Xbox’s Acquisitions Have Made It The King of Live Service Games

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Story Highlights
  • Xbox is ruling the live service genre thanks to all the recent acquisitions. 
  • The addition of Call of Duty after the Activision deal has only added to the already thriving lineup.
  • Its current lineup covers various genres across multiple platforms.

As much as live service games have earned a negative reputation- if done right, they are some of the best games out there. According to reports, gamers spent 73% of the total time playing new live service titles last year.

Games like Call of Duty and Helldivers 2 are thriving. For Xbox, especially after the Activision merger, the former’s success makes it the king of live service. Even before the acquisition, Xbox had tremendous live service games to show.

These include Minecraft, Forza, Halo, The Elder Scrolls Online, and others. Granted, some are multiplatform, but ultimately, they are owned by Microsoft.

Why it matters: PlayStation is dominating Xbox in terms of single-player titles. Microsoft doesn’t have much to show for its narrative-driven titles, but it is emerging as the undisputed winner in terms of live service.

Xbox Studios Games
Some notable franchises from Xbox Studios Games.

Minecraft has been leading the charts for a very long time now. It is amongst the most popular titles in the world, and hardly anything comes close. Then there is Halo. While the recent entries haven’t been that good, Halo is a name for which everyone has mutual respect. 

Fallout 76 couldn’t capture much of an audience when it launched, but the recent burst in popularity after the TV show has led to the title becoming one of the most popular live service games out right now. It even managed a million players in a single day. 

Sea of Thieves recently hit a massive player base of over 40 million. It is also coming out for the PlayStation 5, and just during the beta, the number of new players was so high that it crashed the game’s servers, indicating colossal success.

The Activision Advantage

Some of the biggest wins have come to Xbox via the Activision Blizzard acquisition. Call of Duty is the most prominent factor among them all. For nearly two decades, the franchise has always appeared in the most-played and best-selling games, even on PlayStation.

However, Activision Blizzard’s portfolio extends to the likes of Diablo, Overwatch 2, and World of Warcraft. All these titles have a massive fan following and have been successful for a long time.

And again, they are multiplatform, but Xbox profits from them.

Xbox Series X
Xbox has a huge library of live service games.

This is a great opportunity to segue into Xbox’s role as a publisher. It has admitted to losing the console wars but also intends to be a good publisher for Sony and Nintendo. Now, that makes Microsoft more of a publisher than a console maker.

Perhaps the most impressive part of Xbox’s lineup is the diversity on offer. First-person shooters, RPGs, racing games, you name it. Microsoft has seemingly covered all the bases in live-service gaming.

While Sony has found record-breaking success with Helldivers 2, this just scratches the surface of live service. PlayStation has a long way to go before it can catch up since Xbox has numerous equally successful ongoing titles.

This is also why Xbox is not too interested in exclusivity. Live-service gaming is where all the money is at right now, and luckily for Microsoft, it seems this will become the gaming giant’s dominant type of game release.

While one game like Call of Duty alone is enough to uplift a live-service publisher, Xbox has several more releases on a similar scale and then some.

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