Exclusives Start To Fizzle Out
While many believe the downfall of Microsoft started in 2013, the warning signs were already there three years prior. As the Xbox 360 reached the later years of its life, there was something conspicuously absent from its line-up. Once Bungie sold Halo to Microsoft in 2010 and the original Gears of War trilogy wrapped up in 2011, the AAA side of things slowed down massively. A lot of this was down to the company's continued focus on Kinect which distracted somewhat from releases like Halo 4 and Gears of War: Judgment.
Several questionable decisions would follow in the early 2010s. The British studio Rare, having been purchased by Microsoft back on the first Xbox, was placed on various Kinect titles that frustrated many of their fans, as beloved titles like Banjo-Kazooie and Perfect Dark were left in the cold. Meanwhile, established franchises from other developers like Fable found themselves getting motion-controlled spin-offs. While Xbox was going through the motions, Sony was dropping hit after hit and Nintendo had pushed ahead with their new system, the Wii U.
Even today, you can ask yourself this: When was the last time the Xbox had a brilliant new franchise that got you to run out and buy the console? Arguably, not since Gears of War in 2006. For the better part of the last decade, there has been somewhat of a reluctance on Microsoft's part to invest in new properties and allow developers more free rein. There was no brilliant final flourish for the Xbox 360, no excellent release that showcased the system at its peak. Instead they settled into predictable territory.