The Future of the X: Life After Launch: For the console anyway, as mine will be over once the Xbox launches.
It's November. You know what that means, right? It means, it's ?Xbox Launch Month?, and what a launch it is. There are several big name titles launching with the system from the word go, but what happens after the launch is over? With consoles, there is usually one of two things that happen. Either the console launches with mediocre titles, and then grows sweeter with age, or the console launches with a multitude of AAA titles, but then that's it, like a boxer who punches himself out in the first round of a match. This is the fear I am getting from the masses about the fate of the Xbox. It appears as if people are afraid that Microsoft's console is bringing out all its big guns on day one, but then has nothing left to push the system on for the years to come. Rest assured though, this is not the case.
E3, we all know what it is, where it is, and what it's about. For those that don't however, E3 is where developers get a chance to show off their latest works-in-progress for various systems. Some are playable, some aren't, but the fact is that it shows there is work being done on them. Xbox had about 80 some exclusive titles that were shown at this year's E3, mostly behind closed doors. That's a lot of exclusive content my friends, and more importantly, they are in the works. Meaning, coming in the next year or two, and those are just the ones we know about. I'm not even counting the multi-platform, non-exclusive titles coming to the system, nor the ones that have yet to be conceived. Simply put, the support for the Xbox isn't going to roll over and die anytime soon, and with Microsoft's quality control checks in place, these games aren't going to be total crap either.
What do we have to look forward to? The phrase ?lots of stuff? doesn't even begin to cover it. Sega is apparently a heavy hitter for the Xbox, with three games, Jet Set Radio Future, Gun Valkyrie, and House of the Dead 3, all making an appearance in the first quarter of 2002. Shenmue 2 has been recently announced for the Xbox for the US, so that title is thrown in there as well. There is also a bigger hidden message here. Shenmue and Yu Suzuki are with AM2. So, while not confirmed, the possibility of other AM2 titles coming is definitely there. Did someone say Virtua Fighter 4?
You want RPGs? We've got RPGs coming too. From the heavily anticipated Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, to the totally original and innovative Project Ego, which of course is coming from mastermind, Peter Molyneux. The Xbox certainly isn't going to be hurting for RPG's down the line. Action titles are aplenty as well, with games like Bloodwake and Max Payne hitting the console, and how can anyone forget about Unreal Championship? Lastly, sports games are going to be huge. With 5 football games alone at or near launch, one can only assume that a similar trend will follow for other sports as well.
There are over 200 developers currently making Xbox games, and more joining the fray all the time. As the steamroller grows more and more profound, that list, and the games, will just grow on and on. I don't mean to take a potshot at the PS2; but seriously, there are more good games for the Xbox that are launching with the console, than are in the PS2's entire lineup of games, and that number is just going to go up after the launch.
The Bottom Line
The Xbox isn't going to be one of those ?one-hit wonders? like so many of those alt bands we have now (I wish those Backstreet Boys would just go away though). A solid lineup of launch titles (with its only competition, in this respect, to date being the Dreamcast), and a steady stream of top quality games from then on. The Xbox is looking to be the next ?the? system to own this generation. With all these games coming, the only problem you'll run into is deciding which ones you want first, aside from not having the cash to buy them all.