At the end of every year, Steam compiles a list of the top games of the year divided conveniently into categories showing the top best-sellers, new releases, most played games, games that successfully got out of early access, VR games, and games that were the most controller friendly for those of us who are not too fond of the keyboard/mouse scheme. This year is no different. With just one day left till the start of the New Year, Steam has released its rankings, and there is a surprise for many.
Going through the rankings of top new releases, we can see games that you might have at least come across once, seeing as how they have dominated online forums and communities. One detail, though, particularly stands out. Three of the top 12 new releases share the same publisher, which is Microsoft/Xbox Game Studios. The games in question are Halo Infinite, Age of Empires 4, and Forza Horizon 5, all of which have been released to rave reviews and critical acclaim, especially Forza Horizon 5, which tied for the most awards won by a single title, with Game of The Year winner It Takes Two.
This marks a new trend for Microsoft/Xbox Game Studios which has been focusing more on video games as a whole, under the leadership of Phil Spencer. It now owns a total of 23 studios, following its high-profile acquisition of Bethesda, granting it access to best-selling and beloved IPs such as Dishonored, DOOM, and The Elder Scrolls series. Their acquisitions have also granted them access to titles such as The Outer Wilds, and this year’s hot title Psychonauts 2.
Also worth noting is the fact that previous year as well, Microsoft/Xbox Game Studios was the publisher of 3 of Steam’s top new releases. These were Microsoft Flight Simulator (a return to form for the series after a 14-year absence), Sea of Thieves, and Grounded. Whether they can continue to fare so well in the future, with competition ramping up from surprising new titles such as the Amazon Games published title New World, only time will tell.