Quantum Break for PC shows that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few
Last week, Microsoft made an unexpected announcement. Quantum Break, its long-in-development Xbox One game, will be coming to Windows 10 the same day it released on Microsoft’s game console.
The announcement left many Xbox One owners with the feeling that nothing is sacred anymore. Other more rational consumers have seen it as a benefit, as it will allow more non-Xbox One gamers to play the latest from the team behind the superlative Alan Wake of the last generation.
While Xbox One owners (including yours) raged over this move, it’s easy to see why it happened. Beyond the bluster and bravado, this is simply a solution in which the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. In this case, the “few” being Xbox One owners and the “many” being the number of PCs with Windows 10, which far eclipses Xbox One sales. The game is a way to put this install base to good use.
Recently, the CFO of Electronic Arts revealed that the Xbox One sold all 19 million units, just over half of what rival Sony managed to register in terms of PS4 sales. Stellar game lines, a fresh interface and a host of new features have done little to stem the tide for the Redmond-based company. Microsoft needs a win, and its latest move is a signal of intent and willingness to sacrifice Xbox One on the altar of profitability and shareholder interests, like any other publicly traded company would.
As the company moves from reporting the number of Xbox Ones sold to reporting the number of Xbox Live and Windows 10 accounts, it’s a sign of the times. And that might just help the Xbox One until Microsoft is ready to announce a new console. It’s easier to make the case for sustained development of Xbox games like Halo 6, Halo Wars 2, Gears 4, Scalebound, if they’re also on Windows 10 PCs. Thanks to PCs being majority and sharing a architecture similar to Xbox One, additional development costs are not as high but the potential audience is much larger.
You could say Microsoft ditched the Xbox One, making a Windows 10 PC a better buy instead. Of course, PC gaming has its upsides, such as more affordable games and a sense of ownership that eclipses anything consoles can even dream of achieving and I agree, up to a point. The thing is, there’s always a section of gamers who are either too busy or too lazy to care about the effort it takes to build a gaming PC. And there are even fewer who can tolerate the endless supply of memes, meta-jokes, and elitism that come with being part of the PC gaming community.
Does this mark the beginning of the end for Xbox One? Not really. But it’s a step in a direction that could see the Xbox brand expand further into the personal computer realm. That’s never a bad thing considering Alienware is overpriced, Nvidia’s Battlebox project never took off, and Steam Engines are still far from where they should be. Add a compelling lineup of games and the real winner of this bloodbath is you. Which makes me wonder why we would be outraged in the first place. More choices for playing your games is never a bad thing. There is something for everyone at all prices.
What if someone at Sony reads this? Now would be a good time to consider bringing Uncharted 4 to PC.
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