Phil Spencer will address Xbox multiplatform rumors on February 15

Phil Spencer will address Xbox multiplatform rumors on February 15

Will Microsoft go cross-platform, exit the console business entirely or is this much ado about nothing?

The internet has been buzzing the last couple of weeks with rumors that Microsoft will begin publishing Xbox first-party games on competing consoles. The company promised it would soon share more details about its “vision for the future of Xbox” and that looks to be coming on February 15. Phil Spencer will appear on the Official Xbox Podcast to share “updates on the Xbox business.”

The episode drops at 3PM ET and it’ll also feature Sarah Bond, President of Xbox, and Matt Booty, the head of Xbox Game Studios. Those are three big names, so this could be a real barnburner of a podcast episode.

We don’t know what the team has in store, but there have been all kinds of rumors flooding the web, from Hi-Fi Rush coming to the Nintendo Switch to Starfield and Indiana Jones and the Great Circle showing up on the PS5. It’s somewhat unusual for one of the big three to outsource first-party titles to competing platforms, but it’s not unheard of. Sony puts many of its biggest games on Steam and there are already some former Xbox exclusives on the Switch, like Ori and the Blind Forest and its sequel.

Many fans, however, have used these rumors to fuel wild speculations that Xbox is about to exit the console business entirely. This isn’t likely, even if the Xbox Series X and Series S consoles have underperformed when compared to the Switch and PS5. The company held an internal townhall last week and Spencer reportedly told employees that it has no plans to stop making consoles and that Xbox systems would continue to be a large part of its overall strategy, according to games reporter Shannon Liao.

Also, Game Pass is still a huge selling point for Xbox consoles, with a May 2023 survey indicating that 32 percent of gamers subscribe to the service. There were over 33 million subscribers back in 2022, and that number’s likely to have grown since then.

Microsoft isn’t exactly struggling, even when you factor in the games division. As a matter of fact, the company’s gaming revenue was up an impressive 49 percent for Q2 2024, due primarily to the Activision acquisition deal. A recent earnings report indicated company revenue of $62 billion (up 18 percent from last year) and profits of $21.9 billion.

Even with those numbers, however, Microsoft’s gaming division is still laying people off left and right. The company just slashed 1,900 jobs from its Xbox, Activision Blizzard and ZeniMax (aka Bethesda) teams. If it’s looking for the constant growth that modern capitalism requires, dropping some of its more popular titles onto other consoles isn’t exactly the worst idea in the world. In any event, we’ll find out Thursday afternoon.