X019 – Microsoft’s Most Ambitious Plans for 2019 and Beyond

Earlier today, Microsoft had a massive showcase of what is to come for their console and their services come this holiday. Inside Xbox, which usually lists upcoming Game Pass games and one or two titles that are coming to the platform. Today, in particular, was special because of the amount of content on display.  Overall, there were;

  • 20 Total Game Announcements
  • 30 Games on game pass
  • Announcement regarding xCloud

On To The Games!

Above all, the games were the main highlight of the show. Some highlights include Halo Reach, 3 Yakuza games, Crossfire X, and Age of Empires 4. These games show a lot of promise and are all Game Pass-eligible too. We got a taste of some new IPs also, particularly from Rare and Obsidian studios.

We also have several indie titles in the mix, like Tell Me Why from the people behind Life is Strange, and Drake Hollow, a visually appealing crafting survival game by developer Molasses Flood.

One of the most shocking reveals came from Square Enix, as they made a dual announcement. Firstly, their lineup of Final Fantasy games, from Final Fantasy VII up to Final Fantasy XV, will be made available to Game Pass users starting in 2020. Secondly, beginning in 2020, they are going to make all Kingdom Hearts HD collections available to Xbox players, and a new demo for Kingdom Hearts III available today.  This is a massive leap for Xbox, as it will introduce a wide array of people to universes that were otherwise platform-locked.

My second biggest shock came from the reveal for Halo: Reach. For a game that has such a loyal fanbase, there is a lot of hope and worry around the December 3 release date. Bringing this title into the Master Chief Collection is a significant step, as it finally completes the saga that Microsoft had wanted to set up with the Collection.

Overall, the title selection is impressive, with a mix of titles from both more significant, more established studios, and smaller indie groups. It shows Microsoft’s commitment to bringing games to all audiences.

What Is xCloud?

xCloud is a cloud-gaming service that Microsoft currently has in testing. It is designed to be available from anywhere, with usual showcases coming from your phone. In this announcement, we got details regarding how many titles are currently on the service and product timeline. They made it clear that the library will grow, with roughly 50+ titles to explore now.

They also have plans to bring this service to Windows 10 computers. They’re bringing support for third-party controller support (yes, including Sony’s Dualshock controller).

All of this is HUGE. This means that we, as gamers, can now enjoy titles like Forza Horizon 4 and Gears of War 4 even if you aren’t home. This also gives Google Stadia, of which I talked about in a previous article, a very tough competitor now that you can have all the titles you purchased, and eventually more with Game Pass, from anywhere.

Why Does All This Matter?

This matters for a lot of reasons. For starters, this puts on display and highlights Microsoft’s continued effort to bring games onto their platform. It shows us what they’ve been working on behind the scenes and gives us a glimpse into what the future holds.

The possibility of being able to play these games via Game Pass is a significant step forward. I feel like Microsoft has made an enormous leap forward in player choice. With the introduction of an even more extensive library of games, and with the portability of xCloud, there is a lot at stake moving forward, and I think Microsoft has all the right cards in its hand to keep going forward.

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David Madrigal-Hernandez

Lover off all RPGs, and Hooked on Destiny 2 no matter how many times he gets burned.