OPINION: Xbox exclusives on PS5 would end the console wars definitively, and loyal Xbox gamers would have every right to be infuriated after Microsoft dropped the ball on this generation.
Reports over the weekend suggested Microsoft is planning on making some Xbox and PC exclusives available on Sony’s PS5 console.
It what would effectively end the PlayStation vs Xbox hardware rivalry, Microsoft is reportedly ready to wave the white flag and make games like Starfield and Indiana Jones available on the PS5. The former could happen later this year and the latter just months after its launch on Xbox at some point in 2024.
Effectively, after this generation of consoles, Microsoft would become a modern day Sega.
XboxEra and The Verge reported first-party games like Hi-Fi Rush and Sea of Thieves are also slated to launch across the console divide. Now Microsoft has addressed the reports and says it plans to update gamers on the situation next week.
Bringing Xbox games to PS5 would be incredibly unfair on loyal Xbox gamers who’ve cast an envious eye over at their PlayStation-owning counterparts for years now.
PS5 gamers have enjoyed exclusive hit and exclusive hit – God of War: Ragnarok, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, Horizon Forbidden West, to name a few – and have plenty more in the pipeline, all while Microsoft has underdelivered on its promises.
Xbox gamers have stayed the course amid the disappointments of a pitiful first-party output (from a numbers perspective) and then suffered the blow of long-awaited titles like Starfield and Redfall failing to hit the heights expected prior to release.
Now that losing streak is close to ending with an Indiana Jones game that could be one of the most enthralling new IPs to hit the gaming landscape in years, Xbox gamers could suffer the indignity of that exclusivity – a reward for years of unrequited loyalty – being taken from them.
If the reports are true – and Phil Spencer’s “We’re listening and we hear you” comment suggests they are – Microsoft must feel there’s a solid business case for opening up availability of these games on another platform. But the business case isn’t of interest to those who’ve gone out on a limb to choose a platform only to have the unique experiences taken from them.
The company recently said it foresees Xbox Series S/X sales declining further this year after the format was roundly thumped by the PS5 throughout this generation. So the money is to be made on the software and on getting Game Pass available on as many platforms as possible.
I’ve previously written that getting Game Pass on the PS5 might be an endgame for the Xbox vs PlayStation console wars and this would be a definite step in that direction.
However, fans would have every right to feel completely cheated by games they’ve hung their hat on as Xbox owners ending-up on the PS5, so shortly after they get to play them.
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Would Sony countenance doing the same? Not in a million years. And why would it? If this happens PS5 gamers will be strutting around like a dog with two you-know-whats able to enjoy the absolute best of the console gaming sphere while Xbox hardware becomes a practical irrelevance.
With its cloud focused Xbox Everywhere strategy Microsoft was already planning for an Xbox experience free of the constraints of hardware, but if it was going to go nuclear and make games available on PlayStation, the fairest thing to do would be to wait until the next generation.
Having timed exclusives on first-party games probably isn’t going to be enough to placate some Xbox owners who must now be thinking “why did I spent £400-£500 on this machine?” Exactly what would be the point of owning an Xbox?
Of course, there are currently ways for gamers who’re primarily Team PlayStation to enjoy Xbox first-party exclusives, thanks to a Game Pass subscription for playback on supported smart TVs (like Samsung’s) that enables cloud gaming.
But the full experience, the full 4K/120fps experience, with all the hardware-based ray tracing goodness, you need the console for that. That’s always something Xbox Series X owners have been able to take a small crumb of comfort in, for games like Starfield, Forza, and Microsoft Flight Simulator.
That crumb is about to be devoured by a PS5 gamer dabbing their finger on an otherwise empty plate and gobble up that crumb.