Looking Back Small Image

Looking Back on a Banner Year for Xbox and a Glimpse at What’s Ahead

Happy New Year to the Xbox community!

We have so much good stuff on deck for 2019 and can’t wait to jump in and share more. But first: Let’s take a quick look in the rear view. Some of the most visionary developers unfurled some of their best and most enduring worlds yet, and players came together from around the world in new ways.

Some of our favorite highlights:

Xbox Game Pass is the Best Way for Gamers to Discover Their Next Favorite Game

In 2018, we added 116 additional high-quality titles to the Xbox Game Pass catalog across genres. We’re happy to share that we currently have more than 65 partners (up from 25 at our launch in June 2017). This includes 53 titles from developers in the ID@Xbox program. In addition, 17 titles launched the same day as their global release into Xbox Game Pass, including Sea of Thieves, Laser League, State of Decay 2, Warhammer 2: Vermintide, Graveyard Keeper, Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption and Forza Horizon 4.

As part of our commitment to family-friendly gaming activities, our current library has 49 titles classified with “E” ratings (and 87 E + E10), ensuring Xbox Game Pass members have a wide variety of games to choose from, no matter what your age is!

Xbox Game Pass End of Year

And we’re seeing members play even more. Members increase their total time gaming on Xbox by almost 20% more than before and are also increasing their total number of games played by almost 40%, including titles outside the Xbox Game Pass catalog. In addition, the average back-catalog game sees its usage increase by 6X after joining the Xbox Game Pass library.

In November and December alone, we added 24 titles, 7 of which launched the same day as their global release, including Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden, Ashen, Below and Kingdom Two Crowns. In January, we’re launching more than 10 titles, including three anticipated day-and-date titles.

A Stellar Year of Games on Xbox One and a Commitment to Delivering Even More First-Party Content

In 2018, seven new first-party studios joined the Xbox roster, including the acquisition of Playground Games, Ninja Theory, Undead Labs, Compulsion Games, InXile Entertainment and Obsidian Entertainment, along with the creation of The Initiative.

On the game front, we added over 100 new titles to Backward Compatibility, bringing the full catalog to over 550 games, 57 of which are Xbox One X enhanced. The award-winning Forza Horizon 4 became the highest-rated Xbox exclusive of this generation* and in its first week of availability there were more than two million players driving around Britain. Sea of Thieves was the first Microsoft Studios title to launch day and date into Xbox Game Pass in March and became the fastest-selling new Xbox IP of the generation.

Forza Horizon 4

Finally, the ID@Xbox program celebrated its 5th anniversary in 2018 and reached a new milestone having released the 1000th game since the program began. The Xbox community has spent more than four billion hours playing titles published via ID@Xbox.

2018 Was a Significant Year for Cross-Network Play

Last year, Microsoft and Epic Games partnered to enable cross-network play for Fortnite on Xbox One to help unite the more than 78 million Fortnite players.

Microsoft and Nintendo also teamed up in 2018 to enable cross-play between Minecraft players on Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Windows, and mobile devices, bringing the community of 91 million monthly players even closer together.

Mixer Sees Explosive Growth

In January 2018 we announced 10 million monthly active Mixer users only to see that number double to more than 20 million monthly active users six months later.

And We Brought Back X018, a Fall-timed Global Celebration of All Things Xbox

X018, hosted onsite at the fourth-annual Xbox FanFest, attracted more than 9,000 local fans and more than 20 million viewers around the world.

Looking Forward

So, with all that goodness under our belts, we look ahead into 2019 and declare it’s going to be a heck of a good year. Here’s a hot tease of what you can expect:

With Microsoft Studios games like Crackdown 3, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Gears 5, Gears Pop! and Minecraft: Dungeons all slated to launch this year, 2019 is shaping up nicely for Xbox, PC and mobile gamers alike. And with Xbox Game Pass, members can access new first-party Xbox titles the same day they launch. And that’s not to mention the major content update ‘The Arena’ coming to Sea of Thieves early 2019 (also available to Xbox Game Pass members), which will introduce an all-new competitive game mode, plus exciting new titles through the ID@Xbox program like The Artful Escape of Francis Vendetti, Tunic and ATLAS – just to name a few! In addition to Microsoft Studios titles, our partners are bringing some of the biggest and best games to Xbox — many enhanced for Xbox One X —  including: Anthem, Devil May Cry 5, Jump Force, Kingdom Hearts 3, Metro Exodus, Mortal Kombat XI, Resident Evil 2, Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 and more.

Crackdown 3

And we can’t wait to show you what all the Microsoft Studios development teams are working on. We’re focused on implementing new Microsoft technologies, delivering content for new platforms and services like Xbox Game Pass, and creating exclusive games that turn players into loyal Xbox fans. We are committed to expanding the Microsoft Studios franchises players already love and investing in new, exclusive content for every type of gamer. We’re excited to see the teams maximize their potential at Microsoft and can’t wait for what the future has in store.

Finally, on behalf of the entire team here at Xbox, we wanted to extend our sincere gratitude to all of you who play an integral role in making this community what it is. We’re thankful for the energy and passion that you all bring, and we can’t wait to repay you in kind throughout the year ahead!

*Source: Metacritic