Xbox boss Phil Spencer has poured cold water on the suggestion the Xbox Game Pass subscription service could still launch on rival platforms.
It’s a change in stance from multiple comments around this time last year, when Spencer said on multiple occasions that Xbox Game Pass appearing “on all platforms” was “a long term goal”.
While a release on PlayStation always seemed unlikely, there were industry whispers that Microsoft and Nintendo were discussing how Xbox Game Pass might work on Nintendo Switch.
Microsoft and Nintendo have recently gotten a lot more cosy – fuelled by Switch being first to accept Xbox crossplay for its version of Minecraft. The relationship has since blossomed, with the Switch launch of various Microsoft first-party games such as Minecraft Dungeons, Ori and the Blind Forest, Hellblade and New Super Lucky’s Tale.
Now, however, the rollout of Xbox Game Pass sounds a lot less likely.
“The thing about other gaming console platforms is we’re not able to bring a full Xbox experience on those platforms,” Spencer said in a new video interview with GameStar.
“In places where we have brought Xbox – mobile phones like we’re doing now with Project xCloud with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate [and] what we’ve done with PC bringing our full Xbox experience there – we know when somebody is playing one of our Xbox games there is an expectation that they’ve got their Xbox Live community, they have their Achievements, Game Pass is an option, my first-party library is completely there…
“The other competitive platforms really aren’t interested in having a full Xbox experience on their hardware. But for us, we want to be where gamers want to be and that’s the path that we’re on.”
You could read Spencer’s comments to mean that Microsoft investigated whether such a possibility of a full Xbox experience could be supported by Nintendo – methods to interact with Xbox Live friends and see Achievements, for example – but ultimately could not agree on a way forward.
Alternatively, you could see Spencer’s team simply realising that these platforms are never going to offer as ingrained an Xbox experience as someone playing on a Microsoft PC with the Xbox app, or on a smartphone streaming a full Xbox console via xCloud.
For now, Xbox Game Pass seems to be sticking on Xbox hardware and PC for the foreseeable future.
As well as the inclusion of xCloud smartphone streaming in Game Pass Ultimate subscriptions, further changes may be afoot. Microsoft recently withdrew 12-month Xbox Live subscriptions from sale, prompting speculation it was planning to drop the online multiplayer paywall – or roll it into Game Pass too.