Recent reports suggest that Xbox Studios games like Starfield, Indiana Jones and the Great Circle, and Hi-Fi Rush are coming to PlayStation 5 (and Switch, in Hi-Fi Rush’s case). Though some old quotes from Xbox’s big boss Phil Spencer made it clear this was always a possibility, the notion that Xbox’s in-house games could come to every feasible platform has caught some folks off-guard.
Here’s a quote from Spencer from when Xbox was finalizing the Bethesda buy-out in March of 2021, in which he says the company’s games will come to other platforms, without specifying which games would end up on PlayStation and when.
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.
There are a lot of implications to Xbox making third-party ports a pillar of its business, and it raises questions and concerns about Microsoft’s future in the console market. What reason is there to buy an Xbox console if you can play any game that launches on it elsewhere, on top of their competitors’ exclusives? Is a Game Pass subscription enough of a reason to stick with the console? How financially viable is that for a company as big as Microsoft’s games division?
But also, shouldn’t good games be made available to as many people as possible? Shouldn’t developers be able to share their work with a large audience not divided by $500 plastic boxes? Isn’t console tribalism outdated and should not be the determining factor in anyone’s decisions?
How are we feeling, Kotaku readers? Are you excited to see Xbox’s games on other platforms? Are you upset as an Xbox owner? Are you entirely indifferent? Sound off in the comments, folks.