Xbox going third-party and stepping away from hardware, says insider
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Featured Image Credit: Microsoft
My Monday morning social media scroll was dominated by two things, Taylor Swift’s announcement of The Tortured Poet’s Department and the reaction to Xbox’s leaked upcoming strategy. While I chose to pay attention to the former (I’m not the only one thinking the cover is giving Folklore energy, right?), it’s time for me to confront the cacophony of noise surrounding the latest Xbox debacle.
As I’m sure you’ve seen, it’s believed that Xbox will soon be announcing a new strategy that would see many of their first-party exclusives release on platforms such as the PlayStation 5 at a later date. It was already rumoured that titles like Hi-Fi Rush and Sea of Thieves had ports set to be announced immediately. Now, word is that Starfield will launch on the PlayStation 5 alongside the release of the Shattered Space expansion on Xbox later this year, as could the upcoming Indiana Jones and the Great Circle. There’s been a strong reaction from long-time Xbox fans in response to the potential switch to become a fully multi-platform publisher, ranging from pure outrage to utter bafflement.
Take a look at our review of Starfield below.
Before we proceed, I should add that while this strategy is heavily leaked by multiple sources at this point, we should still take everything with a light pinch of salt, just until we have official confirmation from Microsoft. The persistent theme of these claims is that Xbox is drifting to a third-party / multi-platform approach, with less emphasis on hardware. Speaking on Gamers Council, insider TimDog made a number of explanatory claims about the leak.
He explained that hardware sales had reportedly not met expectations, despite Xbox offering the low-priced Xbox Series S and some excellent Series X deals as of late. He went on to add that the Xbox One is more in demand and overall, the company is seeing hardware sales decline year on year.
Moving on to Game Pass, TimDog teased that Call of Duty might not be heading to the platform. The service was said to be unsustainable with not enough of a market share to offset the cost. The happy news is that TimDog said the company has a killer showcase planned featuring a ton of games, but it is expected these will be announced with the asterisk of going multi-platform.
TimDog also added that he suspects Xbox will lean towards going all digital with AI community managers although this felt more like speculation. The strategy was reportedly leaked by an enraged employee who wanted Microsoft to see the public outcry. Well, it certainly feels as if that’s happening.
You can somewhat understand the thinking. Last year’s Xbox Showcase was arguably one, if not the, strongest event of the year, delivering several incredible reveals - and yet, the company still hasn’t quite managed to shift consoles as quickly as they’d like. That being said, the strategy risks making Xbox consoles semi obsolete. While I imagine games by Xbox-owned studios would have a short Xbox console exclusivity window, is that enough to make future prospective console owners choose Xbox over PlayStation? It’s a messy topic of debate - and one that I fear will dictate the coming months.