At this year’s E3, Microsoft lifted the veil on the world’s most powerful console with the reveal of the Xbox One X. And since that faithful day in June gamers have been waiting with bated breath to get their hands on a system with that much under the hood. But what’s a game console worth if there are no games to play on it? And with this week’s announcement that Crackdown 3 would be delayed to the spring of 2018 it begs the questions – should Microsoft delay the Xbox One X and launch it when they have game’s available to show off its unprecedented levels of power?
Now, this isn’t all to say that there aren’t any big titles coming to the Xbox family of systems this fall and into the holiday season as the system will of course be home to all of the major third-party releases that almost everyone has their eye out for. Games like Destiny 2, Middle-Earth: Shadow of War, Assassin’s Creed: Origins and Star Wars: Battlefront II are all releasing in the next few months and will surely help move consoles well into the new year. However which console they help move is an issue all its own as historically (well this generation at least) third-party games tend to perform much better on the PlayStation 4 than they do on the Xbox One and its unlikely that any of the above titles will sell or perform better on Microsoft’s platform rather than Sony, especially if this trend holds true.
So that leaves the first party games, which (now that Crackdown 3 has been delayed) leaves us with one lone title to help carry Microsoft’s flag – Turn 10’s Forza Motorsport 7 which is releasing in the fall. And while I have no doubt that the game will be a hit with fans and a real showcase for the Xbox One X, it’s very rare that a singular title can be relied on to successfully get a new platform off the ground with the only exceptions being consoles that launched alongside massive, insanely hyped games that only come along once in a generation like Super Mario 64 or more recently, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and not to knock on Forza Motorsport 7′s quality, but unless you are a huge fan of racing games then it probably doesn’t carry the same level of excitement as the games I mentioned above.
So with only one major game coming exclusively to Xbox One this holiday (sorry Cuphead) it makes all the more sense to push the Xbox One X to a point in the calendar when more games are coming and believe it or not, that’s coming sooner than you might realize. If Microsoft were to delay the Xbox One X a few months and launch it in spring of 2018 they could potentially launch it alongside not only Crackdown 3 but also Sea of Thieves, State of Decay 2 and The Last Night – all Xbox console exclusives. Add to that, what is potentially anticipated third-party release in years, Red Dead Redemption 2 which is also slated to launch around that time and you have a launch lineup that would be fitting of the most powerful game console ever made.
Moving out of the crowded holiday gaming season does have other advantages as well. For one, your games are not competing against other platform holders major releases and can put all the attention on yourself. Secondly, its important to remember that this holiday is also the Switch’s first one and will likely be an extremely in demand product especially with Super Mario Odyssey leading the charge. So Microsoft could potentially take a page out of Nintendo’s playbook and push their console to March, effectively releasing their console for their fans early and focusing on the broader market later in the year.
Delays suck. Having to wait longer for something you’re really looking forward to can be a real drag and even hurt your anticipation of that product. But in the case of the Xbox One X it might be in its best interests to hold back, at least for a few month. This will not only allow Microsoft to avoid launching a new system in the middle of an already crowded holiday season but allow for a strong lineup of games to be available for consumers on day 1. Remember, this isn’t a brand-new platform and the console will need a showcase of fantastic games in order to establish itself with gamers and frankly, that’s just not available this November.