Xbox could allow Double Fine and Obsidian to make multiplatform games
First-party boss says he’s open to rival platforms
Xbox could allow its newly acquired studios such as Double Fine and Obsidian to create games for rival platforms in the future, it’s said.
Xbox first-party studios boss, Matt Booty said the platform holder will determine if it makes sense to put future games on PlayStation and Nintendo Switch on a per-franchise basis.
Microsoft already publishes Minecraft on PlayStation, while it recently released Cuphead for Nintendo Switch. Following its acquisition of Double Fine this year, Psychonauts 2 will remain a multiplatform release.
Asked by Game Informer if it would allow its newly acquired studios to continue creating multiplatform games if they wanted, Booty said:
“Yeah, I think we would. I think that the question is less binary about, ‘should it be on Switch, should it be on PlayStation?’ and more, ‘does it make sense for the franchise?’
“In other words, is it a kind of game where it would benefit from the network effect of being on a bunch of different platforms, or is it a game where we can best support it by putting resources and making sure that our platforms, things like xCloud and Game Pass and Xbox Live, are really leaning in to support the game?”
He added: “With something like Minecraft, I think it was a no-brainer that we were never going to try and take anything from players that existed on those platforms, and certainly we’ve added platforms since that acquisition.
“But then obviously we’re going to have our big franchises like Forza, Halo and Sea of Thieves, where those games are designed from the outset to really exist on Xbox, I think that will continue.”
In the same interview, Booty said that he hopes he can develop Obsidian’s The Outer Worlds into an enduring franchise for Xbox.
In recent years Xbox has launched a new initiative to significantly expand its portfolio of first-party studios.
As well as setting up The Initiative and a new Age of Empires studio, Xbox has recently acquired the likes of Ninja Theory (Hellblade), Playground (Forza Horizon), Obsidian (Fallout: New Vegas), InXile (Wasteland 3) and Double Fine (Psychonauts 2).
Xbox head Phil Spencer recently said the platform holder still has “work to do” with its first-party games output.
In an interview with Fortune, Spencer said Xbox is consciously looking to improve its first-party operation, not only via acquisitions but also structural changes to how Microsoft looks at games.
“We made a conscious effort to invest in our first party,” he said. “Some of that is standing on stage and announcing the acquisition of studios, some of it is the hiring that we’re doing at the studios we already have.
“Some of it is ensuring that we have the right amount of time and we’re able to focus.
“I know our fans want to see us do better and the teams are completely aligned behind that desire.”