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Microsoft Opens Xbox Games to PlayStation, Switch in Surprise Move

In an unexpected move, Microsoft is bringing four of its exclusive Xbox games to PlayStation and Nintendo consoles for the first time. The software giant, best known for its Windows operating system and Xbox brand, is testing the waters of multi-platform releases as part of its expanding "Xbox Everywhere" vision.

Microsoft Opens Xbox Games to PlayStation, Switch in Surprise Move

Microsoft Will Bring Four Xbox Exclusives to PlayStation, Nintendo Switch

Who stand to benefit from this shift? Gamers on PS5 and Switch who will soon get to play a handful of popular Xbox titles without owning the hardware. Meanwhile, Microsoft looks to grow its gaming businesses beyond console exclusives alone.

The first two games appearing outside the Xbox ecosystem will be Hi-Fi Rush and Pentiment, followed by Sea of Thieves and Grounded, says Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer. Another pair of smaller projects will follow, though they remain unnamed.

Why is Microsoft doing this? To learn. This initial batch of just four ports serves as an experiment, with expectations low for major sales impacts. But if fan reaction proves positive, more ports could follow, including rumored heavy-hitters like Starfield.

Success may convince Microsoft its audience values games above platforms. Failures, and ireful Xbox die-hards, could reverse the policy. Either way, Microsoft watches closely as its “Xbox Everywhere” strategy takes steps into uncharted territory. Regardless of industry skepticism, the software giant intends growing gaming beyond consoles alone.

With the $68.7 billion Activision acquisition, Xbox now rivals PlayStation in size. Yet Microsoft trails in console sales and subscribers for Game Pass, its Netflix-for-games service. Extending content reach could address these challenges, bringing Xbox games to “more players worldwide” as their vision demands.

It remains unseen how Sony or Nintendo may respond. But in upending conventions, Microsoft drives a discussion reshaping notions of exclusivity. And for PlayStation and Switch owners awaiting a sea-bound pirating adventure, a surprisingly generous gesture arrives from an unexpected source. Microsoft's move sets a course for uncertain waters, but opens promising horizons for boundary-busting benefits of players united in play.

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