The battle between Microsoft and Sony has been one for the ages. Much like Sisyphus of Greek myth, the pair roll their respective boulders of technological advancement up the hill, let it roll down, and rinse and repeat the process. It seems that no true “winner” will ever be declared, but rather they will continue their rivalry into seeming eternity. Their battling only means good things for gamers, as competition will always breed a better product for both parties in the end. The biggest leg up that Sony has had over Microsoft for a long while has been its exclusives. In 2018, it seemed that Microsoft might finally be making a big push to overcome this obstacle with the acquisition of a great many game developers.
Chief among these Microsoft family additions are Ninja Theory and Compulsion Games. The former developed Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, Heavenly Sword and DmC: Devil May Cry (just to name a few). The latter is the creator behind We Happy Few. When it was announced that these two companies had been acquired by Microsoft, I couldn't help but see it as a step in the right direction towards truly competing with Sony, in regards to exclusives and first party production. These are companies that were making fantastic games on their own, but now with Microsoft's financial backing, they may move on to even greater things. It remains to be seen whether Microsoft will require their creations to be exclusive to their consoles, but it would make sense if they did.
At the very least, this is a great opportunity for Microsoft to publish some fantastic first-party games. We know what Ninja Theory and Compulsion Games can do alone, but it's anyone's guess as to what they'll do under the Microsoft umbrella. Perhaps the teams will continue to create their own projects with relative autonomy? Maybe Microsoft will reassign the creators to some other already in production games? No matter what, we can know that some fantastic games will come from it.
In regards to the never-ending war, Microsoft is waging with Sony, this move will give them another step up the hill. I went with the PlayStation 4 this generation, because of the larger selection of exclusives. If Microsoft was able to provide more games that I would be interested in playing, I would absolutely spend more time with the Xbox One. I know that I'm not the only one who feels this way, as the exclusives problem has been a major buying point for many gamers over the years.
Equally important to many, myself included, are the “must-play” games they choose. I have to be pretty picky, since my back-log is absolutely massive. We Happy Few and Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice are two titles that made the list, despite that. They look fantastic, and I can't wait to get my mitts on them and play around. It's easy for me to say that anything else their two creators come up with will most likely make my list too. There are probably many who feel the same way. So out of any developers Microsoft could have acquired, they completely made the right choice here.
What do you think? Are we headed into an age where Microsoft might actually have a leg to stand on in the exclusive war? Or do you not care either way?