Microsoft Tries to Explain Confusing Xbox Series X Exclusives Policy

Despite previous statements, it seems that only a few upcoming Xbox Series X games may also be coming to Xbox One.

Halo Infinite
Photo: Microsoft

Yesterday’s Xbox games showcase has raised new questions regarding Microsoft’s previous promise that upcoming first-party games will be available on both Xbox One and Xbox Series X for at least the next year or two.

This confusion stems from the recently revealed trailers for Fable, Avowed, Everwild, Forza Motorsport, and State of Decay 3. The trailers for each of those games noted that they were coming to Xbox Series X and PC, but none of them explicitly stated that they were coming to Xbox One despite Microsoft’s previous statements.

While that would seem to suggest that Microsoft has decided to move away from the policy of ensuring that upcoming Xbox Series X games are available on Xbox One as well, the trailers for games such as Halo Infinite did indicate that they will also be available for Xbox One.

So what’s happening? In a statement to Kotaku, a Microsoft representative said that “future Xbox Game Studios titles are being developed natively for Xbox Series X.” They then say that “each Studio/game can support will be based on what’s best for their game and their community at launch.”

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On Twitter, head of Xbox game marketing, Aaron Greenberg, echoed that statement somewhat by saying that “Future 1P titles are developed for Xbox Series X first” and that “each studio will decide what’s best for their game/community when they launch.” He also noted that this information doesn’t mean that these games won’t be available for Xbox One.

To cut through the various statements released over the last several hours, weeks, and months regarding this policy, it seems that Microsoft is ultimately leaving it up to studios to decide whether or not the games they release over the next couple of years will be available for Xbox One. However, it seems that they are encouraging developers to go in that direction and still intend to make some first-party Xbox Series X games compatible with Xbox One for the next year or two.

While that sounds like a disappointing contradiction that suggests Microsoft won’t really continue to support Xbox One as much as they originally intended, we also have to account for the likely release date of these games. Remember that the Xbox Series X was reportedly supposed to be released in August before complications caused as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic forced Microsoft to change their plans. Now, we still don’t have a release date for next-gen consoles.

As such, it’s likely that many of the Xbox Series X games we mentioned above won’t actually be released for a long time. That also means they could be released near the end of (or beyond) Microsoft’s previously stated window for Xbox Series X games that will also be available for Xbox One. Still, this entire situation is odd enough to force us to advise everyone to adopt a “wait-and-see” approach to the availability of these upcoming games.