More Third-Party Releases From Xbox Won’t Be As Bad As You Think

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Microsoft Will Still Make Exclusives!

Story Highlights
  • Xbox may be focusing more on third-party development after recent rumors.
  • This move will help Microsoft adapt to the competition, relying on software more than hardware.
  • Such a shift was inevitable after Xbox acquired Activision Blizzard.
  • The biggest games are unlikely to go third-party, so fans have little to worry about.

Xbox has dominated gaming headlines this past year, though not necessarily for the right reasons.

Whether trailing behind its competitor, PlayStation, in sales or facing stalled Game Pass growthโ€“ one of Xbox’s major revenue streams โ€“ the gaming giant is navigating various hardships in this current generation.

Interestingly, Xbox did acknowledge its defeat in the console war, raising questions about the company’s future direction. It seems unlikely they’ll catch up to PlayStation, but the focus appears to be on establishing and evolving the brand, recognizing the significant shifts in the gaming market over the past few years.

Recent rumors, like the possibility of Sea of Thieves and Hi-Fi Rush arriving on PlayStation, have sparked discussions all over the industry. Similarly, Microsoft CFO Tim Stuart’s statement expressing the desire to bring first-party games to other platforms has stirred controversy, particularly among Xbox fans.

One would think that bringing Xbox exclusives to other platforms may as well dilute the reason for competition among consoles. However, there is more to this strategy than meets the eye.

Why it matters: This approach could be a strategic decision from Xbox to grow the gaming brand while preserving the identity many have come to associate with it.

Gears 6

Major Xbox Games Won’t Be Released Everywhere

What many people seem to be overlooking is that the rumored games fall under the category of AA games or multiplayer, such as Hi-Fi Rush and Sea of Thieves.

It’s crucial to note that major Xbox brand games, including staples like Halo, Forza games, and Gears, will not be making their way to PlayStation. These blockbuster titles are the primary reasons players choose Xbox, not necessarily the AA games like Hi-Fi Rush and Sea of Thieves.

While Xbox has been criticized for lacking narrative-driven games, making PlayStation a preferred choice for players seeking compelling storylines, the current generation is witnessing efforts from Xbox to fill this gap.

Recent releases such as Indiana Jones and The Great Circle, Hellblade 2, and Stalker 2 exemplify exclusive titles aimed at expanding the Xbox catalog. Fans can rest assured the biggest Xbox games will continue to stay on Microsoft’s platform.

Adapting To The Competition

It is no secret that console manufacturers like Sony and Microsoft profit the most from software sales. The hardware is often sold at a loss, serving as a means to bring people into the larger ecosystem.

However, with the Xbox Series S|X falling significantly behind the competition, this strategy serves to help Microsoft recoup some of those losses elsewhere. Games like Sea of Thieves have millions of players already and will likely find a few million more after a new release.

In turn, this new revenue stream could help Microsoft ensure its biggest games, which I believe will stay exclusive, maintain a high level of quality expected of console blockbusters.

In 2023, it is clear that Microsoft’s console is just one piece of the larger puzzle. The gaming giant is focused on the entire ecosystem, and third-party sales can help expand this ecosystem to the millions playing on other platforms.

Microsoft Activision Blizzard Acquisition
Microsoft President Brad Smith

Exclusivity Is Slowly Losing Its Importance

Since the last generation, Microsoft has shown little interest in keeping exclusives. Last year, CEO Satya Nadella claimed that, given the choice, he would end exclusivity altogether.

Various highly-rated games like Ori and The Blind Forest and Cuphead, which launched as Xbox exclusives, are now available on platforms like Nintendo Switch and PlayStation.

Elsewhere, Sony has followed a similar trend, bringing its exclusives to PC at release, with live service titles like Helldivers 2 arriving on the platform on day one. This appears to be the natural progression of the industry as consumers expand their options.

A few years from now, consoles will likely be less important as PC gaming grows and cloud services become more practical. Xbox appears to be ahead of the curve in this approach, with others expected to follow eventually.

Microsoft Activision Blizzard Acquisition
Microsoft Activision Blizzard Acquisition

This Was Inevitable After The Activision Merger

Last year, Microsoft spent nearly $70 billion to successfully buy Activision Blizzard. This positioned the gaming giant as a publisher of games on various consoles, giving it the slight nudge needed to pursue a bigger third-party approach.

Ultimately, Microsoft now needs to recoup and profit from this investment. With titles like Call of Duty and Diablo already having a presence on other consoles, a few more added to the list won’t do much harm.

The future of Xbox is quite interesting. CEO Satya Nadella has alluded to this third-party push, but Phil Spencer has yet to comment. Amid the rumors, some fans are confused and upset, but I believe this third-party approach won’t change much in the long run.

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