TheGamingEconomy Daily Digest brings you the trending business stories in gaming. In today’s edition: Xbox to delay Series X exclusives; Switch releases in 2019 outnumber combined PS4 and Xbox One launches; and research launched into environmental impact of gaming.
Xbox to delay Series X exclusives
Xbox will be delaying Series X exclusive titles for a period of one to two years after the launch of the device, with games released during this window being available across Xbox One as well as the new console series. The approach directly contrasts with that of Sony for the upcoming PlayStation 5, with Kotaku's Jason Schreier stating that the PS5 will have console-exclusive titles on release. Speaking to MCV, head of Xbox Game Studios Matt Booty, the company will instead be prioritising first-party IP, such as Halo Infinite, as the promotional focus of the new Xbox Series X device. Booty also outlined a three-pronged strategy for its first-party release strategy, prioritising execution, content quality, and "building characters, stories and worlds that can transcend generations."
Moreover, Booty suggested that Microsoft is not actively looking to acquire further development firms to add to its 15-strong stable at Xbox Games Studios, having most-recently purchased Double Fine Productions in June last year. "I think that we hit a point where we had gone through a phase of adding new studios. And that’s a lot of work to make sure that we get the studios onboarded correctly, that we make sure that everyone feels secure," stated Booty, "We have this amazing collection of 15 studio leaders, and if we’re always acquiring new things, there will always be somebody who’s the new person, you always have the the older studios and the newer studios, and what you don’t get in that situation is them treating each other as peers and sharing information or expertise."
Switch releases in 2019 outnumber combined PS4 and Xbox One launches
A total of 1480 titles were released on the Nintendo Switch in 2019, over 400 more than the number of games launched on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One combined, according to analysis from GamePulse and the NPD Group. Moreover, the number of titles released on the Switch last year increased by 85% year-on-year.
While the consoles are in different iterative cycles, the proliferation of releases on Switch, in particular ports of previously-released titles, suggests developers are becoming increasingly bullish on the longevity of the console. This in turn is set to be bolstered by the potential launch of a premium edition of the device, which is mooted to be available by the close of the year. However, it is also important to note that the Nintendo Switch eShop has a markedly more relaxed approach to titles released on the platform in comparison to the storefronts of its console counterparts.
Research launched into environmental impact of gaming
Dr. Ben Abraham of the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) is launching a research study into the environmental impact of digital video game development, assessing both quantitative data on studio emissions as well as examining workplace policies on reducing the carbon footprint of the industry. Developers of any size are being encouraged to participate, with a degree of anonymity offered should responses divulge sensitive commercial information. The research follows the launch of a voluntary programme under the United Nations Climate action summit, which saw 21 video gaming companies commit to reducing CO2 emissions by 30 million tonnes, while reducing wastage in physical title packaging.
Speaking at the launch of the initiative in September, Inger Andersen, Executive Director, UN Environment Programme (UNEP), said, “The video games industry has the ability to engage, inspire and captivate the imaginations of billions of people across the world. This makes them a hugely important partner in addressing the climate emergency.