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Xbox’s multiplatform strategy is already paying off

Two men look at an election poster for Guybrush in Sea of Thieves.

If recent numbers are anything to go by, Xbox’s recent strategy change, which involves porting some first-party Xbox games to other competing consoles, has already been successful after just a few months.

PlayStation revealed its top downloaded games for May in a blog posted on Thursday for both the PlayStation 5 and 4. While it doesn’t list exact numbers, the top game for the U.S., Canada, and the EU is Sea of Thieves, which made its way over from Xbox console exclusivity on April 30.

Sea of Thieves beat out Madden NFL 24Grand Theft Auto 5Helldivers 2Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, and other AAA releases. Some smaller games on the charts include Killer Klowns from Outer Space: The Game and Another Crab’s Treasure.

Xbox caused quite a stir back in February when it announced that a handful of its first-party titles would be making their way to other platforms. The first games announced as a part of this new strategy were Hi-Fi Rush, Pentiment, Grounded, and Sea of Thieves. While the first three games were the first to get ported to the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation consoles, Sea of Thieves only sailed over to the PlayStation 5.

Sea of Thieves already had a dedicated player base on Xbox and PC — 35 million, according to Xbox as of February — and when it hit PlayStation, it supported crossplay, so even more players could hop on a ship with friends. “We make every decision with the long-term health of Xbox in mind, and long-term health of Xbox means a growing platform, our games performing, building the best platform for creators, reaching as many players as we can,” Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer said in response to rumors that Xbox was ending exclusivity.

Not every first-party Xbox game is going to be available day one on other consoles, and we’ve seen that with Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 and in a number of announcements during the Xbox Games Showcase this month. According to Statista, no Xbox games have cracked the top 10 yet on the Switch, but it’s tough to compete against Nintendo mainstays like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, which became the company’s bestselling game of all time in Mayand franchises like The Legend of Zelda and Pokémon.

Carli Velocci
Carli is a technology, culture, and games editor and journalist. They were the Gaming Lead and Copy Chief at Windows Central…
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