All the Rumored Xbox Games Coming to PlayStation 5 and Nintendo Switch

No, Xbox isn't releasing Starfield or Indiana Jones on PlayStation 5 and Nintendo Switch. But here are the games that will reportedly make the jump to other platforms.

hi-fi rush
Photo: Xbox Game Studios

All hell broke loose earlier this month when The Verge broke the story that Xbox was preparing to re-release first-party exclusives on the PlayStation 5 and Nintendo Switch. Among the games rumored to go third-party were last year’s biggest Xbox exclusive, Bethesda’s Starfield, and upcoming big-budget action-adventure title Indiana Jones and the Great Circle. There were even rumors that Gears of War, a long-running franchise synonymous with the Xbox brand, would make the jump to the PS5.

This of course sent some in the Xbox community into a panicked frenzy, including a group of Xbox influencers who announced they were quitting the platform altogether and posting pictures of them trading in their Series X. For less dramatic but still concerned fans of the platform, the worry was that by ending the exclusivity of its biggest titles on Xbox consoles, the company was effectively giving up on the Xbox Series X/S and moving away from making new hardware altogether.

It took days for Xbox leadership to respond to the rumors, but they finally did in a special podcast update this week. The 20-min panel included Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer, Xbox president Sarah Bond, Xbox Game Studios chief Matt Booty. During the episode, Spencer confirmed that four games would be released on third-party consoles in the near future, as part of a new strategy to grow certain Xbox titles beyond Xbox platforms and help them find new audiences.

Which Xbox Exclusives Are Going to PS5 and Nintendo Switch?

While Spencer stopped short of revealing which four games Xbox will be porting to PlayStation and/or the Switch, but both The Verge and Stephen Totilo’s excellent Game File newsletter report that the four games are Hi-Fi Rush, Pentiment, Sea of Thieves, and Grounded. We don’t officially know when Xbox plans to port these games or which console each title is being ported to, although The Verge suggests Hi-Fi Rush and Pentiment will make the jump to third-party consoles first. Game File reports Sea of Thieves is headed to PlayStation.

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Two of these games, Sea of Thieves and Grounded, match Spencer’s comments about wanting to find ways to continue growing “community-driven” titles on new platforms, while Hi-Fi Rush and Pentiment are smaller single-player games that have very likely already peaked in terms of playercount on Xbox. When asked by The Verge whether Xbox had future plans for any other exclusives to go third-party, Spencer answered, “We’re focused on these four games and learning from the experience. We don’t have work going on, on other franchises.”

Unsurprisingly, Spencer also took the time to reassure fans that neither Starfield nor Indiana Jones were being planned for third-party releases in the near future, although the executive stopped short of saying they would never release on other platforms when asked the same question by The Verge:

“I don’t think we should as an industry ever rule out a game going to any other platform,” Spencer said. “But I don’t want to create a false expectation on those other platforms that this is somehow the first four to get over the dam and then the dam’s going to open and that everything else is coming, that’s not the plan today. I also don’t want to mislead customers on those other platforms. We’re launching these four games, and we’re excited about it. We’re excited about the announce and everything else, but we’ll see what happens for our business.”

Spencer said that it was possible more Xbox exclusives could go to PlayStation and Nintendo platforms if the first four ports are successful. Asked why these specific four titles were chosen for this new strategy, he said, “These are games that originally launched on Xbox. They were Xbox-branded games and we want to see what happens, because going and doing the development work to bring them to new platforms is real work. We want to make sure that the return makes sense. We want to make sure the audience that’s there has an appetite, maybe they don’t.”

Why Xbox Is Sending Exclusives to PS5 and Nintendo Switch

Obviously, the biggest reasons why Xbox is shifting its exclusives strategy have to do with the state of its gaming business. While Microsoft Gaming is now an even bigger behemoth in the industry after acquiring Activison Blizzard and all the Call of Duty and Candy Crush mobile games that come with it, Series X/S sales and Xbox Game Pass subscriptions have lagged in recent months. Xbox seems to think it can make up for the downturn in other parts of the business with its massive library of games and franchises.

If the rumors are true, it makes a bit of sense that Sea of Thieves, Grounded, Hi-Fi Rush, and Pentiment have been chosen for this new strategy. Online multiplayer games like Sea of Thieves depend on a dedicated playerbase to thrive and continue to grow. Finding ways to get new players involved (and buying things in-game) seems like the right move for the long-term health of a title that’s been out for six years and has likely reached its heights on Xbox platforms. Of course, time will tell whether the PlayStation crowd will take to a game that released so long ago.

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In a memo sent to Microsoft employees before the release of the podcast update, Spencer laid out the thinking behind the new strategy: “When we look at the state of our medium, we see players increasingly gaming on multiple devices, but their experience is defined by the fragmentation created by platform silos. Multi-device players have to navigate multiple identities, entitlement libraries, communities, wallets, and reward programs. Similarly, the industry’s biggest franchises increasingly ship across multiple devices, requiring creators to build and manage multiple instances of their games, leading to higher costs and fragmented communities. All of this friction creates a tremendous opportunity for us to meet the needs of multi-device players and creators.”

Spencer said it more plainly during the podcast, though: “I do have a fundamental belief that over the next five or ten years exclusive games, games that are exclusive to one piece of hardware, are going to be a smaller and smaller part of the game industry.”