Rumors are heating up about a growing list of Xbox exclusives coming to PS5 including Hi-Fi Rush, Sea of Thieves, Indiana Jones and the Great Circle, Gears of War, and even Starfield. While Microsoft has yet to formally confirm any of these rumors, they do have many Xbox players worried.
Is this the end of Xbox exclusives? What’s motivating Microsoft Gaming to release exclusive titles on their rival’s console? Here’s what we know so far.
Are Starfield, Indiana Jones and more Xbox exclusives coming to PS5?
Rumors about Xbox exclusives coming to PS5 started in mid-January with reports about Hi-Fi Rush and Sea of Thieves making the jump to PlayStation. As the Verge reported at the time, the rumors follow a November 2023 announcement from Xbox CFO Tim Stuart about strategy changes over at Microsoft Gaming. It looks like those changes aren’t going to end with Hi-Fi Rush and Sea of Thieves.
New rumors hint that Starfield and Xbox’s upcoming Indiana Jones RPG are also on the table for PS5 ports. Current speculation is that Starfield could get a PlayStation release after its Shattered Space DLC comes out in late 2024. Microsoft is reportedly also considering the Gears of War franchise as yet another candidate to open up to PS5 players.
What about Indiana Jones, though? Since it hasn’t been released yet, could it potentially come out on Xbox and PS5 on day one? It’s still too early to tell exactly how Microsoft is planning to handle “exclusive” titles moving forward, so Indiana Jones and the Great Circle could be a good indicator of the new release strategy over at Microsoft Gaming.
If these rumors are true, it’s highly likely that more former Xbox exclusives will receive PS5 ports. Don’t get too excited, though. The Halo franchise is probably never coming to PlayStation consoles.
Why the shift in Microsoft’s Xbox exclusives strategy?
The big question surrounding all of these Xbox exclusives coming to PS5 is “why.” Why would Microsoft give up the draw of their exclusive games, potentially risking sales of future Xbox consoles? I’m no fan of the console exclusives system, but there’s no denying that exclusive games can sway players toward buying one console over the other.
Microsoft Gaming and the Xbox itself are in an interesting position right now, though. The PS5 and Nintendo Switch are both outselling the Xbox Series X/S by a huge margin. In 2023 the PS5 sold 22.5 million units while the Xbox Series X/S sold only 7.6 million (the Switch was right in the middle at 16.4 million units).
From console sales alone, the Xbox is clearly lagging in the console wars. It doesn’t end there, though. PlayStation is giving Xbox stiff competition with its exclusive games, as well. Titles like Bladur’s Gate 3 and the Spider-Man franchise have become pop culture icons, making the PS5 an increasingly appealing console.
PC releases further complicate things. Xbox exclusives typically come out on PC on day one while PlayStation exclusives tend to have a significant delay before getting a PC release. Marvels’ Spider-Man originally came out on PS4 in 2018 but didn’t get a PC release until 2022. Similarly, Horizon Forbidden West arrived on PS4 and PS5 in 2022 and isn't coming to PC until this March, over a year after its original release date.
With Xbox exclusives, you can count on being able to play a PC release on day one or soon after. The huge delay with PS5 exclusives gives the PlayStation a significant advantage over the Xbox Series X/S.
Considering all of this, it’s not surprising that the Xbox seems to be losing the console wars. If it is, it also makes sense that Microsoft is considering releasing Xbox exclusives on other consoles. If Xbox console sales remain so far behind the competition, Microsoft could have more to gain from the sales of formerly exclusive games on other platforms. However, that could simply end up sealing the Xbox’s fate.
What does this mean for Xbox players?
Many Xbox players are understandably frustrated about Xbox exclusives coming to PS5. What does this change mean for the future of the Xbox?
A lot of things could happen here, but one thing is clear from Microsoft’s shifting strategy. Xbox Game Pass and multi-platform releases are taking priority. That doesn’t mean Microsoft is never going to release another Xbox console, but it does mean that there will likely be fewer Xbox exclusives moving forward.
Unfortunately, this shift will decrease the value of Xbox consoles since one less exclusive game is one less reason to choose an Xbox over a PS5 or a gaming PC. It’s clear from sales data that gamers are already increasingly going for PC or PlayStation, though. So, if you’re an Xbox player, this might be a good time to make the switch to PC.
On a more positive note, the end of the console exclusives system will be a good thing for most gamers. In the long run, more balanced competition between Xbox and PlayStation could mean better performing consoles. Performance, rather than exclusive games, will become the new main deciding factor for gamers shopping for a new console. Plus, you’ll be able to play virtually any game on any console, giving everyone more freedom to play how and what they want.
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