Going after Xbox made no sense. The people supporting that brand have largely moved to a service-based mindset toward their games and gamepass.
If you even look at their disc-based first party releases lately there’s no regard toward having a playable product ship on the disc, the attitude toward Xbox isn’t focused on collecting the same way it is toward Nintendo and PlayStation (to a lesser extent). Even before gamepass started taking over the Xbox brand, it was rare to find Xbox collectors.
All that and then there’s the rumors of their minimum order quantity being much higher than the others? Like I said, made no sense.
Selling 500 titles as your new introduction to a system, even with the boost of it being a popular title and brand (Tetris)? Oof, imagine as it goes on how something like a Kemco title would sell on Xbox. They’ve gotta be absolutely beside themselves this morning. I’m betting there’s going to be some “ufnforseen issue” with this title getting quietly canceled and refunded, if not all future xbox titles being cancelled as well. It’s definitely not going to be an upfront reason though, something like “our Microsoft partners weren’t up front with us” or “Microsoft changed their terms on us so we are backing out.”
Agreed. As you say, most Xbox gamers are sold on the idea of a service-based game subscription. It's no surprise given MS has pushed Gamepass in every aspect of its marketing, and was the first major console publisher to put out an all-digital system.
As I've said in other posts, no videogame publisher/maker has done more to "normalize" an all-digital video game landscape than Microsoft.
You can probably point to Microsoft for being among the reasons (if not THE reason) that physical video games are in the state they are in today. Even as far back as the launch of the 360, MS was trying to shift consumer sentiment away from discs/cartridges. While other services like Netflix, along with the global pandemic, certainly hastened the digital transition for the video game industry, one could make a good case that without a multi-billion dollar company like MS willing to take losses to establish a platform like Gamepass, Sony and Nintendo would not have bothered to go even as far as they have.
I presume every limited-game publishers putting Xbox discs out are likely to reverse course on those decisions this generation.
With Sony's recent sales figures showing essentially an 80/20 split between digital/physical sales, one has to think that the writing is also on the wall for seeing far, far (far!) less discs being printed and sold at retailers. It just doesn't make sense for the vast majority of publishers out there to bother to print games anymore.
Nintendo is the outlier, but even so, one has to think that you'll see more and more publishers go the route of half-baked cartridges like those we've seen from Capcom and Rockstar. Like everything else, Nintendo will pull up the rear on transitioning to digital, but it'll eventually have to move over entirely like others. Again, not so much because of the competition, but because it also makes monetary sense.
I do wonder how much longer the middle/small tier publishers who specialize in putting out physical games have left. We always knew the business model was inevitably capped, but that cap does seem to be coming faster than some thought.
I think there is no question now that this is the LAST generation with physical media in video games. It's sad to see the trend finally come close to final reality, but in some ways, it's also welcoming as many who buy physical games will soon either see that "hobby" close (at least for most newer titles) and/or get priced out as publishers keep testing how high they can charge to stay in business.