First-party games are a major selling point Xbox, encouraging consumers to buy their console. They also serve as fuel for those pesky console war debates and are a cemented tradition in the gaming world.
When companies offer major cash to developers, it influences them to make games exclusively for a particular platform. Sony has Uncharted and God of War. Microsoft has Halo and Gears of War. Nintendo has Mario and Zelda.
This long-running exclusivity trend may be weakening thanks to Microsoft. Xbox first-party boss, Matt Booty, told Gameinformer that Xbox’s first-party studios may put their future games on rival consoles. In an interview, Booty said the decision will be based on what’s best for the game.
“I think the question is less binary about, ‘should it be on Switch, should it be on PlayStation?’ and more, ‘does it make sense for the franchise?’ In other words, is it a kind of game where we can best support it by putting resources and making sure that our platforms, things like xCloud and Game Pass and Xbox Live, are really leaning to support the game?”
There are a few Xbox first-party games on multiple platforms already such as Cuphead and Minecraft. The latter, ironically, is one of the best selling games on the PlayStation 4. These games were already undergoing development when Xbox bought out the developers, which could explain the multiple platform releases.
Booty’s comments reveal that these games may be the first of many to release on numerous platforms, but Booty also said Xbox won’t let go of their major franchises such as Halo and Forza.
Some major Xbox first-party studios include but are not limited to 343 Industries, Double Fine, and Obsidian Entertainment. This news along with Microsoft’s growing leniency of cross-platform play shows that Xbox is giving gamers more freedom to play without restrictions.