As a gamer in this console generation, I’m sure you wondered exactly why the Xbox One exclusives are so bad this generation and why PS4’s are so good? I wondered this myself so I researched the internet trying to find the answer to this interesting question.
PS4 exclusives are better than Xbox as Sony has a fantastic organization structure with its developers and looks after their first-party developers. Microsoft had a poor relationship with its developers and the Xbox One had many canceled projects so its exclusives lacked both quality and diversity.
Although this question is quite complicated as there are many different factors that have to be considered to really understand why the Playstation 4 did so well and why the Xbox One did so poorly. Don’t worry as everything will be discussed in detail.
Sonys Organisational Structure
Before talking about why Xbox One did so poorly with exclusives it’s important to understand why exactly Sony did so good. This was achieved by how Sony treats its first-party developers which is best shown by an organisational restructure that was announced in March 2018
This is a quote straight from Sonys press release.
Now if you worked in an organisation before you know whenever a big organisational change happens the wheels were already turning. Sony understood way before March 2018 just how important developing “the most attractive and powerful first-party titles” was to achieving success as a gaming company.
Sony understood then and understands more so now that the main reason you purchase a console is to play exclusive games on it, Microsoft lived to regret this mistake.
However most importantly in the same report, Sony stressed the importance of communications within its organisation.
“Ensuring coordination between organisation” is extremely important in any business especially a company as big as Sony. Communication between Playstation and it’s first-party developers arguably is the most important quality for its success as a gaming company since games should always be a priority.
Sony wanted to streamline the communication process between itself and it’s 15 first-party developers to make developing games as easy as possible. If you worked in any successful organisational you will understand how important clear communication is to success.
Playstation has made it as easy as possible for developers to ask questions and communicate with each other and Sony itself, and the success this process has caused is perfectly demonstrated by not just the quantity of Playstation exclusives but rather the quality of them.
Sony Puts A Lot Of Trust With It’s First Party Developers Xbox Does Not
Sony puts a huge amount of faith with its first-party developers and they are justly rewarded for these efforts. This is perfectly demonstrated by one of the best games of this generation Horizon Zero Dawn. Check out a review of the game below.
The game’s developers Gorilla were only known for Killzone and whilst not a poor franchise by any means it was a standard FPS but when Sony got approached by the developers it was a massive risk thinking an FPS developer could produce a complicated post-apocalyptic open-world story-driven game but evidently Gorilla succeded and Sony were rewarded.
Similar story to Sony being approached by Cory Barlog the creative director at SIE Santa Monica Studio of revamping God Of War a series that fell off in the previous direction. He proposed a completely revamped over the shoulder camera angle and a father-son story and I can tell you I’m playing the game now and it is absolutely fantastic and of the best action games, I have ever played.
Even more impressive is the time Sony gives to certain exclusives, the perfect example is the game dreams media molecule from the creators of Little Big Planet that was announced with the PS4 is 2013.
As or writing this game hasn’t even been released yet and has gone through several game redesigns. However, Sony still choosing to persist with the developer even amongst all this time and changes speak volumes on the excellent relationship Sony has with its first-party developers.
All these factors showcase Sony has a fantastic relationship with its developers and has confidence in their ability to get stuff done. Imagine if they didn’t share this trust they wouldn’t have several of the best games this generation exclusive or not.
Sony Takes Risks With Developers Microsoft Does Not
Contrastingly Microsoft takes the exact opposite approach and plays a risk-free game ultimately to they’re downfall. They keep on releasing the same exclusives games, Halo, Gears and Forza and it actually has become a meme but a meme that has a very real basis in reality
Not all Sony games become hits but the ones that do become successful Sony rights gets rewarded. Even though Gears & Halo have an excellent back catalogue of games they are very safe because Microsoft has done them before.
Microsoft, not taking risks is perfectly demonstrated but the companies treatment with Quantic Dreams the developer Of Heavy Rain & Fahrenheit.
The head developer of Quantic Dreams David Cage said the following about Microsoft refused a port of Heavy Rain to the Xbox due to the story involving child abduction.
For me, that was a very interesting signal. It was like, you know what, I don’t think we can work together, because you don’t understand what I’m to achieve here. They were scared of the scandal and scared of what people may write and what people may think.”David Cage
Microsoft also introduced a ridiculous parity clause which requires that any games released for other platforms had come out on the Xbox one arcade at the same time or never be released at all to make Xbox owners supposedly “feel special” Clearly this caused developers to flee Microsoft is droves and is baffling that they went through with the clause.
Despite Quantic Dreams new game beyond two souls not doing too well, the refusal of Microsoft to make a port of the fantastic Heavy Rain which I played extensively speaks volumes on the failure of Microsoft as a gaming company.
You NEED to take risks and I can guarantee if Microsoft had a different mentality when it comes to .creating new and interesting games it would have been far more successful this console generation, and its the treatment of Quantic Dreams is the perfect illustration of that.
Sony Takes Indie Developers Very Seriously
In recent years Indie games have become more and more important to developers and Playstation noticed this a while back even the PS4 was announced which could very be why it did so well.
Sony assists with both advertising Indie games on the PS Store and they help with porting the games on the system. Everything they can do to help Sony tries its best.
Whereas listen to what Jonathon Blow the creator of the successful Indie game Braid had to say about Microsoft.
“Microsoft treats independent developers very badly,(Microsoft stance with indie developers is to)put you through as much pain as you will endure in order to extract whatever [they] feel like this week.”Jonathon blow Creator Of Braid
This isn’t a single occurrence as brian Provinciano the creator of the old-school parody game Retro City Rampage said working with Sony was like a “coffee shop chat” whilst Microsoft had a “intimidating corporate vibe” and had nothing but praise for Sonys treatment of his indie game
“Sony’s been incredibly supportive and promoted the game very well,It’s received a generous amount of promotion at no cost to me, from [advertisements] on the PS Store to events such as E3 and even having it playable on kiosks at every Walmart, Best Buy, GameStop, Target and Future Shop across North America.”
Now, these quotes are from 2013 but I believe they perfectly foreshadowed the eventual fate of Sony and Microsoft.
Clearly Sony really cares about its game developers whether indie or first-party and it shows with the wonderful freedom and trust they hand their developers which is in complete contrast to Microsoft. Sony makes it a seamless process Microsoft has a lot of red tape to deal with in a shallow corporate environment
Sony is still continuing this trend as it has already been leaked that Sony has released the PS5 dev kit for game developers which you can see in the photo below, and it shows the continuous healthy relationship Sony has with its developers.
Since Sony overhauled its infrastructure the benefits have kept on piling up and it’s highly likely Sony will not change how it interacts with its developers for all the incoming titles released on the PS5 and Sonys exclusive success will keep on happening.
PS5 anyone? pic.twitter.com/cBggZTIty4— The Drunk Cat™ (@Alcoholikaust) November 30, 2019
Now we’ve discussed everything Sony did right now let’s look at everything Microsoft has done wrong
Why Are Xbox One Exclusives So Bad?
Xbox One Has No Real Exclusives
Whilst the Xbox Game pass is arguably the best deal in gaming(read more about it here) it doesn’t hide the fact that the Xbox has no real exclusives due to Xbox’s “play anywhere” feature.
Xbox One play anywhere is a label given to specific video games that are released on Xbox One and Windows 10Pcs. If you buy a game with the label you will be able to play it on either device.
However, what might seem like a strength of the Xbox is far from it. The issue is assuming you have a high-end gaming PC what reasons are there to incentivise you to purchase an Xbox One if you can simply play the key exclusives on your superior PC gaming machine?
Even if Xbox One exclusives were considerably better and you really liked them, playing games on your powerful PC would be a better option. You will always choose to purchase a PS4 or a Nintendo Switch for all the exclusives these platforms give you; Xbox One just falls flat in comparison.
In hindsight, Microsoft play anywhere initiative did make sense on paper but it removed what a true console exclusive was as a true Xbox exclusive doesn’t exist anywhere. Games like God Of War and Uncharted 4 can only be played on one device, the PS4 you simply cannot say the same with Xbox exclusives which isn’t even talking about how poor Xbox exclusives are.
Xbox One Exclusives Lack Both Quality & Quantity
Whilst Microsoft in 2018 realised it’s fault and acquired 5 new first-party developers: Ninja Theory, The Coalition, Undead Labs, Playground Games, and Compulsion Games the damage was already done this generation.
Whilst previous generation Xbox was blessed with excellent exclusives like Halo 1-3 and Gears 1-3 plus horror games like Alan Wake this generation the exclusives lack not only quantity but quality as well.
Now what makes the list even worse is it’s 2 years old and many included Xbox games are playable on the PC but you can still see the quantity differences. PS4 roughly has double the number of exclusives as Xbox One which I believe stems back from how Microsoft treats indie developers and the way Sonys treat organisation with their developers.
Watch this video for an in-depth look into how disappointing the Xbox One lineup has been this generation compared to the PS4
To put it into perspective I struggled to compile a list of the best 5 Xbox One exclusives for this website as the console simply lacks AAA exclusives that are not named Gears, Halo or Forza and there’s only so many times you an release the same type of games.
Even die-hard fans of those releases are going to bored of the lack of variety especially as Halo 5 although an 84 on Metacritic was not well received by die-hard fans and since Bungie left the series is considered to be on the decline.
This showcases the massive issue with Xbox as the triple AAA exclusives are also lacking in quality. None of the 3 mentioned has a Metacritic score of above 91 and that is Forza which is a car game. Whereas God Of War has 94, Uncharted 4 has 94 and Spiderman an 87!
Even Crackdown 3 a game that was delayed for years finally released in 2019 to be met with a dissapoinrating 60 on Metacritic. State of decay an open-world zombie game was also delayed but ending up a bang average 66 on Metacritic.
If all these games were in the high 80s there would be more reason to buy an Xbox but they are not whilst PS4 is blessed with many high rated exclusives.
Microsoft released Sea Of Thieves which was supposed to be a big plus for the console. However, it demonstrated the companies failing as it was sold full price lacking much content at all, filled with boring pointless fetch quests and massive grinding without anything to note.
Sea Of Thieves was supposed to be a key Microsoft exclusive but it currently stands at 69 on Metacritic and the best description is a gigantic waste of potential. It was another underwhelming exclusive in an already thin library of games.
Check out the review here,it’s a shame as the game could have been very special but I believe releasing a game so lacking in content relates back to Microsoft poor organisational structure with its developers especially when compared to Sony.
Xbox One Exclusives Lack Diversity
The exclusives don’t just lack quality and quantity they lack diversity. You can only play Gears, Halo and Forza so many times before you get bored of the formula and that’s if you like the games! What if you don’t? What does Xbox offer you?
Whereas PlayStation is blessed with not just high-quality AAA games but more important a variety of AAA games. Just out my top 5 list of PS4 games here but both BloodBourne Uncharted 4, Horizon Zero Dawn are completely different AAA gaming experiences and there is something for everyone on PS4.
Playstation has so many different developers and Sony looks after they’re developers and has a mixture of AAA studios and more independent developers which they give freedom to. Microsoft main games are 1 FPS, 1 driving simulator and one third-person shooter. If you don’t like any of these genres? Then tough luck.
Microsoft Had A Number Of Failed Exclusives
Microsoft foolishly decided against making Fable 4 a series that was massively popular on the Xbox & Xbox 360 that whilst not a guaranteed success it likely could have been.. Lionhead studios the creators of Fable really wanted to make it Fable 4 instead of the free to play game Fable legends that Microsoft wanted.
Ultimately neither game was created and Microsoft closed down the studios shutting down one of they’re key developers showcasing Microsoft failures compared to PS4, on not letting a studio fulfil their creative vision.
Although there is news that the same studio of Forza Playground games is developing Fabl4 which could be a launch title for the Xbox Scarlett, read more about the new developments here.
Nowwhere is Microsofts failings this generation best illustrated then with they’re treatmeant of Scalebound. Scalebound is exactly what the Xbox One is lacking an open world RPG game involving dragons, a title drastically different from Gears, Halo Forza.
However, Microsoft foolishly cancelled the project because the company Platimum games had unsatisfactory progress at a time when Xbox exclusives were seriously lacking. Contrast this to Sony’s treatment of dreams media molecule allowing the game to be developed for 5 years with numerous redevemopments showcases Microsoft was the artchietecutre of they’re own demise this generation.n
Check out an extended gameplay demo of the Scalebound here and it’s a big shame it was cancelled because it looks interesting. There are rumours that the Nintendo will take on the project with the Switch with could leave a rightful sour taste in Microsoft mouth if it becomes successful and honestly they deserve it.