Xbox fans waited a year for last night’s press conference. That’s not a slight, but it needs to be put into context: there’s been no PlayStation Experience equivalent over the past 12 months from the folks in Redmond; the company certainly didn’t hold any media briefings at the Tokyo Game Show. No, what you saw last night was your single annual update from Microsoft – and it showed how far behind the company continues to be.

Let’s be clear here: there were some great games on display at last night’s showcase – and many of them you’ll be playing on the PlayStation 4. The green giant leaned heavily on launch exclusives and world premieres: padding to fulfil Phil Spencer’s quota. Many of these games looked great – the Blade Runner-esque The Last Night a particular standout – but very few of them demonstrated why you’ll need an Xbox One X, the most powerful console in the world. Apparently.

Again, the likes of ANTHEM and Assassin’s Creed Origins dazzled – but outside of Forza Motorsport 7, the platform holder’s first-party didn’t do anything to justify the existence of the organisation’s new box; Crackdown 3 was even lacking its trademark destruction – though allegedly it still exists, the manufacturer just decided against showing it on stage for some reason. To be fair, Ori and the Will of the Wisps looked lovely, too – the only other new Microsoft published title announced by the way.

The manufacturer would perhaps argue that the advantages of the Xbox One X will be fully demonstrated by the likes of Destiny 2, Star Wars Battlefront, and Call of Duty: WWII: big third-party blockbusters that unfortunately have their marketing tied to PlayStation. But the big takeaway from last night’s show for us is that the conversation’s already changed, and Microsoft’s once again showing it’s two steps behind.

Because despite the existence of the PlayStation 4 Pro, the conversation surrounding Sony this year has not been one of power but of content instead. Yakuza 0 and Persona 5 – ostensibly two PlayStation 3 ports – didn’t delight because of their graphics. Nor did NieR Automata or What Remains of Edith Finch. Even an argument could be made for Horizon: Zero Dawn – yes, it’s one of the best looking games ever made, but it’s the characters and gameplay that made it feel so fresh.

And as we await a Sony press conference expected to be stuffed wall-to-wall with predominantly exclusive games, it reinforces the notion that we’re seeing a Microsoft still very much two steps behind. Power mattered when these new-gen consoles were fresh and had similar libraries – but the PS4 now has by far the best selection of software, and no amount of teraflops is going to bridge that gap. The game of catch-up goes on, but PlayStation continues to have a huge head-start.


Do you agree with Sammy that Microsoft is still playing catch-up? Do you think that he's not giving Xbox enough credit for creating the most powerful console ever made? Flop out your thoughts in the comments section below.

Are you going to buy an Xbox One X? (353 votes)

Hell yeah, give it to me now

7%

Maybe, but I need to see a lot more first

15%

Nah, I'm not really interested

78%

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