I must be psychic. Just a day before the Xbox Series X specs and features announcement, I was bemoaning the laziness of remasters – now here we are with the knowledge that first party (and third party, if the publisher chooses) games will essentially be forward compatible on Xbox One, meaning that you will be able to purchase a game on Xbox One, then play that game on Xbox Series X without needing to buy it again. Which is an amazing idea, frankly, and hopefully puts the lazy, shameless cash-in of the remaster to bed.
CD Projekt Red wasted no time in announcing that Cyberpunk 2077 will have this feature enabled; purchase the Xbox One version and it’ll automatically upgrade to Series X if played on the next gen console – it’s an incredibly useful, consumer-friendly, added value feature.
It shows how far Microsoft have come since the beginning of the current generation – when they were trying to adopt an extremely anti-consumer position; not only did consoles require a once-per-24 hours check in just to function, they were also looking to disable the use of purchased games on other consoles than the one it was originally registered to – meaning no buying and selling of pre-owned games. Nor would you have even been able to simply lend your game to a friend for them to play; this led to a hilarious video from Sony, showing how you lend a PS4 game to someone.
Fast forward to now, however, and it’s clear that the Xbox brand has gradually been rehabilitated over the years. The removal of forced Kinect from Xbox One enabled the price to immediately drop (and seriously – does anyone even miss that thing?), the variety of Xbox One models has given consumers a great level of choice of what console they invest in, backwards compatibility (including enhancements of old games) has been a wonderful added value feature and the introduction of the phenomenal Game Pass service was – for me – the tipping point in tempting me back into the Xbox ecosystem.
It must be noted that we’ve yet to see any price details for the Series X. With the compatibility and upgrading features, however, it’s almost a moot point right now – surely consumers can simply wait and upgrade when they’re comfortable with the price being at a point they can afford, without the fear of missing out? Early adopters will do what they always do, of course, and upgrade as soon as they can.
Sony feel like they’re being put on the back foot a bit at the moment; after sailing away with the current generation in the popularity stakes – not to mention having an incredibly strong stable of exclusives throughout – there are reports that they’re adopting a wait-and-see approach to Xbox pricing before revealing their own, which betrays a lack of confidence in their strategy. Adding to this is the fact that they’ve yet to reveal anything of substance on their next gen machine; as well as these aspects, it seems that analysts are also questioning whether or not Sony would even be able to release at a reasonable price point (though it’s odd that the same scrutiny isn’t being applied to Xbox regarding pricing – surely they’re going to have the same uphill struggle that Sony face?).
Regardless, things are shaping up for a much more interesting next generation; from the reveal of the Xbox One onwards, I’ve felt that the current gen was pretty underwhelming, especially after the highly regarded – for good reason – 360/PS3 gen that came before it. Despite Sony also pulling out of E3, I do think we have a very interesting few months of news and reveals ahead – and I can’t wait to see where we’re headed next.
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