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After weeks of speculations, the CEO of Microsoft Gaming division Phil Spencer has confirmed that four Xbox exclusives will be brought to rival platforms. He made the disclosure during a business update podcast on Thursday, February 15, 2024. Also present was Sarah Bond, president of Xbox and Matt Booty, vice president of Microsoft Studios.

Phil Spencer Confirms 4 Xbox Exclusives Are Heading To Rival Platforms

“We’ve had some unforeseen news that has come out,” Spencer said, “so, let’s just go and tackle the exclusivity questions because I know it’s on the minds of a lot of people.”

If you ever thought that your voice doesn’t matter when it comes to Xbox affairs, it would interest you to know that Spencer and other executives listen to the community, and he said it is “an important input for us”.

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“We made the decision that we’re going to take four games to the other consoles—just four games, not a change to our kind of fundamental exclusive strategy,” Spencer clarified. “We’re making these decisions for some specific reasons.”

“We make every decision, really, with the long-term health of Xbox in mind. Long-term health of Xbox means a growing platform, our games performing, building the best platform for creators, reaching as many players as we can. We’re always looking to learn as a leadership team and to grow. We think this is an interesting point in time for us to use what some of the other platforms have right now to help grow our franchises. So, we’re going to do that.”

The question that immediately came to my mind when Phil Spencer said, “Use what other platforms have right now” was, “What are those things that other platforms have that Xbox doesn’t?” Inasmuch as he sounded confident in his proposition and logic, we have to wait to see how impactful it would be. As I have always known, the decision is about boosting revenue.

Phil Spencer Confirms 4 Xbox Exclusives Are Heading To Rival Platforms

The two rivals that will likely be at the receiving end are Sony and Nintendo. Sony clearly has the higher number of console gamers and Nintendo is miles ahead in the handheld space. I don’t think Spencer was referring to hardware capability when he said, “use what other platforms have right now”, I believe he was talking about player numbers and enthusiasm.

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I wouldn’t like to be dragged into the console battle. However, it has always been claimed that PS gamers are usually more enthusiastic and stick with a game to the end while Xbox gamers are notorious for leaving a game after just a few hours of exploration. This has been blamed as the primary reason why Xbox exclusives rarely reach their full potential.

When it comes to bringing Xbox exclusives to Nintendo Switch, that decision will mostly be based on the share size of Switch owners. As of December 31, 2023, around 139.36 million Nintendo Switch have been sold.

Phil Spencer declined to name the four titles coming to rival platforms

Phil Spencer Confirms 4 Xbox Exclusives Are Heading To Rival Platforms

The Xbox Podcast host, Tina Amini, who is also the head of premier broadcasts asked Phil Spencer about the four titles that Xbox wants to bring to rival platforms. Asked if he could name the titles, Spencer declined with reasons.

“I’m not going to name those games,” Spencer said. “The teams that are building those games have announced plans that are not too far away. As we know, game teams put a lot of energy into their announcements with the partners. So, I don’t want to take anything away from those teams. I won’t be talking about the titles specifically. But I think when they come out, it’ll make sense.”

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Amini probed further by asking if Starfield and Indiana Jones are among the titles that Xbox plans to bring to rival platforms. Without mincing words, Spencer confirmed that Starfield and Indiana Jones will not be part of the games heading to rival platforms—at least for now.

Phil Spencer gives criteria for picking games that will go to rival platforms

Phil Spencer Confirms 4 Xbox Exclusives Are Heading To Rival Platforms

One important question was how Xbox handpicked the games it wanted to send to rival platforms. Amini followed up the Starfield and Indiana Jones question by asking the criteria that the team used in picking the titles that would go to rival platforms.

“Let me start a little bit outside of that, and then I’ll get to the four specific games that we’re talking about right now,” Spencer said, “because the fundamental decision driver for any decision that we make, anything we’re going to talk about today is the long-term health of Xbox—that we’re running a growing platform that is reaching more players, that our games are having as much success as possible.”

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“I do have a fundamental belief that over the next 5 or 10 years, exclusive games that are exclusive to one piece of hardware, are going to be a smaller and smaller part of the game industry. That’s not some great insight because if you look at the last 10 years and what the biggest games are today, it’s a natural place—whether it’s one console in PC, multiple consoles, mobile—you see big games landing on multiple platforms.

 

“We want to be a great platform for creators that are trying to realize that potential. Back to the specifics of the question on these four specific titles. We looked at games that are over a year old. So, they’ve been on Xbox and PC for a while. A couple of the games are community-driven games, new games, kind of first iterations of a franchise that have reached their full potential. Let’s say, on Xbox and PC—there’s always growth, franchises that we obviously want to continue to invest in.

 

“Part of having the ability to continue to invest is that the business behind those franchises continue. We think it’s important that these service-based games that have communities behind them, that they can have confidence that they’re going to exist in the future.

 

“So, two of them kind of community-driven games that will end up on other platforms and give us the ability to continue to invest in them. We think that’s great for the business and great for the communities—more players to play with.

 

“Two of the other games are smaller games that were never really meant to be built as kind of platform exclusives and all the fanfare that goes around that, but games that our teams really wanted to go build, that we love supporting creative endeavors across our studios regardless of size.

 

“As they’ve realized their full potential on Xbox and PC, we see an opportunity to utilize the other platforms as a place to just drive more business value out of those games, allowing us to invest in maybe future iterations of those, sequels to those, or just other games like that in our portfolio.

 

“When we don’t damage Xbox and we can grow our business using what other platforms have to help us with that, we’re going to do that. That’s really the story behind these four games. Last thing I’ll say looking forward, I think there is an interesting story for us of introducing Xbox franchises to players on other platforms to get them more interested in Xbox. We think there’s a good brand value for Xbox there.

 

“So, four games, no promise beyond that. So, if you’re on those other platforms and you see these four games coming, please don’t take it as some signal that everything’s coming. It’s not. We’re going to learn.

Do you think bringing four Xbox-exclusive games to rival platforms was a smart move or something Xbox may regret? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.


Anthony Emecheta

Anthony Emecheta has over a decade experience as a freelance writer. Gaming has always been a childhood hobby and he is excited to be collaborating with a gaming company as a content creator. It is like having all the things he loves in one place.

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