Across the remainder of 2018, the Xbox One is set to receive only one more exclusive—Forza Horizon 4—with Microsoft instead betting on third parties to drive sales on the platform.
At E3 2018, the company set a February 22 release date for its next blockbuster, the long-awaited Crackdown 3, leaving a void between the October 2 release of Forza and the new year. Aaron Greenberg, a marketing executive at the company, recently explained to GamesIndustry.biz that this strategy is designed to take advantage of the massive number of third-party titles releasing across that period:
“If you talk about wanting to play Red Dead, or FIFA, or Call of Duty, or our games, whatever game you’re a fan of, we can say that your game is going to look and play best on Xbox One X. […] It’s a case of where do they want to go buy third-party titles? And we’ve definitely seen customers choosing our platform because of the power advantage.”
Greenberg also said that the company is working closely with some third-party partners to provide console bundles, as well as advertising advantages through the 4K capabilities of the Xbox One X. The belief that consumers will choose the Microsoft platform because of the marketing also led Greenberg to remark that ” we didn’t need Crackdown or any of our titles in this holiday window.” Instead, the company will use that to establish a “steady cadence” of releases throughout 2019, including Ori and the Will of the Wisps.
Furthermore, while Greenberg is bullish on the fortunes of Forza Horizon 4, saying that pre-order levels are higher than expected, his referral to this holiday season as “the blast radius” does suggest a certain hesitance to pit the racing game against the other major titles.