Microsoft has made it clear that there will be no exclusive games for the Xbox Series X developed by Xbox Game Studios during its first year on the market. And while it sounds like a shocking strategy to most console gamers, it fits in well with the tech giant’s new ethos. According to Xbox Game Studios head Matt Booty, Xbox One and Xbox Series X will be sharing games for at least its first year.
This could of course change, depending on how players react to this change in how console generations function.
And this strategy does come with some obvious drawbacks, something that Sony’s PS5 might try to capitalise on.
Having your first-party Xbox Series X games become cross-gen titles means that they won’t be able to look radically different from those featured on Xbox One.
There will be a limit to what can be done, even though Microsoft will be able to make the Xbox Series X versions of these games look great.
Meanwhile, no such pledged has been made by Sony at this time, meaning that the PS5 can have exclusive games at launch.
And this could help the PS5 stand out a bit more in what could be a very crowded market in 2020.
“As our content comes out over the next year, two years, all of our games, sort of like PC, will play up and down that family of devices,” Booty tells MCV.
“We want to make sure that if someone invests in Xbox between now and [Series X] that they feel that they made a good investment and that we’re committed to them with content.”
Highlighting Halo as an example of this new first-party experiment, Booty adds: “Our approach is to pick one or two IP that we’re going to focus on and make sure that they’re there at the launch of the console, taking advantage of all the features. And for us that’s going to be Halo Infinite, which is a big opportunity.
“It’s the first time in over 15 years that we’ll have a Halo title launching in sync with a new console. And that team is definitely going to be doing things to take advantage of [Series X].”
The thing is, this doesn’t mean that third-party developers can’t do whatever they want and make a few exclusive Xbox Series X launches.
While the emphasis will be on cross-gen for many studios, that shouldn’t rule out a few gems being announced in the comings months.
The Xbox One and PS4 have a huge combined playerbase, meaning it will be very profitable to have cross-gen titles.
But by making its Xbox Game Studio titles cross-gen, Microsoft is doing its best to make everything accessible.
When making a decision about what console you want to buy next, gamers will be stacking up everything, including the price.
If you can continue playing your favourite games on the next console, bringing with you a big digital library without a break, that could be looked at as very favourable.
It’s also hard to make the Xbox Series X stand out from the PS5, as both consoles want to keep parity during the upcoming console war.
So this latest little tweak should help players to decide which route they want to take.
It will certainly be interesting to see if these changes pay off, considering the ground Microsoft needs to make up in 2020 and beyond.