To be or not to be…
When the Xbox entered the console fray back in 2001, no one expected it to survive against the PlayStation 2 and Nintendo Gamecube, but 16 years later we are getting ready for the launch of the Xbox One X, which promises to be the most powerful game console in history.
Although Microsoft did enjoy better success with the Xbox 360, the Xbox One has struggled in its head-to-head fight against the PlayStation 4, being outsold to the tune of 2 to 1, and its software sales haven’t gotten the type of push the company expected, it is still somewhat surprising to hear Phil Spencer talking with the Wall Street Journal about the possibility of reaching gamers regardless of platform just before Xbox One X is out.
Phil Spencer’s role within Microsoft has changed in the last few weeks joining Microsoft’s Senior Leadership Team, and even though it certainly gives him a bigger say on what happens with the Xbox brand, there are still bigger barriers to suggest the Xbox brand is going third-party, until you start to consider what their real money maker it, Xbox Live.
There’s been a push from Microsoft into the “cross-platform” spectrum, one that Nintendo has started to embrace with games like Minecraft, Rocket League, and the recently-announced Crazy Justice all embracing Switch and Xbox One gamers together on the same network, and this relationship could grow even more so, as evidence by Phil Spencer’s comments, although to what capacity is still up for debate.
But if it’s going to happen, it has to start somewhere.
The PlayStation 4 is the best-selling console in the world and Microsoft would benefit from having their games in it, but the relationship between the two juggernauts is somewhat lacking, especially when Sony can’t even agree to feature their games as part of the “Cross-console” initiative that Microsoft has been pioneering and Nintendo has been embracing as of late.
The Nintendo Switch would seem like the clear alternative for Microsoft to moves their games into, or at the very least test the waters with other titles that make sense. This is how my life would look like if I were Microsoft before fully committing to bringing their AAA first-party titles over.
Minecraft is the initial bridge that gets crossed
Both Microsoft and Nintendo are already taking advantage of the cross-console option with Minecraft and this would seem to extent to future expansions of the game. This of course is a no-brainer since Minecraft was already featured on multiple consoles and devices before Microsoft even acquired them. Which makes it very easy to use this title as the testing grounds on how cross-console play would work between systems.
The next step would be for Microsoft to have some sort of agreement with Nintendo in how they can bring games like Rare Replay to the console, as well as older Rare games to be featured on a possible N64 Classic Edition, where Golden Eye, Perfect Dark, Killer Instinct and Diddy Kong Racing could find themselves as must-feature titles on it.
Xbox 360 makes a return
In much the same way that Microsoft has been adoption backwards compatibility with older games, they could also port some of their Xbox 360 games (especially exclusives like Blue Dragon, Lost Odyssey, and Viva Piñata) which not only be available for a newer audience, but could even receive and HD treatment of sorts, considering the Nintendo Switch is indeed much more powerful than the Xbox 360.
Halo, Forza, Gears of War and beyond!
This would be more tricky to bring to a Nintendo system, especially if you consider the Xbox One X coming out and Nintendo being years away before they will probably feature a system on-par with the capabilities of Microsoft’s newest console. Games like Halo, Forza, and Gears of War are usually hailed for their technical achievements and it is a little hard to see Microsoft scaling back to feature them on Switch.
What they could certainly do is, once again, to look at their previous library of those same games and have those ported over to Switch instead. Either way, for now this is but a pipe dream until we finally receive a confirmation that Microsoft is bringing their games over.