The problem with Xbox 360 exclusives is that they’re generally released on both PC and console. This is great news if you happen to own either platform, but it severely limits the Xbox 360’s bragging rights when it comes to exclusive titles and really doesn’t do an accurate job of reflecting the strength of Microsoft’s lineup. On top of that, Microsoft is somewhat notorious for playing their cards close to their chest, revealing very little about upcoming projects, even at big trade shows like E3 or the Tokyo Game Show. That doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t have anything in the works (quite the opposite in fact if previous years have been any indication of Microsoft’s game planning), but it also doesn’t give gamers a whole lot to be excited for heading into 2011.
If you’re looking for a more traditional, gaming experience, unfortunately the Xbox 360 doesn’t have a whole lot to show for itself. “Gears of War 3” was pushed back to bolster Microsoft’s holiday line up, and after such an impressive showing in 2010, and Crytek’s “Kingdoms” is an intriguing prospect that generates interest, if only because of its prestigious development studio. Also, there’s no reason to believe that “Forza 4: Motorsport” will be anything short of stellar, with or without Kinect support.
Bolstering the Kinect’s library of must-buy titles seems to Microsoft’s plan for 2011. This isn’t exactly surprising, especially considering how underwhelming its launch titles were. The hardware sold well during weeks leading up to Christmas, but its disappointing array of lackluster casual titles (minus “Dance Central”) and imprecise motion-tracking made it incredibly hard to be eager about its future. The staggering selection of impending games for the Kinect, however, could very well be the kind of vindication needed to make gamers forget about its rocky start.
We don’t know too much about “Star Wars Kinect”, but the prospect of using your arms to generate force pushes is enticing enough to warrant excitement. The “Panzer Dragoon” inspired “Project Draco” has flying dragoons murdering one another, “Codename D” looks as bizarre and insane as anything created by “No More Heroes” and “Killer 7” developer Suda 51, and “Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor” also looks very promising as long as Capcom doesn’t make us drop $200 on a humongous controller this time.
If you picked up a Kinect already, Microsoft should justify the purchase in 2011 with a healthy offering of motion-based software. However, its close relationship with the PC means that it has precious few exclusives to truly call its own. If you’re a Xbox 360 owner who cares about little else than playing the hottest new games on the market, you’ll have absolutely no shortage of top-tier games to go broke over in the upcoming year. If you’re a fan boy, though, who relishes the prospect of rubbing exclusives in other people’s faces, 2011 won’t give you a whole lot of ammunition to work with.
It could very well be that Microsoft just isn’t showing its cards and we’ll be hit with a flood of exclusives during the third or fourth quarter of 2011. Unfortunately, my crystal bar of precognition doesn’t see that far in the future.
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