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Summer is always a great time for gamers and June has served us with a truckload of games either in development or due for release later in Fall. Xbox Games Showcase was the latest in the series of showcases that we witnessed in June.

All the games at Xbox Games Showcase 2023

Coming on the heels of the PlayStation Showcase and Summer Game Fest, my anticipations were really high. Part of the reason was that PlayStation put up a strong showcase and Summer Game Fest took it a notch higher. My expectation was that the geometric progression would continue. Sadly, I was wrong.

Thirty minutes into the Xbox Games Showcase and I was horribly fighting sleep. Maybe the problem was me. Maybe I set my expectations too high. Or maybe it was Xbox flagrantly flaunting the reason why they lost the console war to PlayStation.

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Just before you call me bluff, let’s backtrack and take a look at the numbers—remember numbers don’t lie. As of December 31, 2022, Xbox Series X|S has sold 18.5 million copies, while PlayStation shipped 19.1 million PS5 consoles in its 2022 fiscal year.

According to VGChartz, PlayStation 5 sold 35.94 million units in 29 months while Xbox Series X|S sold 21.35 million units within the same period. Consequently, PlayStation 5 controls 62.7% market share, leaving Xbox with 37.3%.

It is easy to argue that more Xbox fans are moving to Game Pass, thus the lower console sales. Well, that may be a valid point. However, I cannot validate that claim except I have numbers to work with. Seems like I am sidetracking a lot. Back to Xbox Games Showcase 2023.

Xbox Games Showcase 2023 put up a strong show, but…

Fable revealed at Xbox Games Showcase 2023
Fable

The first problem I noticed after watching the first few games showcased at the Xbox event was that they were mostly cinematic reveals. There was no actual glimpse of gameplay to give fans a feel of what to expect.

I think any developer would be proud to show off the gameplay of their game rather than often excessively filtered cinematic reveals—except they plan to sell snake oil to gamers. If the so-called ‘big’ Xbox exclusive games had nothing to hide, why the deliberate attempt to conceal the gameplay?

If I wanted to watch animations, I would have tuned to Disney or Illumination. I can bet that the bulk of gamers that tuned in to the Xbox Games Showcase 2023 were there to catch a glimpse of actual gameplay.

The absence of gameplay was a big problem

Compare the Xbox Games Showcase to the PlayStation Showcase and the Summer Game Fest and it immediately feels chaffed. PlayStation showcase served us with an action-packed Spider-Man 2 reveal and gameplay. Summer Game Fest gave us exclusive gameplay of Mortal Kombat 1.

Starfield
Starfield

What did Xbox Games Showcase give us? A boring lecture on how Starfield is the best game in the world. After watching Starfield Direct for around 3 minutes, I had to turn it off. I couldn’t endure the torture.

One thing was clear, Xbox’s roster of exclusive games is still a huge joke compared to PlayStation’s. Also, most of the games I thought were great will not be coming out until 2024 leaving me wondering why they had to drag themselves and their loyal fans through an hour of future anticipations.

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Is there a redemption for Xbox? Certainly! I could see the great efforts and resources they have put in to grow the list of their exclusive games. It was right there in Xbox Games Showcase, except that they are mostly 2024 releases.

Xbox Games Showcase had a shameful copy-paste

Phil Spencer, CEO Microsoft Gaming
Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming

When I was watching the Xbox Games Showcase, it was easy to see how Xbox was desperately trying to compete with PlayStation. However, instead of being creative about it, they are just copying. With that approach, the best that Xbox can be is second best.

When Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming emerged on stage at the end of the Clock Work Revolution reveal (which has no release year yet), I didn’t know what to expect. However, I somehow hoped he would talk about some innovations that will help Xbox to crush the competition—maybe a new device even.

“Thank you all for joining us. Today is a special day for me and the team,” he began. “I’m excited to see eleven games showcased from our first-party studios.”

Spencer went ahead to list out all the games. He also listed out 14 games showcased by Xbox’s creative partners. One of the biggest which really caught my attention was Star Wars: Outlaws. The game was a collaboration between Ubisoft, Massive Entertainment, and Lucasfilm Games.

Star Wars Outlaws
Star Wars: Outlaws

Big announcement for Xbox consoles?

“When it comes to our consoles, we have heard your feedback on two fronts,” Spencer said. “First, we have significantly increased our supply of Xbox series X making it easier for fans to find globally. Second, we know you’ve wanted more storage with the Xbox series S and I am excited to share we have some news there as well.”

There was a brief ad that showed the Xbox series S in black with text showing that it now comes with a 1TB SSD. Come on, gamers that needed more space already knew how to expand their storage. What exactly was the point? Asking those with lower storage consoles to ditch them and purchase new ones with larger storage? I really didn’t get the message.

Phil Spencer announced that Xbox Series S will get 1TB storage
Xbox Series X|S

These updates are nothing huge and could have been published in the Xbox blog long before the showcase. Well, PlayStation did a hardware reveal so Xbox must do a hardware reveal to level up. That was exactly how I felt.

By the way, the Xbox Series S with the bigger storage will be on sale from September 1. However, the books are already open for pre-orders.

Conclusion

Clearly, Xbox Games Showcase 2023 was a significant improvement from what we have always known. It presented a roster of games with promises that should excite Xbox fans—although we still don’t know what to expect from them in terms of gameplay.

Also, Xbox fans now know that they should limit their expectations for this year and save all of them for 2024—if we don’t get surprising pushbacks. Xbox has elite first- and third-partners to be crushing the numbers but it seems they are not maximizing the opportunity at their disposal.

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If I have the opportunity to chip in a word of advice to Xbox based on what I saw at the Xbox Games Showcase 2023, I would tell them to focus on building more triple-A exclusive games that will rival the likes of Uncharted, God of War, and Spider-Man.

Xbox Games Showcase 2023 shows that they intend to kickstart the drive in 2024 and I hope they sustain the tempo. Without a mind-blowing roster of exclusive games, Microsoft and Xbox will continue to be second best to Sony and PlayStation.

Did the Xbox Games Showcase 2023 excite you? Share your thoughts on the exclusive reveal and what you think about the future of Xbox in the comment box below.

Did the Xbox Games Showcase 2023 excite you?

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Anthony Emecheta

Anthony Emecheta has over a decade experience as a freelance writer. Gaming has always been a childhood hobby and he is excited to be collaborating with a gaming company as a content creator. It is like having all the things he loves in one place.

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