Newly Acquired Xbox Studios Could Release Games For PlayStation, Nintendo Consoles

Executive Matt Booty says Microsoft would think about allowing its first-party studios to release games for competing platforms.

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Microsoft would consider allowing some of its studios to release games on competing consoles. Xbox Studios boss Matt Booty told Game Informer that this will be decided on a case-by-case basis. Asked directly if Microsoft would allow its newest studio, Double Fine, to release future titles on platforms that compete with Xbox, Booty replied, "Yeah, I think we would."

Whatever the case, Booty said the bigger discussion is about what's right for the game.

"I think the question is less binary about, 'Should it be on Switch, should it be on PlayStation' and more, 'Does it make sense for the franchise?' In other words, is it a kind of game where it would benefit from the network effect of being on a bunch of different platforms, or is it a game where we can best support it by putting resources and making sure that our platforms, things like xCloud and Game Pass and Xbox Live, are really leaning in to support the game," Booty said.

Obsidian and Double Fine were acquired by Microsoft after their respective new games, The Outer Worlds and Psychonauts 2, were announced for release across Xbox and PlayStation. Similarly, after Microsoft acquired Minecraft developer Mojang, the company continued to support Minecraft on PlayStation. It's a potentially lucrative thing to do, as Microsoft's Phil Spencer has said Microsoft is in fact one of the biggest publishers on PlayStation thanks to Minecraft.

Keeping Minecraft available and updated on PlayStation was a "no-brainer," according to Booty.

Speaking to GameSpot in a new interview, Spencer recalled the thinking behind keeping Minecraft available on all platforms. "One of the first calls we got after the Minecraft acquisition was from Sony saying, ‘Are you going to pull it off PlayStation?'," Spencer said. "And I'm like, ‘Why would I do that? People like playing it on PlayStation.'"

As for Microsoft's older franchises that have never been released on competing consoles, such as Forza, Halo, and Sea of Thieves, those series were designed from the beginning to "exist on Xbox." Booty said he expects that legacy to continue going forward.

Also in the interview, Booty shared some insight into one of the reasons why why Microsoft acquired Obsidian--the company sees a bright future for The Outer Worlds. He said Microsoft sees the game as one that can build and grow over time. One major question is around a potential sequel and if it would continue to be a multiplatform release. Since The Outer Worlds 1 isn't even released yet, Booty wouldn't be drawn into speculation, though his earlier comments suggest that it might be possible for the sequel to release on multiple consoles.

Finally, Booty said he is proud of the way Microsoft is structuring its studio acquisition deals. He mentioned that when Microsoft and Twisted Pixel decided to split up, the terms of the deal were such that Twisted Pixel would be able to continue to thrive.

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