Phil Spencer, Microsoft’s executive vice president of gaming, has continued to change the definition of “Xbox” over the last few years, releasing console-exclusive games on PC and even planning to offer Xbox Live services on Nintendo Switch. If Microsoft gets its way, however, things could go even further, including possibly offering the Xbox Game Pass service on PlayStation systems.
Speaking to GeekWire, Spencer explained that selling games and services to players is Microsoft’s biggest focus, and this extends beyond only offering them on Xbox or PC hardware. With Xbox Game Pass, subscribers get launch-day access to all new Microsoft games as part of their monthly fee, and they have unlimited time with the games.
“We want to bring Game Pass to any device that somebody wants to play on,” Spencer said in the interview.”
Spencer stopped short of mentioning putting Xbox Game Pass on the PlayStation 4 specifically, but the connotation of his statement was clear. If Microsoft gets its way, the service will be on everything from PlayStation 4 to phones and Nintendo Switch.
Microsoft is already moving to have its games available for play on mobile devices through the Project xCloud program. The game-streaming service will let members play Xbox games on their phones, with special touch-based control schemes implemented alongside support for Bluetooth controllers. The program will also be compatible with the Xbox One itself, as well as PC, giving consumers more choice over how and where they play. This all could be playing into a new report that suggests the next Xbox One will be digital only, meaning it could go completely disc free.
Cross-platform play between Xbox One and other systems is already implemented for a small number of games. Fortnite players can enjoy the game across all devices, and Rocket League also features play between Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, and PC. With the exception of PS4 and a few legacy systems, players can also enjoy cross-platform play in Minecraft. As we move into the next generation of consoles, this should only continue, as there appear to be few technical limitations on cross-platform play.
It’s expected that Microsoft will reveal more information on expanded Xbox Live functionality during GDC 2019 later in March. As there is no achievement system on Nintendo Switch, we’re crossing our fingers that something can be implemented with the addition of Xbox Live support.