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Rumor mill: Recent reports have indicated that Microsoft plans to bring some of its Xbox exclusive games to rival platforms, and with that speculation has arisen about whether the company will remain in the console business. A podcast later this week will clarify Microsoft's current strategy, which reportedly still involves Xbox consoles.
Microsoft held a town hall meeting on Tuesday, where Xbox boss Phil Spencer assured employees that the company plans to continue making consoles. Microsoft will reveal details about the future of Xbox in a Thursday episode of the Official Xbox Podcast.
The company is attempting to quell a firestorm of speculation ignited by rumors that some first-party Xbox titles will launch on PlayStation 5 and Nintendo Switch. Many hardcore fans, feeling betrayed by the news, argue that a console cannot exist without exclusive games. However, Microsoft might be considering a shift away from the traditional model that has dominated the console space for decades.
Please join us for a special edition of the Official Xbox Podcast.– Xbox (@Xbox) February 12, 2024
Hear from Phil Spencer, Sarah Bond and Matt Booty as they share updates on the Xbox business. pic.twitter.com/TxwWJVUbgx
January reports suggested that Tango Gameworks's Hi-Fi Rush and Rare's Sea of Thieves might be released on non-Xbox consoles. Later rumors indicated that more high-profile exclusives, such as Bethesda's Starfield or Machine Games' upcoming Indiana Jones and the Great Circle, could follow suit.
Sources recently told The Verge that Hi-Fi Rush and Pentiment are set to become multi-platform soon, followed by Sea of Thieves later this year. These three titles could be good choices to launch a multi-platform strategy for several reasons. All of them are over a year old, with Sea of Thieves having been released in 2018.
Moreover, Hi-Fi Rush and Pentiment, both critically acclaimed games, were never intended to achieve massive sales and would likely perform well on the Switch (or possibly the Switch 2). Meanwhile, Microsoft is allegedly considering multi-platform releases for bigger flagships like Starfield and Indiana Jones.
Whether Microsoft's announcements this week will include details on future hardware remains to be seen. However, Spencer's recent like of a tweet mentioning rumors about the company planning a portable system has piqued interest from eagle-eyed observers.
Leaked documents from the Microsoft versus FTC trial reveal that the company has previously discussed a handheld and more recent rumors suggest that the Surface division is designing the next generation of Xbox, which will feature two models – a console and a handheld. Sony might also be planning a new handheld. Although the likelihood of one or both companies entering the portable space seems slim, the recent surge in handheld gaming PCs has likely encouraged them to explore the possibility.