Official Xbox Podcast: Everything Announced In Today’s Big Update

Official Xbox Podcast: Everything Announced In Today’s Big Update

Today’s Official Xbox Podcast publicly addressed the elephant in the room after weeks of reports, rumours, and speculation around Xbox first-party games coming to competing platforms and potentially even making an exit from the console market entirely. The show featured Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer, Xbox President Sarah Bond, and Head of Xbox Studios Matt Booty. If you haven’t listened to the special edition of the Official Xbox Podcast, you can do so through Xbox’s YouTube channel. Or, if you just want the bullet points, we’ve rounded up everything of note.

Four Xbox games are coming to other platforms

As previously rumoured and reported, today’s Xbox Podcast confirmed four Xbox Studios games are coming to other platforms…and they won’t say which games they are. Spencer says he doesn’t “want to take anything away from those teams,” implying the announcements will be coming from the developers themselves.

While the team on the Xbox Podcast opted not to name which games are coming to other platforms (much less which consoles they’ll be launching on), Spencer said the goal with porting these games outside of the Xbox and Windows ecosystem is the long-term health of the Xbox brand. He also said that he expects exclusivity across the video game industry to shrink further in the next five to 10 years.

As for why the four unnamed games make sense as multiplatform titles, Spencer says these games have been exclusive to Xbox and PC for over a year. Two of them are “community-driven” games, as well as first iterations of franchises that Microsoft wants to invest in further. The other two are what Spencer describes as “smaller” games that were “never really meant to be built as platform exclusives [with] all the fanfare” typically associated with marquee titles, but were passion projects for the teams behind them.

Phil ends this Xbox Podcast segment by saying he believes bringing those games to other platforms will help bring in more players to the Xbox brand, but also says that these four games aren’t a promise of more games coming to other systems in the future.

Starfield and Indiana Jones aren’t coming to other platforms, yet

Xbox Podcast Starfield Indiana Jones
Image: Bethesda

While discussing the games coming to other platforms on the Xbox Podcast, Spencer was quite tight lipped about exactly which titles those would be. He did say they are not Starfield or Indiana Jones and the Great Circle, which feels like a response to reports that named those games, specifically.

Diablo IV is the first Activision Blizzard game coming to Game Pass

Now that the acquisition is done and Xbox has laid off chunks of the company’s teams, Activision Blizzard’s games are coming to Game Pass. The first of these will be Diablo IV, which will arrive on the subscription service on March 28.

The influx of layoffs in 2023 played into the decision to go multiplatform

Spencer says on the Xbox Podcast that despite a number of big games in 2023, the industry didn’t “grow,” which resulted in layoffs, including those at Microsoft. According to him, the company needs to expand beyond the Xbox’s player base in order to keep the company healthy enough to maintain jobs. He said:

When you think about a healthy industry, I want players who believe that they will find the best games on the platforms that they love. I want people who invest their careers in working here to feel like this is a place that they can be successful. And that really is down to being part of an industry that is growing. If you listen to Lisa Su, the AMD CEO, she’ll say that AMD-powered consoles are likely to decline in 2024. I think there’s an amazing set of games coming in 2024, but if we don’t get to growing as an industry, the industry will struggle. And today, there’s really two choices on how do you grow the industry. Do you say, I have a fixed number of players, the players that we have today, and do I find new ways to monetise those players to get more money from the players that I have? Or do you think about, how do I expand the business I have by finding new players and adding those to the base of players that already play? Our focus on Xbox for the last decade has really been on that latter point of, how do we make sure Xbox is growing? Growing for our players, growing for our creators so those people are finding success on our platform, which will grow the Xbox business and put Xbox in a position to be very strong for years and decades to come.

Xbox is still investing in hardware, with news on that front this holiday

After news that Xbox games were coming to other platforms, some speculation arose that Microsoft might be looking to get out of the console business and go the way of Sega by pivoting to third-party. For now, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Bond mentions in the Xbox Podcast that the company still views Xbox consoles as “the most flagship, seminal experience” for the brand. The company also has plans to announce something new on the hardware front “this holiday.”

Xbox wants to “respect” the library players have built

Hellblade 2 Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2 Xbox Podcast
Image: Ninja Theory

With news and speculation surrounding the future of Xbox devices spreading over the past few weeks, there’s been a concern that anyone who’s been building a backwards-compatible game library across the brand’s many devices might become obsolete down the line. Spencer said that Xbox will “respect” that in “future hardware generations” and “try to keep the services up as long as [it] can.” He compared this to Windows’ library longevity, saying:

It’s at our foundation. And when we look at future hardware generations and what we’re going to support, making sure that we respect—which is the word I use, “respect”—the investments that people have made in Xbox going forward is fundamental. And the fact that you get entitlements when you buy a game from us on both Windows and Xbox also means you have the ability to play that game across a multitude of devices, which I think furthers the compatibility of the games that you own.

Xbox will release 10 games this year

While we know some games like Hellblade 2 and Indiana Jones are coming from Xbox’s studios, Booty mentions in the Xbox Podcast that the company will be releasing ten games across 2024. We don’t yet know what all of these will be, but can expect some to be revealed during Xbox’s next showcase.

An Xbox Showcase is coming in June

On the topic of Xbox’s next showcase, Booty rounded out the Xbox Podcast by saying there were many more titles in development beyond the ten set to release in 2024. “There’s more in development, which I think we’re going to be able to share more about at our June showcase coming up pretty soon,” he said. An X (formerly Twitter) post made shortly after set this announcement of a June showcase in stone.

Image: Xbox / Kotaku Australia

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