A handful of Xbox titles may soon lose their exclusivity status and move to platforms like PlayStation and Nintendo Switch. Good news for players who own those platforms. Not so for everyone. Rather than rejoice that more people may be able to enjoy their beloved games, parts of the Xbox community are furious about what they consider a betrayal.
Over the past month, the gaming world has been awash in speculation that titles like Sea of Thieves, Hi-Fi Rush, and now Indiana Jones and the Great Circle will no longer be available only on Xbox. “A new multiplatform approach for certain Xbox games is emerging inside Microsoft,” The Verge wrote over the weekend, ”with the company weighing up which titles will remain exclusive and [which] will appear on Switch or PS5 in the future.”
For the time being, these rumors are just that. That hasn’t stopped some members of the Xbox fan community, including influencers, from withdrawing their support or outright declaring the platform dead. As spotted by VGC, several notable fan accounts are already protesting with videos and posts on X. In one video, creator Riskit4theBiskit proclaims he will “need to process this” and says he’s getting off X for the day. “If this is true, I think it’s a massive misstep,” he adds. “I think as a fan and a supporter of the brand for 20 years, I’ve put hundreds of thousands of dollars into this brand over time. It does feel like a bit of a betrayal.” Others are posting receipts from trading in their Xbox consoles.
The fan reaction has been so extreme that late Monday Xbox head Phil Spencer addressed the community directly. “We’re listening and we hear you,” Spencer tweeted. “We’ve been planning a business update event for next week, where we look forward to sharing more details with you about our vision for the future of Xbox.”
Spencer’s statement didn’t quell much. Shortly after it was posted, Xbox-focused account Klobrille, which has more than 158,000 followers on X, posted that listening “will not be enough,” and that Microsoft needed to follow through on “previously made statements.”
Further replies to Spencer’s tweet continue the chorus of dissatisfaction: “Bringing Xbox to multiplatform will devalue the platform, please don’t,” wrote one user. Another wrote that the move away from exclusives would let “the whole gaming world down.” More succinctly, another: “F Xbox.”
Spencer has been clear for years that he’s hardly interested in interconsole conflict. “We’re in the entertainment business. The biggest competitor we have is apathy over the products and services, games that we build,” he said during a 2020 interview. Furthermore, Spencer described such “tribalism” distastefully. “There is a core that just really hates the other consumer product. Man, that’s just so off-putting to me … To me, it’s one of the worst things about our industry.”
Exclusivity hasn’t helped Microsoft beat its competition, either. Last year, during its court battle with the Federal Trade Commission over its $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Microsoft said in a court filing that Xbox had “lost the console wars” and “has consistently ranked third (of three) behind PlayStation and Nintendo in sales.”
During a hearing on the matter, when asked directly if Xbox had lost said wars, Spencer referred to them as “a social construct within the community.”
Next week, Spencer will presumably announce something sure to excite or enrage hardcore Xbox fans. Regardless of which way it goes, the recent dustup has demonstrated that brand loyalty and console allegiance, taken to the extreme, have birthed a toxic culture in gaming. There is no superiority to be won by owning a PlayStation or an Xbox; it is a personal choice best made when considering what specs, price, or other amenities work best for the individual. Brands, like companies, like jobs, will never love you back. Microsoft’s play is to win eyeballs and make money—and by diversifying its options, it certainly will.