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Microsoft is making 4 exclusive Xbox video games available to rival consoles

Several exclusive Xbox games will soon be available on competitor platforms, the video game brand and its parent firm, Microsoft, revealed Thursday.

In a special episode of the Official Xbox Podcast, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer announced that four Xbox games will no longer be exclusive. This means that players should be able to access them through other companies’ platforms.

Spencer did not give a specific timeline or specify the four games, but did say that two will be “community-driven” and two will be lesser titles.

“The teams that are building those games have announced plans that are not too far away,” he went on to say. “I won’t be talking about the titles specifically, but I think when they come out, it’ll make sense.”

He did mention that Microsoft-owned Bethesda titles Starfield and Indiana Jones were not among them.

Gaming hardware manufacturers frequently licence famous video games in order to entice customers to purchase the equipment over which they have exclusive rights.

Xbox’s Thursday announcement hints that the company is reconsidering its strategy. While Microsoft maintained that there was no fundamental change in its exclusivity strategy, Spencer stated that he believed games that are unique to a single piece of hardware “are going to be a smaller and smaller part of the game industry” within the next five or 10 years.

Microsoft has already moved away from this with its “Game Pass” subscription service, which operates similarly to Netflix for video games.

The digital titan’s recent acquisition of video game developer Activision Blizzard enables the service to expand even farther. On Thursday, Xbox President Sarah Bond announced that Diablo IV, the first Activision Blizzard game on Xbox Game Pass, will be available on March 28.

“It’s all part of our commitment to make Xbox, the Xbox experience, and the games that we build as widely available as possible,” Bond said in a statement.

Xbox, which previously ranked third in sales behind PlayStation and Nintendo, is likely to benefit significantly from the Activision Blizzard lineup, which includes blockbuster games such as Diablo, Call of Duty, and Overwatch.

Revenue for Microsoft’s Windows-led personal computing business, which includes Xbox games and services, increased 19% to $16.89 billion in the fourth quarter of 2023, owing largely to Activision Blizzard’s influence. Microsoft’s Xbox-related revenues increased by 61% during the period, with 55 points attributed to the inclusion of Activision Blizzard.

Microsoft completed its acquisition of Activision Blizzard for $69 billion in October, nearly two years after announcing the agreement. The Redmond, Washington-based software behemoth faced stiff global pushback from antitrust regulators and rivals over competition concerns.

Sony, for example, warned authorities that it was concerned Microsoft might deprive its leading PlayStation game platform of popular Activision titles or sell inferior copies. However, while it worked to persuade regulators and judges to allow the Activision acquisition, Microsoft consistently justified its approach as beneficial to gaming, stating that its purpose was to bring Activision games to more people on more platforms rather than withhold those games from rival console makers.

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