The console wars might be over before they've even begun.
It's hard not to be excited for the upcoming generation of home console gaming.
During a time when many people are turning to video games to escape the horrors of the real world, a new console brings the promise of more immersive games and better functionality. Now, with the Playstation 5 and the Xbox Series X set to release at the end of 2020, console gamers have a lot to look forward to.
In the lead-up to launch, both Sony and Microsoft have mostly kept their cards close to their chest. Sony has the clear advantage, coming off the Playstation 4's massive success as the second best-selling, non-portable home console of all time (beat only by the Playstation 2). Xbox One sales have been comparatively paltry, with the console boasting far fewer impressive exclusive or first-party titles. As such, Microsoft really needs to knock it out of the park this generation.
Unfortunately, they're not off to a great start.
Xbox Series X First Look Livestream - Inside Xbox youtu.be
While Microsoft is keeping their first-party games under wraps for the time-being, they've provided their first major look at the Xbox Series X in a massive livestream featuring loads of third-party game trailers.
The first new trailer was for Bright Memory Infinite, a first-person action-shooter featuring both guns and swords. The visuals looked clean, but it didn't do anything to distinguish itself especially well from the multitude of other action-shooter games on the market. This was followed by reveals for other new games including Dirt 5—the prettiest entry to-date in the generic racing franchise—and Madden 21, which looks roughly the same as every other Madden game ever.
One of the stream's most prominent promises was the "world premiere of Assassin's Creed Valhalla gameplay." This turned out to be a disappointing misdirect, as the gameplay was only shown through incredibly brief clips intercut with the game's already revealed cinematic footage.
Assassin's Creed Valhalla: First Look Gameplay Trailer | Ubisoft [NA] www.youtube.com
To be clear, what we've seen certainly looks nice from a visual standpoint. But we're going to need to see a whole lot more in-game footage to decide whether or not Assassin's Creed Valhalla (AKA Assassin's Creed But With Vikings This Time) is worth purchasing in the first place, let alone whether or not it would be worth buying a new-generation console at launch for.
The livestream wasn't entirely a letdown, though. The cinematic trailer for Alien-inspired horror game, Scorn, looked promisingly creepy, and if it ends up being an Xbox Series X exclusive, that could be a nice draw for horror fans.
More importantly, Bandai Namco unveiled a trailer for Scarlet Nexus, an action/JRPG game pandering specifically to the "anime trash" demographic that some Internet writers strongly identify with.
SCARLET NEXUS | Announcement Trailer | Xbox One www.youtube.com
Yakuza: Like a Dragon also debuted an official trailer, and for said anime trash demographic, any new entry into the Yakuza franchise is as close to a console-selling incentive as a single game can get. That said, both Scarlet Nexus and Yakuza Like a Dragon will most certainly be coming to the PS5, so neither of these are necessarily a selling point for Xbox.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon | Cinematic Trailer www.youtube.com
In fact, the only real selling point so far for the Xbox Series X is Microsoft's new Smart Delivery feature, which pertains to games that are released for both Xbox One and Xbox Series X. Now, if you buy one of these games for Xbox One, the game and data will still be accessible on the Xbox Series X. Of course, this is only a benefit to people who already own an Xbox One, but it's a good way to make sure that Xbox One gamers stick to Microsoft when buying a new console. Sony would be stupid not to implement a similar feature for the PS5.
Perhaps Microsoft has some real aces up their sleeve for their upcoming first-party reveals, but hopes aren't necessarily high. Even at this early stage in the run-up to launch, the console wars might already be over.
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