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The Xbox Series X won’t have exclusive games at launch

An Xbox exec revealed today in an interview that the Series X, Microsoft’s next-gen offering, won’t have exclusive games until at least a year after the console launches.

Matt Booty, head of Xbox Game Studios, told MCV that the company wants all games to be playable on both Xbox One and the Series X:

As our content comes out over the next year, two years, all of our games, sort of like PC, will play up and down that family of devices. We want to make sure that if someone invests in Xbox between now and [Series X] that they feel that they made a good investment and that we’re committed to them with content

The conceit behind a “launch exclusive” is to have a game that gives users a good reason to purchase one console over another. A beautiful or massive game gives developers the chance to flex the new console’s muscles, showing what it’s capable of at launch. Booty adds that the Microsoft team is using Halo: Infinite to show off the Series X, but it’s still going to be available on Xbox One.

The launch exclusive hasn’t exactly been synonymous with “great, memorable game” in recent years, however. Both the Xbox One and PS4 had rather disappointing exclusives at launch — in fact, I’m struggling to recall one I’ve even thought about in the last three or so years. So shifting focus from “what games this console and only this console will have” to “games everyone can play, and you’ll upgrade when you’re able to” might be more palatable in the current economy.

Limiting exclusive titles until after the initial sales push might also be a way of hooking in a second wave of buyers. The Xbox One could have definitely used the boost in sales considering it’s trailed behind the PS4 for almost its entire lifespan.

But here’s the rub: if Microsoft is going to wait that long to give us Xbox exclusives, they’d better be some fire exclusives. We’re talking resurrected Scalebound levels of interesting. If they aren’t, I can almost guarantee the sentiment will be less “Finally!” and more “Really? That’s it?”

By contrast, we already know the PS5 will have at least one console exclusive: Gearbox’s Godfall, which will also be available for the PC. I’m also still holding out hope that Horizon Zero Dawn 2 is one of the exclusives Sony has yet to reveal. Time will tell which of the two companies’ approaches will benefit gamers the most.