Over the past several months, Xbox has maintained that first-party games would come to both Xbox One and Xbox Series X for “the next couple of years.”
The most notable of these titles is Halo Infinite, which will come to both Xbox One and Xbox Series X as well as PC this holiday.
However, the company’s recent Xbox Games Showcase led to some confusion as to whether Microsoft had reversed this policy, given how some first-party titles were only listed for Xbox Series X and PC, with no mention of Xbox One. The Series X games in question were Rare’s Everwild, Turn 10’s Forza, Playground’s Fable, and Obsidian’s Avowed, as pointed out by Kotaku editor-in-chief Stephen Totillo.
However, Bloomberg‘s Jason Schreier responded to Totillo by saying that it seems that the implication, then, is that these games will release in 2022 or beyond, thus being exempt from Microsoft’s somewhat loose “couple of years” cross-gen release window.
Indeed, Schreier appeared to be on the money with his remark, based on a statement from Xbox general manager of marketing Aaron Greenberg. Responding to Totillo on Twitter, Greenberg said that “future 1P [first-party] titles are developed for Xbox Series X first.”
Future 1P titles are developed for Xbox Series X first. Not saying those games won’t ship on Xbox One, only that we are leading with Series X & each studio will decide what's best for their game/community when they launch.
— Aaron “Day One On Game Pass” Greenberg 🙅🏼♂️💚U (@aarongreenberg) July 23, 2020
However, Greenberg did not rule out the possibility that these games could also come to Xbox One.
“Not saying those games won’t ship on Xbox One, only that we are leading with Series X & each studio will decide what’s best for their game/community when they launch,” Greenberg added.
Exactly which titles do or do not end up making their way to both consoles remains to be seen. Further, it’s still unclear when, exactly, the “couple of years” window actually ends.
For now, though, Microsoft seemingly wants to leave the door open for cross-gen games in the long-term.
This is in direct contrast to PlayStation, Xbox’s main competitor, which is opting to shift first-party development to next-gen only games. Last week, Eric Lempel, PlayStation senior vice president and head of worldwide marketing & consumer experience, told The Game Awards creator Geoff Keighley that “innovation” eventually requires focusing on next-gen hardware.
“We are always trying to push the boundaries of play – we want to excite gamers and deliver new experiences,” said Lempel. “In many cases, we can’t take everyone with us from previous consoles because you need new hardware and devices.”
Xbox’s mantra, meanwhile, has long been about bringing its games to multiple platforms, not just a single console.
As recently as last week, Xbox chief Phil Spencer even said the company “won’t force you to upgrade to Xbox Series X at launch to play Xbox exclusives.” Xbox also aims to make big Xbox games playable on smartphones via its xCloud streaming service, which is joining the $16.99 CAD/month Game Pass Ultimate subscription in September at no additional cost.
Microsoft is also reportedly aiming to offer even more choice with a lower-cost next-gen console, which is rumoured to be revealed next month.
The Xbox Series X will launch sometime this holiday.