2018 was a great year for the Xbox brand. From numerous and notable studio acquisitions, to the expansion of Xbox Game Pass, 2018 had many highs for Phil Spencer and co. But what Xbox didn't have in 2018 was many good games. Sure, it had Forza Horizon 4, one of the best racing games in quite some time, but in the face of PlayStation 4's God of War, Marvel's Spider-Man, and Detroit: Become Human, it wasn't even a contest.
That said, even if you remove the juxtaposition of the PlayStation 4's exclusives from the equation, there wasn't many reasons to celebrate in 2018 on the software front as an Xbox One gamer, unless of course you enjoy racing games.
Recently, Metacritic released its 2018 video game rewind that looked back on the best games of 2018. Unsurprisingly, Red Dead Redemption 2 was the highest-rated game of the year. But not far behind was PlayStation 4 exclusive, God of War, which was followed by Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Forza Horizon 4.
In 2018, the PlayStation 4 had 13 "good exclusives," which means games exclusive to the platform that land at 75 or higher on Metacritic. The Nintendo Switch had 10. PC had 33. Xbox One, zero.
"Microsoft failed to offer a compelling case to pick up an Xbox One rather than another console in 2018," writes Metacritic. "The best 'console exclusive' titles released for XB1 last year could also be played on your PC, and there wasn't a single game exclusive to Xbox One alone that received positive reviews from critics."
While what Metacritic is saying is 100 percent accurate, it's also a bit unfair. A true Xbox One exclusive doesn't really exist anymore, with Microsoft's first-party releasing all games on both Xbox One and PC. But even if you stretch the word exclusive to fit into this parameter: it still doesn't look good for Xbox One, because beyond Forza Horizon 4, everything else Microsoft released -- such as State of Decay 2 and Sea of Thieves -- failed to critically perform.
Again, overall, Microsoft and the Xbox brand had a lot of wins in 2018. But releasing games wasn't one of them, and when you consider PlayStation had a massive 2018, and Nintendo not a bad year either, it doesn't look good for the Xbox One. However, hopefully in 2019, with the release of games like Gears 5, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, and Crackdown 3, it can turn things around.
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