While the PlayStation brand continues to dance around some negative buzz coming out of E3 for a few anti-consumer policies, Xbox seems to be making move after move after move in consumer-friendly offerings and plans for the future.
That continues this week with several key reports, one being that Microsoft may be partnering with Razer to bring mouse and keyboard support to Xbox in a big way - which makes sense given that Microsoft is bridging the gap between Xbox and their Windows PC platform. The more recent news it that Xbox is also planning to offer mod support for games on the Xbox platform, bringing over one of the key features many PC games have exclusively. Because every Xbox game should have the opportunity for players to add a "Macho Man" Randy Savage dragon.
Windows Central got their hands on internal documents which reveal that Microsoft is working on having the Xbox have the ability to support community-made mods and to be able to offer and promote them in the Xbox Store. Companies like Bethesda who offer their own mod solutions for Fallout and Skyrim still will be able to do so, but the idea is that everyone can support mods should they choose to.
The "Xbox Community Content" system could be ready for launch as early as this summer and developers will have full control over what elements of their games can be modded - whether it be as big as total conversions or as small as changing character models and weapon skins. The skepticism comes in with the ability for devs to monetize mods which sometimes defeats the purpose of community modding and has caused nothing but trouble for Bethesda in their efforts to charge cash for approved mods, when it's all available for free on PC.
Money aside, adding community mod support in full to the Xbox ecosystem and building it into store and and game pages, and further bridging the gap between it and the PC (again, throw in mouse and keyboard support), gives the Xbox another competitive advantage as they and competitors plan for the next console generation. It also helps extend the life of games in a big way. The next Xbox platform (currently codenamed "Xbox Scarlett") is something Xbox boss Phil Spencer specifically mentioned during their E3 2018 showcase, revealing that of course they're already working on the Xbox One successor and are taking all the right steps to position it int he most positive, consumer-friendly way.
And that's the narrative Xbox has been smartly pushing hard as of late to plan for the future, which at this point in time makes whatever they do next on the hardware front already more appealing than PlayStation for a few key reasons (outside of them already having the most powerful console on the market). Think about it:
- Xbox supports cross-play with other platforms in Rocket League, Minecraft, and Fortnite
- Xbox supports cross-play (and Play Anywhere) with all first-party games, meaning when you buy Forza Horizon 4 and Gears 5 you also get it for PC and can play with those players.
- They're investing in cloud gaming so you can play anywhere at anytime.
- They acquired more studios to address their biggest hurdle - they want to be the leader in first party development.
- They launched accessibility support with new a new, innovative controller on platform that's open to everyone to share and use.
- They're working with Razer to bring mouse and keyboard support to Xbox.
- Xbox supports backwards compatibility for some Xbox and Xbox 360 games (for free).
So, while PlayStation blocks cross-play and keeps promoting exclusive DLC (like the controversial Black Ops 4 pre-order exclusive map pack), which are very anti-gamer business decisions, Xbox is taking steps to do everything pro-consumer with the next-gen console (except VR it seems) generation. If they can just get the first-party game production addressed (in quality and quantity), PlayStation has a challenge ahead of themselves dealing with the bad buzz. They are directly contradicting the messaging they launched the PS4 with.
Source: Windows Central