Xbox’s Plans Are a Symptom of the Future

Xbox has announced that four games are going to be leaving Xbox exclusivity and becoming multi platform. This announcement comes following the consistent rumors that were going around last week that all Xbox games would eventually reach other consoles. While this caused quite the panic, it’s clear now it was just rumors and nothing more. Xbox games are staying put for the most part, but it’s worth asking if this is a strategy that might be employed by their competitors going forward as well.

Sharing is Caring

 

When it comes to the issue of games going multiplatform, you always run into the question of what negatives are there? For Xbox fans, it was clear last week the negatives were that the Xbox would not be worth having if the exclusives were available elsewhere. While that thought alone may be something of a realization for Xbox fans, it’s still something worth considering. If the Switch lost its exclusives, you still have the capability of playing portably. Playstation and Xbox it would be a case of which controller you like more. The point is that if all games on every system went multiplatform, people would still pick their favorites. No console would ever outright dominate.

On the positive side, multiplatform gaming would be an incredible thing to happen for gaming fans everywhere. There are entire game series that millions of gamers have managed to miss because of console exclusivity. Releasing Halo, God of War, and Zelda to other consoles would be an incredible thing to have happen, and when you consider the state of the gaming industry right now, that possibility might seem as far off as you think.

Why Other May Follow

Sony has recently announced it has no plans to release an exclusive game in 2024. Coming off 2022 and 2023 where titles like God of War: Ragnarok and Spider-Man 2 took the gaming world by storm, it’s a shocking announcement, but the truth of the matter is that games take forever to get made these days. While massive titles are releasing on Sony’s platform this year, none will be Playstation exclusive, and because of this, sales will dip. The longer a game development cycle gets, the more periods of downtime we’re going to experience in the future. The pandemic certainly didn’t help game development times, but even still, 3-4 years has become the norm in this gaming age where it once took a year to make a 70-hour game.

The costs of gaming production have gotten to be completely outrageous, with titles coming in at the 300 million and above mark every year, and when those games aren’t the megahits they planned them to be, companies are left with a daunting hole in their profits. In the past 5 years alone, we’ve had Starfield, Spider-Man 2, and Cyberpunk 2077 passing the 300 million cost, and as the technology gets better, it’s only going to get pricier which means the pressure to create huge hits will get even higher.

These wildly expensive games are generally single-player experiences, too, so games that take millions upon millions to make will likely only see one playthrough from even their most diehard fans. That means outside of DLC and dreaded microtransactions, the buck stops there. This is why you see so many studios try their hands at Games as a Service, even legendary studios like Rocksteady with Suicide Squad, Bioware with Anthem, and Ubisoft with Skull and Bones.

The problem is Games as a Service is a bit of a disaster at this point. They keep coming out, and they keep bombing catastrophically. The reason why they fail isn’t the design philosophy, because when it’s done right, it can be great. See Destiny 2 and Genshin Impact for ways this model can work. The problem is that so many developers put out passionless trash and expect the masses to bow to them. It’s readily apparent when companies care about the product and when they don’t. When your Gaas style games throw a half-assed campaign together with limited enemy types and promises of the “real game” starting after you finish, you know there are symptoms of a bad game forming.

Anthem, Gotham Knights, Suicide Squad, all are very guilty of this sin. What did they all have in common? Repetitive enemy types, uninspired mission design, and promises of an improved game down the road. Anthem and Gotham Knights failed at this promise, while Suicide Squad might be able to redeem itself, but the chips are stacked against a comeback there as well.  While these are games meant to be played for a lengthy amount of time, they are often so poorly made that they don’t grip the players long enough to rip more cash away from them in the form of cosmetic microtransactions and lifeless DLC. Herein lies the problem. Most developers aren’t making a killing on single-player games outside of the major studios, and even those sometimes fail, as shown with Immortals of Aveum, which happened to launch at the worst possible time in a crowded 2023.  So, even a successful game isn’t necessarily making companies enough money to fund their next big games.

What’s the Answer?

Xbox, despite being the third most popular console this gaming generation may have the answer. They are releasing Sea of Thieves, Pentiment, Hi-Fi Rush, and Grounded. These are far from system sellers, but this is just a test. Xbox is testing the waters for what may one day be the norm in the gaming world. They were never going to blurt out “Halo for everybody!” from day one, but Sea of Thieves has a pretty sizeable fanbase and the release to other consoles could create an important example of what should happen in the future.

The reason this might be the right move is because whenever an exclusive releases, that game is missing millions of gamers each time. With the expenses one day soon approaching billion dollars, these companies simply have no other option but to expand their pool of players. It could alienate some fans sure, but in the long run, it could be the best move for long term success.

Xbox may be releasing these games on other consoles, but keep in mind they are still profiting from it. This isn’t a charity move; it’s a shrewd business decision that may very well fail, but if it succeeds, titles like Starfield, Gears of War, and other Xbox exclusives might start making their way to other systems. If Xbox goes this route and the other consoles follow, it no longer will gatekeeping exist from console to console. Do I want to be able to play games like Fire Emblem on PS5? Absolutely. Do I want Halo with Dual Sense controller accessibility? You’re damn right I do.

Sony Is Joining In Sooner Than Later

It’s not just Xbox that’s going to be sharing the wealth, as Sony also has big plans to get their exclusive games to other consoles. If you thought that Sony has won the war already and has no need to do this, think again. As stated above, the costs of these games are simply too much for these consoles not to venture down this route.

This is massive news, too, because when it comes to Sony, their exclusives are not to be messed with. We’re talking mega-hits like Bloodborne, Horizon: Zero Dawn, God of War, and Spider-Man. These are likely titles the company will be looking at when considering a wider release, and you can bet a pretty penny that it will be a most lucrative release when it finally does happen. Nintendo has been quiet on all fronts regarding bringing their exclusives to other consoles, but never say never.

The Start of Something New

While video games are the most profitable industry on earth, they are still struggling to find a profitable pace to release games. If everyone starts to share their games, more and more fanbases are accessible. If you release Final Fantasy 16 on Xbox, you’re going to have a whole lot of Xbox players in Final Fantasy all of a sudden, and that’ll drive future titles to that console as well. This is a domino effect that could have enormous implications for the near future, and Xbox was brave enough to push the first one down.

1 1 vote
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
1 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
andrewsqual
andrewsqual
1 month ago

They said they have no exclusives for 2024 OF EXISTING FRANCHISES. Learn to read what was said. And Sony will not be following suit and, for example, downgrading the Decima engine to run on the garbage series s, especially for very little return. Most of Xbox’s games are Unreal Engine, so they are already designed for multiplatform release, even the 4 games in question. If FFXVI came to Xbox tomorrow, not enough people will buy and support it. THAT is the difference and problem Xbox has that makes the situation completely unique to them. They will have to throw 200… Read more »