox 360 was the console that remained relevant.
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Jul 1, 2012
I think Xbox suffers from lack of brand identity. It’s always plaugued them. I think they’ve done great in the resurgence of the Xbox One, but they’re still yet to really differentiate themselves. I don’t think it will stop them from outselling other consoles, which I predict they will.


ZD Champion
Oct 13, 2013
Stop playing the hardware power game and start creating meaningful software experiences.
You nailed it. Quit making games thay are all show and no substance. Well MS need to get their 3rd party developers to do this also. MS do make a few games unlike Sony who make almost none. Still the Xbox is mainly a 3rd party software console. I think meetings with the third parties they work with need to explain this.

I think Xbox suffers from lack of brand identity. It’s always plaugued them.
I agree also. Nintendo is Mario and Zelda and Fox and etc etc. The Playstation has always been about the call of duties and all those realistic looking stealthy/shooting games. As well as things like Final Fantasy, Dynasty Warriors, Dragon Quest etc etc. If you buy a Nintendo or Playstation console you know what you'll get during it's lifetime. Buy an Xbox and it's a real crapshoot. You don't know what games you'll get. No way to know if the console investment will be worth it until after the fact and by then it's often too late.

@the8thark I think Sony has so much name recognition with the Playstation that even its least successful home console, the PS3, sold 85 million.
Sony did work hard to make their Playstation a household name. Even my folks know what a Playstation is and they don't really do computers at all. Sony doubled donof this with the PS4. Sure the first year of the WiiU/PS4/XB1 was terrible, Sony finally pulled their finger out and we all know the end result. Sony even got me to get a slim PS4. The first non Nintendo home console I've ever owned. Sony is obviously doing something right for that to happen.

@Spiritual Mask Salesman Believe it or not, the 360 came in third in the 7th generation. The PS3 barely managed to outsell it with some high profile exclusives like Journey and The Last of Us at the end.
That's like saying our PS3 sales were slightly more amazing than the XBox360 sales. All of the big 3 that generation sold really well. When your console sales are 80 million plus, that's a success. Regardless if you came in first or third. I think this attitude some of the developers and consoel makers have that we have to win a generation and that's all that matters is wrong. All 3 succeeded that generation. If I released a console and it came third with 80 million sales, I'd be very happy indeed. 3rd? So what? 80 million sales - wow, that's huge.

@the8thark and I had an interesting discussion on the SB a few months ago, in which he brought up that in the future we may no longer see traditional generation cycles of consoles anymore, and I think that is certainly a possibility.
I believe the traditional console generation cycle is dead right now. I think it's over now. We have the PS4P and XB1X which break the tratitional console cycle. Also Nintendo broke it with the Switch. They had no choice but it did happen. I think the big 3 will just release the consoles whenever they want to now. Be it a new console or a pro version. MS and Sony will just keep trying to one up each other. Nintendo will do whatever it wants as it owns the portable gaming space. It has since 1989. As long as their consoels get better versions of the popular phone games, all good. Nintendo's competition these days is the iPhone and Android devices.

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