A number of leaks happened over the weekend that seem to have big implications for Microsoft’s Xbox plans moving forward. Reports from The Verge and XboxEra claim that two major Bethesda releases, Indiana Jones and the Great Circle and Starfield, could both come to PlayStation 5, adding to the pile of Xbox multiplatform rumors that have been piling up over the past few months.
Update: Xbox head Phil Spencer has announced a “business update event next week,” seemingly in response to these rumors. Original story continues below.
The Verge’s report says a source close to Bethesda told the outlet that MachineGames, which is owned by Bethesda Softworks’ parent company, ZeniMax Media, is “considering” releasing its new Indiana Jones game on PlayStation 5 sometime after it launches on PC and Xbox Series X/S in 2024. This would be a full-circle moment, considering the Indiana Jones midquel was originally meant to launch on PlayStation 5 prior to Xbox’s acquisition of Bethesda back in 2021. Fans got a first look at the first-person action game during January’s Xbox Developer Direct.
XboxEra, meanwhile, reported its sources had informed it of plans for a Starfield PS5 port sometime after its Shattered Space DLC launches later in 2024. The outlet’s report also states that Microsoft has invested in more PlayStation 5 dev kits in order to facilitate these efforts.
All of this follows weeks of rumors and speculation that the rhythm action game Hi-Fi Rush, developed by Tango Gameworks under Bethesda’s umbrella, and Rare’s multiplayer pirate game Sea of Thieves, could also be coming to PlayStation in the near future. The Verge’s story says a Hi-Fi Rush announcement is set for “the coming weeks” and datamined assets also imply that PlayStation and Switch-exclusive shirts for its main character exist in the code.
So what should we take away from this? For starters, Microsoft has said that the billions of dollars it’s spent on acquisitions did not mean every game from its newly first-party subsidiaries was going to become an Xbox and PC exclusive. Head of Xbox Phil Spencer has even said he doesn’t believe exclusives are the future of the industry, and prior to all these rumors, several properties Microsoft acquired have remained on multiple platforms, such as Minecraft and Call of Duty (though a deal had to be made to make that happen for the Activision acquisition to go through).
Notably, several of these rumored PlayStation ports are coming from Bethesda’s studios, and Spencer also said when the acquisition went through that not every game from those developers would be exclusive to Xbox and PC. Though the specifics of what was said were covered in corporate speak that gave the company an out, the underlying sentiment from Spencer was that Bethesda’s games could still come to other platforms for one reason or another.
So obviously, I can’t sit here and say every Bethesda game is exclusive because we know that’s not true – there are contractual obligations that we’re going to see through as we always do in every one of these instances. We have games that exist on other platforms and we’re going to go support those games on the platforms that they are on. There are communities of players, we love those players, and we’re going to invest in them.
And even in the future there might be things that have either contractual things or legacy on different platforms that we’ll go do, but if you’re an Xbox customer, the thing I want you to know is this is about delivering great exclusive games for you that ship on platforms where Game Pass exists. And that’s our goal, that’s why we’re doing this, that’s the root of this partnership that we’re building, and the creative capability we will be able to bring to market for our Xbox customers is going to be the best it’s ever been for Xbox after we’re done here.
Despite that having been Xbox’s messaging for years at this point, it seems some Xbox fans still didn’t want to think this day might come. Xbox has already been facing criticism from vocal, strictly monogamous console owners for bringing its games to PC, claiming it devalues the Xbox itself if it doesn’t have exclusive games. That sentiment will only grow stronger if Halo or Gears of War starts showing up on rival consoles. But when you’re selling every Xbox system at a loss, you can start to make that money up by selling your games on other platforms and taking your cut. If you want the brand to continue in any form, maybe take a step back and remember capitalism is a numbers game. As games get more expensive to make, no amount of idealized console wars bullshit is worth the human cost of a game not making its money back. Xbox just cut nearly 2000 jobs across its company, and it can happen again.
We’ve reached out to Xbox for comment and will update this story if we hear back.