Analyst Says Microsoft Still Has Time to Invest in First Party

Phil Spencer, head of the Xbox brand, recently stated that Microsoft is going to work on first party support for the console moving forward. And while some people think that this goal is a few years too late given the time that the Xbox One has been on the market, Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter disagrees—he suggests that true exclusives don’t matter as much as they used to when you look at the big picture.

“No, [it’s not too late]. I’m not sure that console exclusives matter as much as they used to,” he said. “I mean when Sony first launched the PlayStation, they had to have a lot of exclusives, because they needed to demonstrate why you wanted to switch from Nintendo to them. These things are so well established by now, though, that I don’t think you need tremendous first party support anymore.”

“In fact, I’m not even sure first party support is why most people buy PlayStation consoles,” he added. “I think they buy a PS4 because it’s a great device, and because they like PSN more than Xbox Live, and because it has a lot of cool content, third and first party. I think a major driver is the timed exclusive Call of Duty DLC content for the mainstream market… I think that’s helped.”

“So, no, I think Microsoft is fine,” he concluded. “Their first party quality aren’t necessarily bad games, I think they just have smaller addressable markets, because they don’t have the broad appeal that a Sony or Nintendo game has.”

“And, you know, I personally think Sony has done a great job focusing on single player games. And Microsoft is so committed to focusing on multiplayer, that they haven’t done a great job with single player. I honestly think that’s the primary difference between Sony and Microsoft, not quality, Microsoft’s games are good (Sea of Thieves notwithstanding).”

Of course, Sony still has a 2:1 lead over Microsoft, and Nintendo sold 18 million units of a tablet device that is much less powerful than competing consoles, which definitely suggests that exclusive content drives sales. Even if you agree with Pachter, you can’t deny that exclusives can make a big impact, even if multiplatform games now matter more than they used to.