Microsoft is ending the era of the Xbox One on a high. According to the company, 2020 was a “record year” for Xbox Game Studios, the company's game software division. As the company looks to the launch of the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, there's plenty to be happy about.
While the Xbox One lost out to the Sony PlayStation 4 by some distance in hardware sales, the 8th generation of consoles has still been a success. It was during this generation where Microsoft gaming ambitions evolved beyond the Xbox consoles.
Xbox Game Studios is arguably driving this success. This is Microsoft collection of in-house game developers that mostly focus on first-party exclusives. There are some exceptions, such as Mojang with Minecraft. Microsoft recently bought ZeniMax Media, the company behind Bethesda Studios, for $7.5 billion.
The ZeniMax purchase was the biggest gaming acquisition ever, highlighting Microsoft's commitment to Xbox Game Studios.
Success in 2020
That commitment has paid off. In a blog post, General Manager of Xbox Games Marketing Aaron Greenberg, detailed the accomplishments of the brand during 2020.
- “15 Xbox Game Studios games launched to-date (10 of which are brand new titles) and many more to come, a record for Xbox.
- 1.66 billion hours played by our fans and counting, the most ever year-to-date for Xbox Game Studios titles.
- Microsoft Flight Simulator, our longest running franchise, returned with an overall Metacritic score of 92, a top-rated PC game this year.
- Ori and the Will of the Wisps was the highest-rated Xbox game we launched this year with an average Metacritic score of 90.
- Grounded, a new release from Obsidian, quickly exceeded more than 1 million players, while Sea of Thieves has now surpassed 15 million players to date.
- Wasteland 3, not only was a fan-favorite and previously won the award for best RPG at gamescom, it also had an average Metacritic score of 86.
In July at the Xbox Games Showcase, Microsoft announced 5 new titles from Xbox Game Studios.”