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Titanfall's successful (and then unsucessful) launch highlights a potentially bright Xbox One future

What Titanfall's early success (and failure) can tell us about the future of the Xbox One.

Update:
Alas, it was not to last. After about half a day of uptime, Xbox Live crashed for about half a day over the 11th and 12th of March. Any goodwill and positive PR Microsoft hoped to gain from the Titanfall launch looks to have been lost, as most news sites are now running articles about the failure of Xbox Live.

Although my article now seems somewhat outdated, it is worth mentioning that even the best cloud services like Gmail do have unexpected downtime. The conclusion I came to in my article is still valid - Microsoft needs to implement competitive advantages that Sony can't easily match, and the best way to do that is in cloud services.

Launch

The launch of the Xbox was anything but smooth. Countless PR gaffes from the disaster of Digital Rights management, which forced a humilitating climb down from Microsoft, to an unveiling that Gamespot described as "uninspired" "lackluster" complete with "a stream of buzz words". When the console got into the hands of players it didn't light them on fire either. Small but cruical quality of life issues - like the lack of disk management - caused problems for several months until Microsoft issued fixes.

With the financial shape Microsoft is in, they could not afford to flub the launch of the new Xbox, given it is one of the key growth sectors Microsoft is involved in. Unfortunately they did. While the Xbox One showed some intial sales, they've been outpaced by Sony at every turn. But what's done is done, Microsoft needs to start regaining the momentum in the console war.

Titanfall

From early ancedotal reports, it seems the launch of Titanfall has been the complete opposite of the Xbox One. Where the Xbox One was derided by critics, Titanfall recieved guarded praise. Where the Xbox One launched slugghisly, Titanfall launched smoothly, with solid networking performance. 

The success of the internet services which Microsoft has championed as cruical to Titanfall's multiplayer focus, shows us what important advantages Microsoft does have. Their TV integration, whilst not exactly futuristic solves a real need for many people. As devices in the home continue to grow, Xbox has grown to support them with additional second screen capabilities. While the Xbox One was derided, look closer, and you can see real, genuine innovation even Sony has failed to match.

Microsoft has advantages as a expansive software company that Sony just does not have. They have cloud services like Azure, which Sony has traditionally struggled with. They have potential integrations with millions of Windows PC's, which Sony doesn't even have a foothold in.

Future

Microsoft needs to leverage their software advantages, draw on the history and legacy of the innovation that was present in Xbox Live and create exclusive online services which Sony can't match. Which brings us back to Titanfall. With - so far - no server glitches, and apparently geniune performance benefits achieved through Microsoft's cloud service, Titanfall highlights a potential future for Xbox. Microsoft just needs to push for it.

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