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Microsoft reportedly pushing for the end of Xbox exclusivity

Microsoft’s head honchos are reportedly pressuring Xbox to go multi-platform across the board, and its next batch of PS5 expats could ship out this holiday.

Xbox exclusives no red line Microsoft: Master Chief in his patented green armor next to the Xbox logo

Microsoft’s been having a bit of a nightmare recently with its Xbox gaming brand, not least because the mega-corp appears to have put its short-term blinkers on when it comes to turning a profit. Well, after all the fearmongering earlier in the year that every Xbox exclusive under the sun – including its most iconic IPs – would be heading to PlayStation was somewhat quelled by the publisher’s top execs, it could very well still become a reality should Microsoft’s top brass get its way.

That is, at least, according to what Windows Central’s Jez Corden has been hearing about some of the best Xbox games going multi-platform. “From what I’ve heard, Microsoft is pushing for no “red line” for what games could come to PlayStation,” Corden writes, “and it all revolves around [Microsoft CEO] Satya Nadella and CFO Amy Hood’s mandate to increase every department’s margins.”

Reportedly codenamed ‘Latitude,’ the plan to effectively end Xbox exclusivity has, Corden says in his write-up, caused a fair amount of “debate and unease” at Microsoft. I’m not surprised. If we see the likes of Master Chief and Marcus Fenix crossing the gaming ocean to Xbox’s biggest competitor, then the brand will suffer possibly irreparable damage. Exclusivity is a major selling point, and without any reason to buy an Xbox from a software perspective, who’s actually going to bolster its already-nosediving hardware sales?

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Though this is still speculative, it does match up with the “Microsoft Gaming” comments recently made by former Xbox employees. Should there be any truth to these murmurings, Microsoft wants to start seeing a larger return on its $75bn ActivisionBlizzardKing acquisition sooner rather than later, and it’s willing to burn bridges for short-term gains. This is despite the fact that gaming revenue is already up $1.8bn this quarter – a 62% increase on the previous one thanks mostly to its big-ticket purchase.

So when could we expect to see the next batch of first-party Xbox exclusives make their way to PS5? Commenting over on ResetEra, insider ‘NateTheHate’ has already heard that we could be in for another exodus during this year’s holiday season, though he’s currently “working to confirm the games and the release windows.”

Earlier this year, Hi-Fi Rush, Sea of Thieves, Pentiment, and Grounded all left the Xbox exclusives club. There’s a sound case to be made for all of these titles heading to PlayStation – namely to bolster player numbers and sales – and none of these games had the potential to deal critical damage to the Xbox brand. But, if the likes of Nadella and Hood are looking to ensure nothing is sacred when it comes to Xbox’s multi-platform future, then this next possible batch could have more damaging long-term consequences.

For more of the latest on the new Xbox games coming exclusively to the platform, check out this incredible deep dive into how Hellblade 2 developer Ninja Theory has faithfully recreated lived experiences of psychosis. If you haven’t already, drop us a follow on Google News – there’ll be plenty more Xbox beats and commentary to come, especially as we head towards Summer Game Fest.