What just happened? Microsoft is no longer developing first-party games for the Xbox One. In a recent interview with Axios, Xbox Game Studios boss Matt Booty confirmed the company has moved away from making first-party games for the aging console. That shouldn't come as much of a surprise considering the Xbox One is nearly a decade old at this point.
Booty said the only exception is continued support for ongoing games like Minecraft.
That said, Gen 9 games (for Xbox Series) are technically playable on the Gen 8 Xbox One via Microsoft's cloud streaming technology. "That's how we're going to maintain support," Booty added.
In somewhat related news, Booty also confirmed that teams will continue to develop first-party games for the Xbox Series S. Some developers have recently asked Microsoft to drop mandatory Series S compatibility as co-developing for the slower machine can hamper a project that'd otherwise excel on the faster Xbox Series X.
Booty conceded that it is more work to develop for both machines simultaneously but said his teams have been able to squeeze performance out of the Series S, especially teams that are working on their second game of the generation. "They can plan better, knowing where some of the sharp corners are," he noted.
The Xbox One enjoyed a solid run as both Microsoft and Sony supported their respective last-gen consoles for longer than usual. Current-gen consoles formally arrived in late 2020 but were difficult to acquire until semi-recently due to supply chain issues linked to the Covid-19 pandemic.
It may come as a surprise to some that Microsoft now manages nearly two dozen game studios – 23, to be exact. Curiously enough, most have yet to put out a game for the Xbox Series and until this past weekend, some hadn't even announced projects for Microsoft's current-gen consoles.
Longer development cycles factor heavily into the equation. Where as dev cycles used to be two or three years for AAA games, they're now four, five, and six years, Booty said. The complexity of newer games and a desire to make them as gorgeous as possible is a leading cause of longer cycles, Booty noted.