Microsoft expected to bring Xbox games to PS5 and Switch, announces coming "updates" on Xbox business

Art cropped from Xbox's current (2/2024) Twitter banner, preceding imminent "updates to the Xbox business".
Art cropped from Xbox's current (2/2024) Twitter banner, preceding imminent "updates to the Xbox business". (Image credit: Xbox Banner on Twitter)

Substantial industry rumors (like Hi-Fi Rush and potentially other Xbox titles coming to PS5/Switch revealed via datamining) and a recent Xbox tweet point toward the potential pivot of Microsoft's Xbox brand away from producing consoles and toward third party development. The post from the Xbox account details a podcast in two days with "updates on the Xbox business," which doesn't sound very promising.

While the future of Xbox consoles may seem up in the air, Microsoft seems determined to sell games from all the publishers they've bought up at any cost. As observed in an article from The Verge, Microsoft hasn't seen nearly the projected growth in Game Pass subscriptions across platforms (when it still reported the number). The latest official number given is 25 million Game Pass subscribers in 2022— achieving a 28% growth rate instead of a targeted 73% growth rate.

An FTC leak last year revealed the existence of a disc-less Xbox Series X console, so the most fatal of interpretations for Xbox's console business might not be quite accurate— not yet, anyway. Consoles as a business model are generally accepted to be built upon the exclusive games they have to offer or, failing that, price-to-performance. 

If Microsoft actually does turn Xbox into a full third-party publisher, it would be following the same console exit path as their direct industry predecessor, Sega— who incidentally developed exclusive Dreamcast sequels on Xbox, like Jet Set Radio: Future. The success of the aforementioned Hi-Fi Rush and Bomb Rush Cyberfunk inspired Sega to finally announce a new (still unreleased) Jet Set Radio at The Game Awards 2023. Strange how that specific game series seems to have roughly book-ended the Xbox console lifespan, at least if rumors of Xbox leaving console manufacturing are true.

Microsoft could be playing a dangerous game by releasing its Xbox exclusives on competing Nintendo and PlayStation platforms— where profits shared with competitors are arguably a pyrrhic victory as long as Xbox makes hardware. According to the Xbox tweet, we should be getting a better idea of its long-term plans on February 15th, just a day after Valentine's.

  • ivan_vy
    I won't call it a phryric victory, Sega came back into black numbers two years after the shift to third-party software development, I think Xbox didn't get the change in demographics, older gamers love single player (Witcher, CyberPunk,BG3, Alan Wake2) experiences that Sony excel at them (TLOU, Spiderman, God of War) and young players are hooked in versatile multiplayer experiences like Fortnite, Valorant, COD, LoL. Microsoft couldn't survive with just Halo and Gears, Minecraft proved a great success being multiplat, COD is a far too big money printing machine to keep it in Xbox ecosystem only, PC game same day releases proved a nail in the xbox coffin but the final shovel of dirt was GamePass, all you can eat model is not sustainable for a subsidized console and ever growing cost of game development.
    edit: 2 typos
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  • why_wolf
    I doubt they will end production of this generation. However I can see this being the last gen they make a console for. That rumor has been floating around since the 360 era.

    At the end of the day Microsoft is a software company. They've only ever gotten involved in hardware when the 3rd parties let them down by only pushing out inferior products. That start to give their software a bad name because the hardware can barely run it.

    The profit margins on software are just way, way, WAY better than on hardware.

    That said Microsoft is in a shot themselves in the foot mode with "cost cutting" to boost the stock price. So they may do something that is good short term but completely stupid long term.


    Regardless if the Xbox stops this is very bad for consumers. Guarantees the PS6 will be $700 because what are you going to do.
    Reply
  • ivan_vy
    why_wolf said:
    I doubt they will end production of this generation. However I can see this being the last gen they make a console for. That rumor has been floating around since the 360 era.

    At the end of the day Microsoft is a software company. They've only ever gotten involved in hardware when the 3rd parties let them down by only pushing out inferior products. That start to give their software a bad name because the hardware can barely run it.

    The profit margins on software are just way, way, WAY better than on hardware.

    That said Microsoft is in a shot themselves in the foot mode with "cost cutting" to boost the stock price. So they may do something that is good short term but completely stupid long term.


    Regardless if the Xbox stops this is very bad for consumers. Guarantees the PS6 will be $700 because what are you going to do.
    MS launched xbox to promote Direct X API and their fear Sony (a media company at the time) would try to eat the living room.
    https://www.essentiallysports.com/esports-news-how-sonys-massive-playstation-2-threat-triggered-microsoft-to-make-the-xbox/also hardware had to be developed because Nintendo refused their offer to buy them
    https://www.engadget.com/microsoft-wanted-to-buy-nintendo-145746874.html?guccounter=1MS never wanted XBOX business and was hemorrhaging billions for years, their only lead was in X360 era -the Xenos X360 CPU was somehow backed up by Sony
    https://games.slashdot.org/story/09/01/01/0657211/how-sonys-development-of-the-cell-processor-benefited-microsoftso MS stole (in more than one way) Sony's thunder that generation-
    but was negated by an early and untested HW launch that brought the infamous Red ring of Death fiasco.
    https://www.gamespot.com/articles/microsoft-explains-how-the-red-ring-of-death-happened/1100-6499059/
    Reply
  • ivan_vy
    why_wolf said:
    the PS6 will be $700 because what are you going to do.
    as long as PS games keep releasing on PC I'm fine with that, also new tech is expensive, *I'm looking at Nvidia GPUs price increasing with each generation.
    Reply
  • cryoburner
    Hi-Fi Rush isn't exactly a new AAA game release though. It was already a bargain-priced $30 game when it came out over a year ago. And Microsoft apparently didn't have much to do with the game's development. It was developed by the Japanese company Tango Gameworks and was already late into development prior to the Microsoft acquisition of its Parent company Zenimax. Considering the extremely low market penetration of Xbox consoles in Japan (currently only around half a million units for the Series X/S), it stands to reason that the developers of the game would have wanted it to eventually come to other platforms as well.

    And Microsoft already announced two years ago that they planned to keep Call of Duty and some other titles multiplatform, at least for the near-future, and signed 10-year agreements with Nintendo and Sony to keep Call of Duty games on their platforms. So the fact that they are releasing some multiplatform titles should not be surprising in the least, and doesn't necessarily mean that anything significant has changed. People are probably reading a bit too much into this.
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