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Game developers think most Xbox exclusive games are going multi-platform soon

In brief: Microsoft’s recent announcements have sparked concern over the company’s position in the console market. It’s no secret that Sony and Nintendo are outselling Microsoft, but at this year’s Game Developers Conference, third-party publishers began questioning their support of Xbox. Meanwhile, Xbox boss Phil Spencer voiced unease about the general state of the console industry while discussing his views on the handheld market.

Multiple developers at GDC 2024 told Chris Dring from that they are beginning to reconsider supporting Xbox. The comments, together with prior reports, paint a worsening picture of Microsoft’s console strategy.

On a recent episode of the GI Microcast, Dring mentioned that one large publisher informed him that Xbox’s performance in Europe is “flatlining.” In February, Dring reported that multiple European retailers had stopped stocking physical Xbox games, raising concerns about the platform’s health.

Returning from GDC, he mentioned that at least one publisher complained about the effort required to develop different versions of each game for Xbox Series S and X, describing the PC and PlayStation 5 as their primary market. Furthermore, since Microsoft confirmed plans to bring a few Xbox exclusives to other consoles, publishers have begun to believe that all of them will eventually follow suit.

Dring expressed concern about Microsoft’s future as a console manufacturer, noting a general sense of pessimism from GDC attendees regarding Xbox. Speaking with Polygon at the event, Xbox head Phil Spencer explained that Microsoft’s increasingly platform-agnostic strategy is a response to rising costs and stagnant industry growth, creating a challenging environment for exclusives.

He hopes that moving away from the traditional idea of exclusive console games can make Xbox stronger in the long term. According to Spencer, Microsoft’s research on Gen Z indicates that today’s young people don’t expect any software to be exclusive to one device and that going multi-platform can help old titles gain new audiences in a market that hasn’t seen significant growth for two years.

While the company hasn’t revealed official plans regarding the handheld market, Spencer had much to say about it, suggesting its potential for expanding Xbox. He envisions a version of the PC Xbox app with an interface suitable for a device like the Asus ROG Ally. However, if Microsoft were to offer consumers something for that form factor, the Xbox boss would want users to be able to take all of their games with them, regardless of the platform they chose, in line with the company’s multi-platform strategy.

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