Xbox chief Phil Spencer has spoken with Epic CEO Tim Sweeney about potentially bringing Xbox Game Pass to other consoles.
In an August 2020 email exchange that surfaced during the ongoing Epic v. Apple trial, Spencer told Sweeney that he “heard his point” about bringing xCloud — the codename for Xbox Game Pass’ Cloud Gaming streaming service — to other platforms.
“[I] haven’t given up,” Spencer said regarding the matter.
Interestingly, Spencer downplayed the possibility of Game Pass coming to other platforms just one month prior to this email to Sweeney.
Last July, he said in an interview that “the thing about other gaming console platforms is we’re not able to bring a full Xbox experience on those platforms.”
He explained that Microsoft’s ideal scenario would be to bring the entire Xbox experience — Game Pass, game saves, Achievements, friends lists and more — to other platforms, which is what Cloud Gaming currently does on mobile. However, he said “the other competitive platforms really aren’t interested in having a full Xbox experience on their hardware.”
In both cases, though, Spencer’s comments suggest that Xbox has had at least had conversations with rivals PlayStation and Nintendo about bringing Game Pass to their platforms. Further, given that this exchange was in August, it’s possible that the “other competitive platforms” could have changed their stance.
Nintendo has a history of working with Xbox
It’s worth noting that PlayStation hasn’t appeared to be so willing to work with the other platform holders, given its years-long resistance to cross-play. There hasn’t been any evidence to suggest the company is interested in Game Pass, either, especially when it has its PlayStation Plus and Now services and a Game Pass “counterpunch” reportedly in the works.
Nintendo, on the other hand, doesn’t offer any service like Game Pass while also having a solid history of working with Xbox. When PlayStation initially blocked cross-play on its platform, Xbox and Nintendo partnered to promote the feature in Minecraft.
Additionally, Xbox has worked with Nintendo to bring its Banjo-Kazooie and Minecraft Steve characters to the Japanese gaming giant’s massively popular Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. When Banjo came to Smash, Spencer noted that Xbox “has a great relationship” with Nintendo’s third-party team.
Overall, Spencer has repeatedly praised Nintendo in the past and even recently appeared in a documentary to express his admiration for the company.
It’s also important to note that rumours have been circulating that Xbox and Nintendo might be working together on something big like Game Pass on Switch. These all started in 2019 when Direct Feed Games reported that Game Pass would come to Switch through xCloud. Then-Game Informer editor Imran Khan — a reporter with his own history of accurate leaks — vouched for Direct Feed’s track record at the time.
While nothing credible has really sprung up ever since, many fans have been paying close attention to Spencer and other Xbox executives’ backgrounds during video calls over the past few months. In particular, it’s been noted that a Nintendo Switch has appeared in the background of multiple Xbox streams.
While that might seem like a coincidence in most cases, it’s become something of an official trend of Spencer teasing upcoming Xbox announcements on his shelf, such as the Xbox Series S before its official unveiling.
Jeff Grubb, a reputable journalist for VentureBeat, has also gone on the record to say that “pretty much everything” on Spencer’s shelf is a hint of some kind. Known insider ‘Shpeshal_Ed’ has also suggested that “the cat seems out of the bag on Nintendo and Xbox” following fans’ repeated observations of the Switch in Xbox streams. “You’ll hear more in the fall,” he teased.
Ultimately, you should still take all of this with a grain of salt until official word comes from Xbox and Nintendo. That said, the fact that Spencer has been actively pushing for Game Pass on other platforms behind-the-scenes — coupled with all of the other evidence — suggests there’s at least a legitimate chance that it could happen.
Via: Tom Warren