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Opinion: Xbox 2 single-player focus is too late to beat the PS5 at launch

Everyone’s favourite gaming dad Phil Spencer has taken to Twitter to let everyone know the Xbox 2 will have a whole bunch of single-player games in the years to come – but it could be too little too late in its battle with the PS5.

Xbox boss Phil Spencer responded to a tweet asking: “Can you at least tell me more single players are coming to Xbox in the years to come?”. 

Spencer responded: “Yes, I can confirm. With the additions of XGS [Xbox Game Studios] we have a lot of teams that have built strong SP [single-player] focused games and we want that to continue.”

Related: PS5 vs Xbox 2

This is obviously positive news if you’re an Xbox fan. Xbox Games Studios recently acquired game creators like Ninja Theory (Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice), Obsidian (The Outer Worlds) and Double Fine (Psychonauts).

All of these studios are capable of making tremendous single-player games for the Xbox 2 and people may love them – in a year or two. 

For the PS5, people love Sony’s single-player offerings already – and that signals trouble for the Xbox 2 at launch. 

PlayStation fans know they’ll be getting top-quality PS5 sequels to titles like God of War and Horizon Zero Dawn while the Xbox 2’s new single-player titles are an unknown quantity. The PS5 will even benefit from interest over potential cross-generational titles like Death Stranding and Last of Us Part 2

Related: Xbox 2

At the moment, it seems highly unlikely that the Xbox 2 will be able to drag any PlayStation holdouts away from the PS5 before the consoles come out next year. When it comes to single-player, PlayStation isn’t Xbox’s only worry either.

While not as much of a direct competitor to the Xbox 2 as the PS5, the Nintendo Switch has Xbox beat in this department too. Nintendo has a huge and diverse single-player line up – from a growing indie scene to critically acclaimed games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey.

Nintendo has managed to separate itself from the console wars between PlayStation and Xbox. Nevertheless, Nintendo offers another alternative to Xbox for players eager to enjoy single-player games.

Related: PS5

By comparison, the Xbox One recently brought the Outer Wilds to us – a game which seems like a sign of better things to come for Xbox’s single-player titles. Beyond that, Xbox’s exclusive single-player slate has been almost blank lately. 

Xbox’s flagship exclusives range from the Forza, Halo, and Gears of War series to titles like Sea of Thieves and State of Decay. All of these exclusives often see single-player take a backseat – if it’s even there at all.

The Xbox 2 still looks like a strong proposition when it comes to hardware specs, the growing Xbox Game Pass library and the promise of Project xCloud game streaming. But it’s hard to see how it can possibly beat the PS5 to customers who at all care about single-player given its lacklustre recent history.

Xbox clearly knows this and is looking to rectify the problem. While this strategy could see Xbox win the long game, the launches of the Xbox 2 and PS5 are coming around fast and they are in Sony’s rearview mirror. 

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