After having a spectacular 2014, the Xbox One came into 2015 ready for battle. After a slow start in the first 6 months with games like Ori and the Blind Forest and Screamride landing which disappointed a few fans, Microsoft took the criticism and really pulled it out of the hat during the second half.

Games

During the 2015 year, Microsoft released Gears of War: Ultimate, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Forza Motorsport 6, Rare Replay, Ori and the Blind Forest, Screamride, and Halo 5: Guardians as console exclusive or full out exclusive games during the year. Besides these excellent games launching first on Xbox One, Microsoft announced the Game Preview program which sees Xbox gamers getting access to games usually limited to PC’s like Ark: Survival Evolved and Long Dark. Elite Dangerous also launched on Xbox One this year, which was in Game Preview earlier.

Besides exclusive titles, Xbox One received major love from 3rd Party developers with games like Fallout 4, Call of Duty Black Ops 3, Assassins Creed Syndicate, and others. Xbox One presented gamers with an massive library of games to play in the past 12 months, even with a rather tepid start earlier in the year.

Features

During E3, Microsoft shocked the world with their reveal that they will allow Full Backwards compatibility on the Xbox One. Since then they revealed over 120 games already playable on Xbox One by just popping your game disk in from the Xbox 360. Competitors scrambled to compete with this feature with broken and rather absurd solutions to the ‘drop the mic’ feature Microsoft revealed.

Xbox One gamers also received a new update during November which brought the Windows 10 subsystem to the Xbox One, making it the fastest console in certain scenarios like joining parties or installing games. Xbox One also led the way in the industry for allowing fans to dictate how the system should operate with the industry leading Feedback website.

Besides the new update and Backwards compatibility, Xbox One buries the competition with customer convenience with External Hard drive game installs, EA Access, Game Streaming, Game Preview, Games with Gold, Deals with Gold, and the best feature of all Xbox Live.

Looking Forward

Microsoft might not have set the world on fire sales wise with the Xbox One only taking 2 out of the 11 months to date in the US and Microsoft not really revealing much about game sales except that Forza had 7 million unique players since launch in 2013, Titanfall having over 10 Million unique gamers playing the game since launch and Halo 5 breaking records with over $400 Million in sales in 6 days, it was clear to see that the Xbox One was outperforming the Xbox 360 during the same sales cycle.

Looking to 2016, the Xbox One will continue to evolve as Microsoft takes customer feedback to how the system to change. The first 6 months and criticism from fans have Microsoft releasing big titles right off the bat. In 2016, the Xbox One will received confirmed titles like Crackdown 3, Quantum Break, Scalebound, Gears 4, Sea of Thieves, Recore, Halo Wars 2, Fable Legends, and Phil Spencer teasing that there will be some surprises during the year not listed above (Personally I hope it’s Forza Horizon 3).

Third party games will also fill in the blanks, or more likely flood the cracks with additional games for Xbox One owners. Features like Backwards Compatibility will continue to grow the library of games, with developers embracing the feature more once Microsoft integrates the store into the Xbox One.

If you think 2015 was quite busy for gamers in general, 2016 will be even more exciting. And Xbox One will be the premier place to enjoy your games going forward.