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Microsoft: Four Xbox-exclusive games are coming to PS5 and Nintendo Switch

Microsoft: Four Xbox-exclusive games are coming to PS5 and Nintendo Switch

It's official: Microsoft is bringing some Xbox-exclusive games to PS5 and Nintendo Switch. It is part of a broader strategy shift inside Microsoft's gaming business to develop games beyond the company's Xbox consoles.

"We've made the decision that we will port four games to other consoles," Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer revealed on the Official Xbox Podcast. Strangely, Microsoft is refusing to name the four titles, but the company says that two are community-driven games and the other two are smaller titles.

Sources familiar with Microsoft's plans tell me that the first two titles will be Hi-Fi Rush and Pentiment, followed by Sea of Thieves and Grounded. Spencer claims that there has been no change in the company making Xbox exclusives, yet, at the same time, he also believes that there will be fewer console exclusives across the industry in the next decade.

"My fundamental belief is that over the next five or ten years, games specific to a piece of hardware are going to become a smaller and smaller part of the game industry," says Spencer on the Xbox Podcast.

Microsoft is framing the move as just four games that the company can learn from, testing the waters if you will. But rumors have revealed that Microsoft's ambitions for multiplatform games run much deeper. Starfield was rumored for PS5, and I reported earlier this month that Microsoft was considering launching Indiana Jones on PS5, months after its Xbox launch.

Spencer has confirmed that Starfield and Indiana Jones are not a part of the first four games, but he does not rule out the possibility of these titles coming to PS5 in the future. "I don't think as an industry we should rule out a game going to another platform," says Spencer in an interview with The Verge. “We are focusing on these four games and learning from the experience. We are not working on other franchises. But for someone to stand up and say something is never going to happen, I think it's like creating more certainty in the world of gaming where you're really responding to what the customers want and our What the players and producers want. What are you looking for?

So, not every Xbox game is going to suddenly appear on rival consoles, but Microsoft is clearly considering the possibility of more in the future. I asked Spencer if there would be more multiplatform games, especially if these four are successful:

I understand that Microsoft has previously considered the idea of bringing Gears of War, Microsoft Flight Simulator, and even the next Doom game to rival platforms. The final decision on these other games has not been taken yet, but there will definitely be more than four. As this strategy evolves, it's clear that some interesting decisions will be made about the future of Xbox games and exclusivity.

So, why does Microsoft need to launch an Xbox exclusive on a rival platform? The company speaks of the need to evolve Xbox "to ensure long-term success for both Xbox and the industry as a whole." Microsoft's gaming business has become bigger than the Windows division thanks to the Activision Blizzard acquisition, so it's not in trouble. However, the Xbox business as a whole still needs to get bigger. Microsoft's Xbox Series S sales and, again, content could be a good source of revenue growth.

Microsoft is now seizing the opportunity to put its games elsewhere, or "Xbox Everywhere" as the company refers to it internally. "We're making these decisions for some specific reasons," Spencer says. “We make every decision with the long-term health of Xbox in mind, which means a growing platform, the performance of our games, building the best platform for creators, reaching more players. We're always trying to learn and grow as a leadership team, and we think it's an interesting time for us to use some other platforms to help grow our franchises.

Xbox fan reactions will inform Microsoft's next steps. "I always take the feedback from our most ardent fans very seriously," admits Spencer, who isn't discouraged by the idea of exclusives always helping Xbox console sales. “We know that when people are playing today, their attraction to a platform is as much about where their friends and their game libraries are as it is about whether it's a particular game now. I know it's a fantasy world where people think that a particular game drives sales for a platform, but the industry doesn't really work that way today.

Fans are also concerned about the future of Xbox hardware, and Microsoft is introducing the next-generation console to help reassure them. "There are some exciting things coming out in hardware that we're going to share this holiday, and we've also invested in the next-generation road map," Xbox president Sarah Bond says on the Xbox Podcast. "What we're really focused on is the biggest technological leap ever in a hardware generation."

There are also some "more console and controller options" for Xbox fans this holidays, and maybe even an Xbox handheld in the future. You can read more about Microsoft's Xbox hardware plans here.

I ended my interview with Phil Spencer by asking what Microsoft does to Xbox now? “Xbox is our gaming platform and content business. "This is Microsoft's number one consumer business," says Spencer. “It's an important business, it's a consumer category that is driven by technology and creativity.”

But they never mentioned that Xbox is a console, a piece of hardware, because it isn't anymore. Microsoft gaming has expanded far beyond Xbox. Now the company is really starting to show what its Xbox Everywhere vision is about. If Microsoft is successful, it could change the way the entire game industry thinks about making games. If that's not the case, you can bet Microsoft will be back to the drawing board to figure out how it can take Xbox everywhere.

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