Microsoft CEO blames Sony for Xbox having exclusive games

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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella took to the stand yesterday in the FTC v. Microsoft court case, and made some… slightly odd statements regarding the Xbox gaming division. The strangest point by far was that he would “love to get rid of the entire exclusives on consoles,” but that it’s Sony’s fault for Xbox having exclusive games.

When asked about Microsoft’s policy and stance on exclusive games, Nadella said:

If it was up to me I would love to get rid of the entire exclusives on consoles, but that’s not for me to define especially as a low share player in the console market. The dominant player there has defined market competition using exclusives, so that’s the world we live in. I have no love for that world.

This feels like a statement that pins the decision to make Bethesda games like Redfall, Hi-Fi Rush and Starfield into Xbox exclusives firmly on Sony’s doorstep. PlayStation’s popularity is in large part down to the strength of their exclusive games, and so Microsoft is building their own exclusive portfolio.

But if he doesn’t like exclusives, why not just freewheel it and put Xbox games on PlayStation? They’ve already brought Xbox games to Steam, they’re signing partnerships with GeForce Now and other streaming service rivals, so why not just slap the next Gears game on PS5?

His point comes in relation to how Microsoft has approached other markets with products like Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams, where they’re broadly available across Windows, macOS, iOS and Android. Additionally, he noted the importance of the Azure cloud for the company and gaming in general, though defined game streaming as just a small part of the cloud alongside the more general use of online infrastructure for Xbox Live.

As we’ve seen through recent years, really since the launch of Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft is leaning heavily on engagement as opposed to outright sales of games or consoles. Cloud gaming is one way that they can bring Xbox games to people with Samsung TVs, smartphones, underpowered laptops and tablet, and thus they can increase that engagement. It also ties users into the Xbox ecosystem with subscription fees, just as with other Microsoft services.

It seems that this is the hidden meaning behind Nadella’s seemingly odd statement. He wants to put Xbox Game Pass on PlayStation, but Sony won’t let him.

via The Verge

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  1. Sony having a developer create a game for their platform alone is a damn sight different to buying a developer and then canning the game on a rival platform.


    • Let’s not pretend it doesn’t have a similar effect, though. If Microsoft didn’t acquire Bethesda, then Starfield would likely follow Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo as a timed exclusive which at the very least pushes gamers away from Xbox and toward PC to play it. And if Microsoft outbid for a timed exclusivity, they’d probably catch far more flak for it than Sony would, which is likely something they factored into their decision to just go fully exclusive.

      It sucks for single system gamers on the wrong side of it, and all of this is feeding nastier parts of video game communities, but for Microsoft to do it this way? Yeah, probably makes sense.

  2. Sonys approach creates magic. Ninty are in their own lane with their approach and again, innovation continues to comes through. MS have always taken the less arduous path of buying without supporting or rinse and repeating [Gears/Halo/Forza]

    This approach has now come home to roost.

  3. Apparently it was Phil Spencer’s decision to make all Zenimax games Xbox-exclusive. His has cemented his place in gaming history.

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