2016 was a crazy year for the world but, with all the mayhem in the real world gamer’s were lucky enough to get many amazing games. So just how was 2016 for the gamers?
With all the promises, broke and fulfilled, by the gaming industry the best way to look back is to examine just what were the success and shortcomings of each major console in the gaming industry itself. Over the next few days, I will take a look into the past year of the gaming industry console by console and determine just what 2016 meant for each of them.
First up is Microsoft and the Xbox One.
Successes: Xbox One S, Gears of War 4, Forza Horizon 3, Console NPD Sales, Xbox Live Innovations
Shortcomings: Quantum Break, ReCore, Leaked E3 Conference, Game Delays upon Delays
2016 was a crucial year for the Xbox. It would be tough to say that this past year was do or die for the console thanks to the unlimited bankroll that Microsoft has. But, if the year didn’t go well for the console there was little hope for Xbox to get up off the floor after being knocked down by Sony early in the generation. The console year really ramps up after E3 in June, and while Xbox had a very strong conference its effect was dampened with the entire lineup being leaked just days before the conference. Still, standouts such as We Happy Few, Gears of War 4, Forza Horizon 3, Sea of Thieves, and the Xbox One S reveal gave Xbox fans plenty to look forward to in the year.
We got an extended look at Scalebound but, but the demo felt clunky and slow on stage as the game was once again delayed for the next year. Crackdown 3 never made an appearance all year as it was delayed again, and the Project Scorpio announcement while necessary put Xbox in an awkward middle ground of innovating but not a true next-gen step like back in 2013.
The first exclusives of the year stumbled a bit for Xbox, with ReCore and Quantum Break both faltering with mostly negative or middling reviews. This was a big problem for Xbox, they needed Quantum Break to sell and be received well, and when it stumbled many fans and critics looked back to see that Xbox still was in desperate need of a killer app 3 years into the console generation. While the games struggled, the platform innovated immensely. The introduction of background music, clubs, and looking for group were brilliant additions to the console and while the initial thoughts of the Xbox One S were that it would sell poorly thanks to the Scorpio’s reveal, the new console bolstered NPD sales for Xbox to pass the PS4 4 months in a row throughout the year.
Then came the strength of the year with Gears of War 4 and Forza Horizon 3, this time Xbox exclusives really flexed their muscles. The games ran well, played well, were received well, and were both a shining example of the Xbox Play Anywhere initiative introduced back at E3 as PC and console gamers alike enjoyed the exclusives. After the broken Master Chief collection and the abysmal story of Halo 5 but standout multiplayer splintering the fan base, Xbox finally had its killer apps with no asterisk to hide away the bad side of the games.
Xbox was officially back in the race, while Sony had another year of major 3rd party support but, a disappearing first party presence. They key to Xbox bouncing back was the innovations it has never stopped making. Take one look at the dashboard for the original day one Xbox One as a perfect example of how far we have come since its release. In 2016 Xbox made online gaming easier, it made it more personable with customizable controllers and background music, it gave you a reason to game on its consoles with its exclusives and back compat titles. In 2016 Xbox remembered that while it is about beating Sony, it is more about making Xbox the best place to play for its fans and consumers and it did that by listening to its fans.
Finishing off the year with a huge growth in the Backwards Compatibility list, the release of Dead Rising 4 to mostly positive reviews, being awarded the fastest and most reliable online service, and the PS4 Pro being much closer to the Xbox One S then initially thought, 2016 was a fantastic year for Xbox.
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