Speaking to Ben Hanson on a segment during the Game Informer Show, head of Xbox studios Matt Booty revealed that Microsoft isn’t opposed to offering some of its games on other systems. This doesn’t mean it wants to necessarily put everything on platforms other than Xbox or PC, but it will be approached on a franchise-by-franchise basis.
“I think the question is less binary about ‘Should it be on Switch? Should it be on PlayStation?’ and more ‘Does it make sense for the franchise?’ In other words, is it a kind of game where it would benefit from the network effect of being on a bunch of different platforms? Or is it a game where we can best support it by putting [in] resources and making sure our platforms — things like xCloud and Game Pass and Xbox Live — are really leaning in to support the game.”
Booty stressed that franchises like Halo and Forza are unlikely to be released outside the Xbox ecosystem, but he said that if the recently acquired Double Fine, for instance, were to wish for multiplatform releases for its games in the future, it would be allowed to do so. The studio was purchased by Microsoft during the development of Psychonauts 2, and the game will still be coming to PlayStation 4.
Obsidian Entertainment was also acquired by Microsoft during the later stages of the development of The Outer Worlds, and it is also still coming to PlayStation 4 and Switch alongside Xbox One and PC. Now that Obsidian is first-party, however, Booty said a sequel would likely by a Microsoft-exclusive game.
As more games add cross-platform play support, truly exclusive games are one of the only ways to separate one console from another. As it stands, only a handful of games can only be played on Xbox One, including Halo 5: Guardians. When Halo Infinite launches next year, it will also be on Xbox Scarlett and PC.