One of the key differences between Microsoft and Sony’s strategies for next-gen consoles is that Microsoft isn’t releasing exclusives for its Xbox Series X console from the outset. Microsoft’s strategy is that the Xbox isn’t tied to one device, but rather a broader ecosystem. Gamers buy more than just games that can be played on the Xbox Series X. Even with the rise of xCloud, Xbox boss, Phil Spencer, recently reiterated Microsoft’s position in this regard. He confirms that first-party games won’t be exclusive to Xbox Series X.
“You won’t be forced into the next generation. We want every Xbox gamer to be able to play all the new games from Xbox Game Studios,” Spencer said in a blog post. “That’s why the Xbox Game Studios titles we’re releasing in the next few years – like Halo Infinite – are – will be playable on both Xbox Series X and Xbox One. We’re not forcing you to upgrade to Xbox Series X to play Xbox exclusives at launch”.
Games will run better on the newer hardware
Spencer’s statement is in line with what Xbox Game Studios boss, Matt Booty, said earlier in the year. “With our content coming out in the next year or two, all of our games, it’s kind of like the PC, will be compatible up and down the devices in this series,” Booty said. “We want to make sure that if someone invests in an Xbox between now and the Xbox Series X, that they will feel like you’ve made a good investment, and we’re committed to their content.”
Microsoft’s approach is more similar to a phone upgrade. The games will be available on all the consoles, but you’ll get better performance on the new hardware. As Booty mentions, this has been standard practice for PCs for decades.
While Microsoft isn’t planning on releasing a Series X exclusive game anytime soon, other developers are. The two games showcased during the Microsoft event, Scorn and The Medium will be bypassing the previous generation of consoles. They will be available exclusively on new consoles and PCs.
For Spencer, forcing people to buy the new hardware is against the spirit of the game. He is really enthusiastic about his strategy. Unfortunately, many developers will not adopt this strategy. For now, we can only confirm this compatibility for Microsoft’s first-party games.