Fri. Sep 29th, 2023
Bethesda Game Studios Starfield: A Make-Or-Break Moment for Xbox

The last few years have been a roller-coaster ride for Xbox fans, with both high highs and low lows. After a strong lineup of games in the fall of 2021, the first-party Xbox game offerings for 2022 were relatively sparse. Microsoft kicked off the year with the surprise launch of Hi-Fi Rush, but then stumbled with the disastrous release of Redfall, the first AAA game from Bethesda since its acquisition by Microsoft. Starfield, a highly anticipated game with ambitious scope, became a crucial moment for Microsoft.

Starfield has now launched, and the verdict is in: it’s a hit. While it may not be the groundbreaking mega-RPG some fans were expecting, it is still an enjoyable sci-fi adventure that has garnered positive attention. The game has already attracted over 1 million concurrent players across all platforms. Reviews have been generally favorable, with Digital Trends giving it a three-and-a-half-star rating and noting its impactful decision-making and impressive space RPG elements.

The success of Starfield has helped renew confidence in Xbox. However, it has also highlighted one of the ongoing challenges for Microsoft: consistency. Despite the popularity of Xbox Game Pass and the release of some excellent first-party games, Microsoft has struggled to maintain consistency in messaging, game launches, and quality. This has made it feel like Xbox has overpromised and underdelivered, particularly in comparison to rivals Sony and Nintendo.

The pressure was on for Redfall and Starfield to prove that the Bethesda acquisition was worth it and that Xbox could deliver a steady stream of quality games. The disappointing quality of Redfall was a blow to Xbox fans who were expecting more. However, Starfield has managed to deliver an entertaining RPG experience, generating positive vibes within the Xbox community.

Looking ahead, Microsoft needs to maintain this positive momentum. Despite a weak first-party lineup in 2022 and the rough launch of Redfall, recent efforts from Microsoft-owned studios, including Starfield, suggest that Xbox is back on track. The 2024 game lineup looks promising, with titles such as Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II, Avowed, and Microsoft Flight Simulator 2024.

The success of Starfield is an important milestone for Xbox, but it will be the follow-through that truly matters. If Microsoft can maintain a steady game release cadence and continue delivering high-quality games, the future looks bright for the company. With the right strategy, Microsoft has the opportunity to capitalize on the positive reception of Starfield and solidify its position in the gaming industry.