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After weeks of speculations, Xbox executives confirmed that they will bring four Xbox exclusives to rival platforms. Although no platform has been mentioned, the four games will likely be going to either PS5, Nintendo Switch, or both. But who really gains when this happens; Xbox, the rival platforms, or the players?

Who Really Gains When Xbox Exclusives Go To Rival Platforms?

The February 15 Xbox business update was long overdue considering the backlash from the Xbox community when the news first broke that Xbox was sending some of its exclusives to rival platforms. Considering the rivalry between players on both platforms, the move felt like Xbox was losing and the feeling rubbed off on Xbox players. But, is that really the case?

As someone once said, good games sell consoles. Both Xbox and PlayStation executives know this which explains why they spend huge amounts of money annually to create stunning platform exclusives. The aim is to force those who want to play those games to purchase their consoles.

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Thankfully, Xbox boss Phil Spencer clarified in the business update podcast that the four games going to rival platforms was a one-off thing. If you pay close attention to his explanations for doing so, you will easily realize that unlike the popular opinion suggests, the decision was carved by a master chess player.

If you ever thought that the decision was disadvantageous to Xbox, you will have a change of heart by the end of this post—it’s a promise. If I was an executive in one of the rival platforms that they are considering, I would be wary about accepting Xbox exclusives on my platform rather than embracing them with a broad smile.

Who gains when Xbox exclusives go to rival platforms?

Who Really Gains When Xbox Exclusives Go To Rival Platforms?

The simple answer is this, Xbox will be the one that will benefit when they take their exclusives to rival platforms. Not the platforms. Not the players. During the business update podcast, Spencer declined to mention the names of the games that will be going to rival platforms because he didn’t want to spoil the moment for the developers.

However, he did give a hint about the type of games that would be coming to the rival platforms. Two of the games would be live service games while the other two are smaller titles that were initially not supposed to be platform exclusives.

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If you are familiar with live service games, you will know that they need as many players as possible to make them fun and ensure their long-term survival. PlayStation recently launched Helldivers 2 on PC, the first game from Sony’s first-party studio to launch on a platform other than PlayStation console on launch day.

It turned out to be a great decision. Helldivers 2 has hit 333,827 all-time concurrent players count effectively making it the PlayStation game with the most concurrent player count on Steam. In fact, the success of the game on Steam has made Sony reconsider its business model.

In the latest earnings report, the interim chairman of Sony Interactive Entertainment Hiroki Totoki promised to be more aggressive with revenue, including launching more PlayStation-exclusive games on PC. Bringing live service games to PlayStation should be no surprise at all. Xbox wins by simply having more players engaging with their games and making money off players on rival platforms in the process.

Xbox is indirectly trying to poach players on other platforms

Who Really Gains When Xbox Exclusives Go To Rival Platforms?

While this was supposed to be a hidden motive, I loved the courage and sincerity of Spencer to mention it, thereby leaving no room for more rumors. Spencer openly mentioned that bringing Xbox exclusives to other platforms will help players on other platforms discover Xbox exclusive games.

Let’s face it, most gamers are loyal to a particular platform. I was first introduced to PlayStation growing up and I have stuck with the brand ever since. Not a single time in my life have I tried to play a game on Xbox. Yes, I know my case may be extreme, but there is no denying the fact that some gamers are like that.

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So, there are players out there that have never played an Xbox exclusive title before. Therefore, they don’t know what they may be missing by not having tried the other console. However, what Xbox execs have done is to give players like that a chance to see what they may be missing.

We also know that gamers can be like Oliver Twist, always asking for more. Four games may be enough to get curious gamers to ask for more, and in doing so may consider purchasing an Xbox console. Again, the only winner I see here is Xbox.

Players on rival platforms are the ultimate pawn

On the surface, it may seem as if players on rival platforms are the ultimate beneficiaries of this business decision. However, while players on rival platforms will get more games to play, they are by far the biggest losers of this business decision—and I will explain.

Firstly, I imagine players on rival platforms queuing up to purchase these previous Xbox exclusives when they become available. That is more money leaving their pockets, monies that would have stuck with them if Xbox had not thrown the bait.

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Some will purchase out of curiosity, to have a taste of what Xbox exclusives look like, or to compare Xbox exclusives to the exclusives on their native gaming console. I foresee players who purchased the titles just to mock Xbox players ending up questioning their stereotypes—especially if the planned games turn out to play excellently on their native platform.

The more stereotypes Xbox shatters with this unusual business decision, the more likely they will experience a spike in their console sales. The revenue realized from shipping their games to rival platforms will help them to further develop the games or invest them into new projects.

I struggled to see the part where it is not Xbox winning and couldn’t finger even one. Take away ego and you will appreciate the decision for what it is—genius! The coming months will be interesting for the video game industry. As Spencer mentioned in the Business Update podcast, the place of platform exclusives may get smaller in the video game industry in the future.

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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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