A report on 2018 video game reviews has revealed that, throughout the whole year, no Xbox One exclusive titles received positive reviews from critics (scores of 75 or higher on review aggregator Metacritic). There were well-reviewed games available on the system, to be sure, but none of them were exclusive to it.
The year saw some blockbuster releases that pleased both critics and fans, like God of War, Red Dead Redemption 2, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, to name a few. But it wasn't just sequels and reboots that cracked the upper echelons of reception. Titles such as Dead Cells, Hollow Knight, and Into the Breach also scored 90 or higher on Metacritic.
Metacritic reports that the Xbox One's best so-called "exclusives" of 2018 could also be played on PC, as Microsoft releases its first-party exclusives for both systems. For comparison, the top five PS4 games alone included two exclusives: God of War and Shadow of the Colossus. Expanding to the console's top 10 games increases that count to four exclusives, adding Astro Bot: Rescue Mission and surprise hit Tetris Effect. To be fair, Xbox One faithfuls could still play what Metacritic deemed the year's best game - Red Dead Redemption 2 - but it might sting to learn that, in terms of exclusive games, the console paled in comparison to its competitors.
Part of Microsoft's issue, here, is that some of its highly anticipated titles have launched in poor shape and been patched to more acceptable statuses. Sea of Thieves and State of Decay 2, for instance, have received rather extensive post-launch support - and depending on who you ask, Sea of Thieves might be the premiere pirate gaming experience available today. Crackdown 3's state of perpetual delay hasn't helped, either. The game, initially set to release in 2016, has been pushed back again and again, and can now be expected to come out next month. Microsoft is surely hoping that the wait will have been worth it.
With the Switch absolutely crushing 2018 - it released the most Metascored games last year, and still had the greatest percentage of positively reviewed games - both Sony and Microsoft are pressed to respond. Microsoft's strategy has been to acquire game studios. Last year, it brought under its umbrella Ninja Theory and Obsidian Entertainment along with some others. The company shows no sign of slowing down, and industry experts predict it will keep acquiring studios to expand its portfolio of exclusives moving forward. So ultimately, while it wasn't a terrible year to be an Xbox One owner, it wasn't an exemplary one, either. But who knows what will come next from Microsoft and its growing network of studios; 2019 might be the beginning of a whole new force to contend with.
Update: We tweaked title to include "Metacritic" to fit with how we explain their scoring system.