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Microsoft had somewhat of a comeback year in 2016. The proliferation of backwards compatible titles helped convince a lot of Xbox 360 owners to upgrade to an Xbox One, and lowered price of the console helped convince reluctant gamers to take a chance. So what can we expect from the Xbox brand in 2017?
Well, Phil Spencer, the head honcho over the Xbox division, announced the Xbox Scorpio last year during Microsoft's E3 press conference. According to Shacknews, this year gamers can expect to see more new IP make their way into the Xbox ecosystem.
According to Spencer, they'll be filling up the Xbox consoles with games as part of the mid-generation refresh taking place with the launch of the Xbox Scorpio this fall. Spencer stated,
2017 is shaping up to be one of the most exciting years ever for Xbox gamers. We are preparing to launch the most powerful console ever made this holiday -- Project Scorpio -- along with a diverse lineup of games. In fact, we are committed to delivering even more exclusive games for both Xbox One and Windows 10 this year than we launched in 2016. I was very proud of our first-party lineup in 2016 and I am encouraged by an even bigger and more differentiated first-party lineup in 2017, starting with today's launch of Halo Wars 2.
Halo Wars 2 is available for those who pre-ordered the Ultimate Edition. The standard boxed and digital copies of Halo Wars 2 launches on February 21st for the Xbox One and on Windows 10 for PC. Spencer stated that they're following that game up with the remastered version of Voodoo Vince and Phantom Dust, along with Crackdown 3 and Rare's new IP Sea of Thieves, all due for release this year.
We've been seeing more and more of Sea of Thieves as it moves through the technical alpha testing. It certainly seems to be shaping up for release this year. I can't say the same about Crackdown 3, however. The game has been MIA for a while and the last we saw of it was basically just some prototype physics testing in the cloud. It's going to take more than just cloud physics tests to get gamers geeked for a new Crackdown game. That's not to mention that putting any game in the cloud and having that feature become a staple of the gameplay is really risky business, especially considering that a lot of people just don't have internet speeds fast enough to take advantage of it.
This all comes after a rather disheartening start of 2017 coming in with the cancellation of Scalebound for the Xbox One and PC. The game had been in development for quite some time but just didn't seem to be shaping up that well at all.
Microsoft decided to pull the plug on Platinum's third-person, dragon-riding, multiplayer action game, leaving a lot of Xbox fans feeling as if Microsoft is a bit directionless when it comes to building and establishing new IPs. We'll see if what Spencer is saying turns out to be true when E3 rolls around. There's no doubt about it that Spencer has done a marvelous job turning around the image of the Xbox brand in the last couple of years, but he's going to have to really step it up when it comes to original intellectual software property.