Since time immemorial (2001), Xbox and PlayStation fanbases have been going at each other hammer and tongs. The dispute? Having the sheer audacity of choosing one branded console over the other. A noble cause for the truly galaxy-brained. The launch of the Xbox Series X and PS5 has seen the console wars continue, although the ranks are much thinner than previous generations; mostly because no one can get their hands on one.
The new Xbox was all set to launch with Halo Infinite last year, but thanks to Craig (opens in new tab), it was pushed back to the holiday 2021window. Halo games have always been a staple of Xbox consoles, and I've had a whale of a time playing a couple of the series' titles. But you can pick up a decent shooter right now, and it won't cost you £450. Halo Infinite isn't reason enough for casual fans like me to drop that on a new system.
Microsoft knows that, so it spent $7.5 billion and give us one: Starfield. If there's a single game that might sway last-gen PlayStation fans into switching sides — or PS5 owners to shell out for a second console — it's this one.
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As we geared up to make the leap from last gen to current gen, Sony doubled down with PS5 exclusives after knocking it out of the park with that formula on PS4. The Xbox Series X|S’ lineup has been pretty lacklustre by comparison but Microsoft diversified with its Game Pass service.
Having brand new titles available on day one at no extra cost is certainly appealing for the financially savvy; and with the cheaper Xbox Series S sitting alongside the Xbox Series X, you can pick up a next-gen console for significantly cheaper than the PS5 and have access to a huge library of games for a modest, monthly subscription cost. And that includes new releases at launch.
While Game Pass has the potential to reshape the gaming landscape in a similar way Netflix has with traditional media, Microsoft still invested big bucks in acquiring ZeniMax Media — parent company of Bethesda — showing that it hasn’t quite transcended beyond platform exclusives just yet.
The Bethesda title was first announced at E3 2018 alongside The Elder Scrolls 6. But PS5 and Nintendo Switch fans have had the door firmly shut in their face now that it’s been confirmed as a PC and Xbox exclusive. A tad irksome given the shade Xbox boss Phil Spencer has cast on Sony with his thoughts on excluding gamers with that kind of play. But hey, that's the kind of strategy to get people like me grousing about it even as I furiously click 'add to cart'.
When it comes to immersive, open-world games that will suck up hours of your life in the blink of an eye, Bethesda is king. There’s no way anyone who’s fallen in love with Fallout or The Elder Scrolls is going to take a pass on Starfield if they can help it.
The game ushers in a brand new universe from Bethesda; the first one in a whopping 25 years. The sci-fi RPG lets you create a custom character and "explore with unparalleled freedom as you embark on an epic journey to answer humanity’s greatest mystery." And since the E3 2021 bombshell dropped, anyone who's had their eye on it is going to have to pony up and invest in an Xbox Series X|S. If you have a PC, please keep your guffaws to a minimum and leave us console owners to rend our controllers in peace.
But there is someone out there who feels bad about it, and that's Bethesda’s Pete Hines, SVP of global marketing and communications. Talking to GameSpot (opens in new tab) about Starfield's new exclusive status, Hines said he understands if gamers outside of Xbox's ecosystem feel “unhappy or pissed,” acknowledging their "real feelings and frustrations."
He adds that he doesn't have any idea as to how to deal with those feelings, saying, "I would never presume to say 'oh, here's how you can make it better and feel better'".
There is, of course, one thing I can do: buy an Xbox Series X|S. Where Halo Infinite failed, Starfield has succeeded. What's more, it's going to be available to play day one on Xbox Game Pass; so if you think about it, I've already saved myself £60 right there. That's some real galaxy-brain logic.