We know that Microsoft is considering some big hardware changes for the Xbox in the near future. But it seems that Microsoft is also considering some even bigger software ones. After years of Xbox exclusives, where some of the very best games could only be played on an Xbox Series S or Xbox Series X, Microsoft is reportedly planning to bring some of its biggest hitters to the PS5 and Switch.
According to multiple reports, triple-A games such as Indiana Jones and the Great Circle could come to PS5 within months of their Xbox release – and Microsoft is even considering making Starfield available to Sony gamers.
Why is Microsoft considering bringing Xbox games to other platforms?
According to The Verge, "a new multi-platform approach for certain Xbox games is emerging inside Microsoft". While some titles will still be Xbox exclusive, Microsoft will make others available on rival platforms such as the Switch or PS5. Some of the titles mooted for multi-platform release include Hi-Fi Rush and Sea of Thieves; according to XboxEra, Starfield will get a PS5 release once the game's Shattered Space DLC ships for Xbox and PC.
For now the plans are for games only; Microsoft's Phil Spencer has expressly ruled out bringing Game Pass to the likes of the PS5.
So what's going on? The short answer is that Microsoft is a games publisher now, having acquired studios such as Activision Blizzard and Bethesda; it owns the Call of Duty franchise, which of course is a massive money maker on PS5, and it also owns Minecraft. Selling more games on PS5 fits with Microsoft's stated strategy of bringing gaming to more platforms in more ways than just consoles – PC Game Pass, cloud gaming and mobile gaming too.
The move could have other benefits for Microsoft too: it helps fend-off anti-trust concerns of the kind that delayed its Activision purchase, with the US FTC and UK CMA both concerned that Microsoft would use its purchase of big-name game studios to prevent future titles from ending up on rival platforms.
For now there's no official word from Microsoft on its multi-platform plans, but we'd expect an official announcement soon: the Hi-Fi Rush news in particularly has already leaked via a listing by the Australian games rating board.