The Xbox Series X ended 2021 with a bang. After a quiet start to the year, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and Xbox One found themselves in possession of Halo Infinite, Forza Horizon 5, Psychonauts 2, and more exclusive games, just in time for the holidays.
Xbox Game Pass also saw many improvements, with a host of additional backward-compatible titles, along with cloud game streaming for a variety of devices. This meant that you could access some of the best Xbox Series X games without having the console, as well as having day one access to new releases.
Sony’s PS5 may be the winner when it comes to exclusive new games. But Xbox as an ecosystem, which also includes Windows 10 and Windows 11 PCs, has a wide range of things to offer.
All that said, what will 2022 look like for Xbox Series X and Xbox as a whole? So far, it looks pretty much the same, only better.
More Xbox exclusives
(Image credit: Bethesda)
While many release dates are still speculative, there will be a slew of Xbox and Windows PC exclusive games in 2022, thanks to the Xbox Game Studios suite of game developers and Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda.
There’s the survival horror-tinged Scorn, the CrossfireX first-person shooter, the Redfall vampire-slaying cooperative survival game, the Warhammer 40K: Darktide sci-fi shooter, the STALKER 2: Heart of Chernobyl exploration and survival shooter , and the big one: the sci-fi epic Starfield.
There are also a host of games with no release dates, such as Fable 4, Avowed, and Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2, all of which we expect to hear more of in 2022, likely in a big E3 showcase.
And more next-gen games
(Image credit: Bandai Namco)
While Forza Horizon 5 showed what the Xbox Series X could do with graphically demanding gaming, there weren’t necessarily many games that really harnessed the power of the console. The likes of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Halo Infinite look best on current-gen consoles, but are still playable on state-of-the-art machines.
We expect that to change a bit over the next 12 months. Microsoft has said that it will support games on both current and next-generation consoles, thanks to its Smart Delivery system. However, it is likely that as the Xbox Series X matures, there will be games that simply require too much graphics power to run on older hardware. We can expect that to start to happen in 2022, when games like Elden Ring and Rainbow Six Extraction start pushing the hardware of the X Series and the PS5. The Xbox One X might not be outdone right away, but expect more graphics-demanding games to run at 1080p and 30 frames per second.
Xbox Series X refills are not set to upgrade
(Image credit: Phil Barker / Future Publishing via Getty Images)
Finding an Xbox Series X resupply isn’t likely to be any easier any time soon. For the past 12 months hunting an Xbox Series X has been a nightmare. Even Microsoft itself struggled to get the console for a Halo Infinite event.
In the best case, the situation could start to improve in mid-2022. AMD, which provides the chipset for Xbox Series X, Series S and PS5, expects the shortage of stocks to decrease a bit in the second half of the year.
“I hope that it will be from June-September of next year 2022 when, perhaps, it will be possible to go down to a video game store or a department store to buy a PlayStation 5 or an Xbox Series X without it being an impossible task,” said the AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su in October.
Since PC graphics cards for gaming are in short supply too, it’s a tough time to search for hardware updates. But there is a solution, thanks to game streaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. You can run newer games on the older Xbox One, as long as your internet connection is fast and stable enough.
Xbox Game Pass grows
(Image credit: Shutterstock)
We’ve already talked about how Xbox Game Pass is the best deal on games. And in 2022, it is likely to improve. This is because first-hand Xbox exclusive games have day-one releases on the subscription service, which arguably Game Pass is a must-have for any Xbox user.
The fact that Game Pass included Forza Horizon 5 and Halo Infinite only at launch makes it quite special. But during 2021, Game Pass expanded to include more than 70 games dating back to the original Xbox, some of which got frame rate boosts. We wouldn’t expect many more Xbox and Xbox 360 games to appear on Game Pass. But we bet well that Microsoft optimizes more Xbox One games to take advantage of the X Series and S Series hardware.
These games are likely to rub shoulders with those of Starfield, which will hit Game Pass on November 11, the day of its launch. Indeed, Game Pass is now, and will continue to be, the go-to service for people who want to play multiple generations of Xbox games.
We also expect Microsoft to add more PC Game Pass titles, as well as more games that players can stream to their smartphones. These games could include adapted touchscreen controls, as we’ve seen in games like Gears 5.
In short, if you haven’t taken the plunge with Game Pass yet, then 2022 seems like the year to do so.
More Halo Infinite
(Image credit: Microsoft / 343)
Since Halo Infinite has a season pass system for its multiplayer mode and the game’s campaign launched without cooperative options, we can expect more Halo content in 2022.
Multiplayer is likely to be the focus here, as Microsoft hasn’t announced any future updates for the single-player campaign. But we’re curious to see if developer 343 Industries adds any special features alongside the cooperative campaign mode.
Either way, 2022 is sure to be a great year for Xbox Series X and Xbox, both as a console and as a gaming ecosystem. The future of Xbox looks really interesting.
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