Xbox boss Phil Spencer has played down the potential of Xbox Game Pass being available on Nintendo and Sony systems, despite the company having previously stated that it was a long term goal to bring the service to all platforms.Talking to GameStar, Spencer said The thing about other gaming console platforms is we’re not able to bring a full Xbox experience on those platforms.
In places where we have [brought a full Xbox experience] – like what we’re doing now on mobile phones with xCloud coming to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate [and] what we’ve done with PC – we know when somebody is playing one of our Xbox games there is an expectation that they’ve got their Xbox Live community, they have their Achievements, Game Pass is an option, the first-party library is completely there. Spencer said.”The other competitive platforms really aren’t interested in having a full Xbox experience on their hardware, he added. But for us, we want to be where gamers want to be and that’s the path that we’re on.”
This last quote is interesting, as it suggests that Microsoft may already have had discussions with other platform holders to assess interest in providing the full Xbox experience on their hardware. Early last year, rumors began to arise suggesting that Xbox Games Pass would be made available on Nintendo Switch, a story made more believable by the fact that Microsoft games such as Minecraft and Hellblade are available on the console.
A few months later, Xbox head of gaming services Ben Decker told GameReactor that we would like to see Game Pass on all platforms ultimately and I think that is a long term goal.
But reading into Spencer’s latest words, it could be that Microsoft has had talks with other platform holders and ultimately failed to come to an agreement on the kind of experience they could offer Game Pass subscribers. Or perhaps Microsoft has simply decided internally that it does not want to pursue this ambition in quite the all-encompassing manner that had previously suggested.
While the multi-platform Xbox dream may be less likely now, we still think Xbox Game Pass on Switch would benefit Microsoft, Nintendo, and players.
Matt Purslow is IGN’s UK News and Entertainment Writer.