The Xbox One’s time in the sun only came to an end a few years ago, but at least one person, Seamus Blackey, the original Xbox’s creator, isn’t missing it. According to him, the Xbox One launch had him worried that the new console would kill the Xbox brand completely.
The Xbox One had a very rocky launch in the previous console generation. On top of being inferior to the Playstation 4 in terms of video game exclusives and graphical power, Microsoft also alienated many fans with a slew of announcements that many would-be buyers thought would be privacy-violating or too focused on internet connectivity. The console also launched with a Kinect in every bundle.
The Xbox One was also marketed entirely as a multimedia platform, rather than a video game console. Owners could use the console’s Kinect feature to control their TVs, watch movies, and more, but there was far less emphasis on the games. All of this contributed to the Xbox One never managing to surpass the Playstation 4 in the last console generation. According to Beackey:
“There was a time, at the Xbox One launch, when I was afraid it would be over. Honestly.”
The Xbox One launch thankfully wasn’t actually the end of the brand, especially once Microsoft replaced Don Mattrik with Phil Spencer, who has done a very good job of heading the Xbox portion of Microsoft. And though the Xbox Series X is still lacking exclusives, its graphical power has made it appealing to many gamers this generation.
Xbox has also changed its marketing direction, and is instead pushing the idea of making more people into gamers, hence why it has gotten into cross-platform play, a lack of exclusives, and multiple Xbox programs that allow people to play games not just on the Xbox Series X, but also on PC like the Xbox Game Pass program. Even some of Microsoft’s best exclusives, such as the Halo series, have been ported to PC.
So, despite Beackey’s dread, Xbox seems to be in a very good place right now. Even if it’s still not as successful as the Playstation 5 right now, the fact that Xbox remains one of the “big three” consoles that everyone looks forward to seeing every year.