The head of Xbox at Microsoft, Phil Spencer, wants Xbox games to be playable on any platform, anywhere, even dropping hints that maybe this could be a reality for rival consoles – or at least that he’d be open to exploring that avenue.
This revelation came as part of a beefy interview with our sister site GamesRadar in which Spencer talked more broadly about the philosophy of Xbox not being a console, but a gaming platform to be enjoyed across multiple devices. As a measure of how serious Microsoft is about this, we can of course see the recent announcement of the Xbox Game Pass coming to smart TVs.
- Live blog: PS5 restock tracker
- Xbox Game Pass for PC is a frustrating mess
- Best Xbox Series X games: all the games you need to play
- Best Xbox Series X headsets: treat your ears
GamesRadar grilled Spencer on the prospect of an Xbox app coming to the Nintendo Switch – something which has been rumored to be a possibility on the boil before – to which he replied: “You know, it’s the right question because people usually ask me about releasing one individual game or another. And what I say is I want the full Xbox experience to be something that we deliver.
“We have no plans to bring it to any other kind of closed platforms right now, mainly because those closed platforms don’t want something like Game Pass. There’s a ton of open platforms out there for us to grow in: the web, PC, and mobile. So all of our focus, frankly, is on those platforms.”
Spencer further clarifies: “That’s not a slam on anybody else who has a system that works for them. I can see why the disruption of Game Pass is not something that they want right now.” But then he adds: “In the end, when we say we want everybody to be able to play on Xbox, we really mean if we can bring that full experience to a device that players want, we are totally open to those discussions.”
There’s not much to go on here, then, but there’s certainly a hint that it isn’t ruled out that Xbox Game Pass might eventually end up on the Switch, or even the PS5. Is that really ever likely to come to fruition, though?
Analysis: Switching things up – a reality check
We wouldn’t hold our breath regarding Xbox games being playable on the Switch or PS5. Don’t get us wrong, it’s great to hear Microsoft continuing to push forward with an open philosophy when it comes to Xbox Game Pass. But to expect rival consoles to get an Xbox app feels like way in the future stuff – if any ‘stuff’ at all.
We’ve heard the merits of a possible Microsoft and Nintendo hook-up before, with it making sense in terms of giving gamers a way to play Xbox titles on the go, and granting Nintendo a whole raft of games beyond its staple franchises. However, it still seems like a very distant pipe dream currently – indeed, more recent rumors fairly firmly assert that there’s no interest from Nintendo in an Xbox Cloud app arriving on Switch – and the PS5 is an even less likely prospect, of course.
Still, Spencer’s most recent comments do represent a glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe, the future of video games could be a far more open arena than we can currently imagine.
- Xbox Series X vs Xbox Series S: what's the difference?