It came as a major surprise when Nintendo thanked Microsoft for allowing Cuphead, originally an Xbox Exclusive, to be made available on the Switch. As you may imagine, major companies usually don’t let their exclusive titles appear on their competitor’s platforms, but Microsoft even announced that they would even publish Ori and the Blind Forest Definitive Edition on the Nintendo Switch as well. We’ve known for a while that Microsoft and Nintendo were aiming to promote cross-platform play together, but this was unexpected. Unfortunately, it seems that we won’t see any other Xbox exclusive titles coming to other platforms in the foreseeable future. We know this due to a statement made by a Microsoft spokesperson.
“The past year has been an exciting time for us as we have more than doubled the internal creative teams making up Xbox Game Studios. As these new studios transitioned in, we were aware of some existing commitments to other platforms and will honor them. However, going forward these new studios will focus on making games for our platforms. We have no plans to further expand our exclusive first party games to other consoles. We continue to believe deeply in cross-play and progression of games with the right flexibility for developers to insure a fair and fun experience.”
What this means, unfortunately, is clear enough. If you were hoping to see first party Xbox games like Gears of War or Halo on other platforms like the Switch or PlayStation, it just isn’t happening, at least not anytime soon. Not all hope is lost though; Microsoft is clearly focusing their funds and power on xCloud, which will be their primary means of providing cross-platform availability for their first party titles. However, whether or not that means we’ll see those first-party games on other platforms depends on Nintendo and Sony, and whether or not they’ll allow the xCloud app to be on their devices, which seems unlikely at best.
Still, with cloud gaming on the verge of being mainstream reality, it is curious to see if ‘exclusive’ games will get phased out down the line. We probably won’t see the total removal of exclusive titles from gaming; after all, what point is there in buying any particular console or cloud service if they offer nothing unique? But it is possible that exclusive titles will become less common, or that some of them will still be playable on other consoles, so long as you have a subscription for the cloud service itself. Until cloud gaming takes its place in the video game world though, we can only speculate.