Microsoft abandoned the idea of true Xbox One exclusives when it launched the Xbox Play Anywhere program across the console and PC, but it looks like things could be taken a step further. A new report claimed the company is preparing to release some of its games, including Ori and the Blind Forest, on the Nintendo Switch.
According to the YouTube gaming outlet Direct-Feed Games, Microsoft and Nintendo are planning on strengthening their partnership this year with the launch of more Microsoft-published games on the Switch. The partnership will apparently involve bringing an official Xbox app to the console, which will make use of both the Xbox Game Pass subscription service, as well as the upcoming Project xCloud. With the latter service, the Switch could play games the hardware was not originally equipped to play.
The move would further enforce Microsoft’s — and head of Xbox Phil Spencer’s — vision that the Xbox brand is no longer about hardware. With the PlayStation 4 selling far more units this generation, Microsoft has instead focused on subscription services and getting games onto more devices. Minecraft is playable with cross-play support on Nintendo Switch, and if the latest report happens to be true, more Microsoft-published games will likely join it. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice was developed by Ninja Theory before the studio was purchased by Microsoft, and a Switch version was just announced earlier in February.
The Nintendo Switch’s controllers don’t offer the exact same functionality of the Xbox One gamepad or a PC keyboard, but Project xCloud was already being designed with alternate control schemes in mind. Using touchscreens on phones, players will have access to tailored setups, and it will also support Bluetooth controllers. Whether custom functionality like this will come to the reported Switch versions of games remains to be seen.
Despite mixed reviews for recent Xbox One games like Crackdown 3 and Sea of Thieves, there is still a lot to like about Microsoft’s own games. Forza Horizon 4 is one of the best racing games we’ve played in years, and State of Decay 2 offers a nice balance of action and resource management during a zombie apocalypse.
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