Xbox was once known for brilliant first-party releases. Games like Halo 3 and Gears of War were considered genre-defining during the early days of the Xbox 360, but the console manufacturer has not been able to keep up with the competition after this generation.
This is still a problem today, as evidenced by the fact that no Xbox first-party title has been nominated for Game of The Year at The Game Awards 2023. In fact, Microsoft’s presence has historically been very weak at this event.
During The Game Awards’ 10-year history, a first-party game from Xbox has only been nominated twice for Game of The Year.
Why it matters: While Microsoft continues to struggle, Sony and Nintendo have won Game of the Year awards and continue to release titles that are nominated year after year.
Geoff Keighley hosted the first Game Awards in 2014. Therefore, it is quite disappointing to see just two games from Xbox being nominated. The games in question are Psychonauts 2 and Deathloop, which were nominated in 2021.
The latter is also an interesting case since it wasn’t even available on Xbox until 2022 due to an exclusivity contract with PlayStation. Still, by the time this event was conducted in 2021, Arkane Studios was considered a first-party Xbox developer.
Interestingly, Forza Horizon 5 was considered a strong contender for this title during the same year. However, the game did not make it to the nominees despite its incredible reviews.
This became a controversial decision from The Game Awards since many people believed Forza Horizon 5 deserved to be a contender. Anyhow, even if the title were to be included, this would only add up to 2 Xbox first-party games in the nominees.
Theoretically, games like Overwatch can also be counted since Activision Blizzard is an Xbox first-party studio today. However, this was not the case when the first-person shooter was crowned Game of The Year in 2016.
Fortunately, Xbox is at a turning point. While Starfield might not have made it this year, it has attracted 11 million players so far and shows a commitment to a better first-party lineup.
This is just the beginning, so we are confident Microsoft will establish a bigger presence at such award shows in the future.
Apart from Starfield, recent first-party titles like Hi-Fi Rush were nominated for various categories. Therefore, Microsoft’s efforts for a better first-party slate are already beginning to show results.
Microsoft is looking forward to releasing four big first-party titles each year. 2024 releases like Hellblade 2 hold the potential to become contenders for this award, so an exciting future awaits Xbox.
While PlayStation and Nintendo are considered the leaders when it comes to quality first-party games, the status quo could change in the near future.
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Avinash is currently pursuing a Business degree in Australia. For more than three years, he has been working as a gaming journalist, utilizing his writing skills and love for gaming to report on the latest updates in the industry. Avinash loves to play action games like Devil May Cry and has also been mentioned on highly regarded websites, such as IGN, GamesRadar, GameRant, Dualshockers, CBR, and Gamespot.