The new year brought with it a slew of rumors that Microsoft is seriously considering putting aside exclusivity and bringing its library of titles to rival platforms like the PS5 and Switch. If true, it could be a death knell for the console war as we know it and the biggest shake-up the industry's seen since Sega dropped out of the hardware game in 2001.
The biggest bombshells over the past week have been increasing speculation that Microsoft may release Starfield on PS5 alongside the recently revealed Indiana Jones and the Great Circle. Other possible PS5 ports include the charming rhythm-action game Hi-Fi Rush (which could also see a release on Nintendo Switch) as well as Microsoft's popular run-and-gun shooter series Gears of War.
Of course, this all remains speculation for now. Microsoft has stayed quiet regarding these rumors or speculation that it may be planning to transition into a third-party publisher. We're likely to learn more soon as Xbox head Phil Spencer promised a "business update event" at some unspecified point next week to clarify the company's plans.
Given the recent surge of leaks, it's difficult to keep track of which Xbox games could lose their exclusivity and make their way onto PlayStation or Nintendo consoles. With that in mind, we've rounded up all the rumors, leaks, and reports for every Xbox exclusive that's reportedly going multiplatform.
The first rumors to surface of an Xbox exclusive coming to a non-Microsoft platform was Hi-Fi Rush, a charming rhythm-action game that we at Tom's Guide count among the best Xbox Series X games. Tango Gameworks surprise-released the game early last year and went on to garner widespread acclaim for its splashy, cartoon-like visuals, endearing characters and fun combat.
In a January episode of his podcast, Nate the Hate, an industry insider with a solid track record of accurate scoops, said as one of his 2024 predictions that "Microsoft will bring one of their more acclaimed first-party releases to a competitor’s system.” While the insider didn't name Hi-Fi Rush specifically, he dropped plenty of clues that this was the case based on his description. He also name-dropped Nintendo Switch and PlayStation as potential platforms that Microsoft may explore bringing more games to in the future.
Another insider later added even more credibility to this claim. On a ResetEra thread discussing the video, the insider said that if you were to bet on the current Xbox console exclusive Hi-Fi Rush launching on Nintendo Switch, “you’ll win.”
Bethesda’s sci-fi epic Starfield wasn't exactly the slam-dunk Xbox was banking on. Steam data showed that players bounced hard off what was supposed to be the biggest Xbox exclusive of the year. My co-worker Dave Meikleham described it as thoroughly mid, calling it "the video game equivalent of a big dollop of intergalactic vanilla ice cream."
Which is why, from a fiscal standpoint, it makes sense for Microsoft’s bottom line to consider letting Starfield go to PS5. A handful of reports at the beginning of February (thanks, IGN) said Xbox is seriously considering the idea. Sources say a PS5 port of Starfield could be announced after the release of the game's Shattered Space DLC, which is planned for sometime in 2024.
Indiana Jones and the Great Circle
Around the same time as the Starfield leak, the Verge reported the Indiana Jones game that Bethesda and MachineGames are currently working on is also tentatively set to launch on PS5. Titled Indiana Jones and the Great Circle, this port would come months after the Xbox and PC release, which is set for the end of 2024.
However, the Verge hedged that its sources say Microsoft staff is currently deadlocked in "intense debate" about what games should be brought to rival consoles, so an Indy PS5 port feels far from set in stone.
Sea of Thieves
Some fans speculated that Nate the Hate's prediction about a PS5 and Switch port could actually refer to Rare's popular pirate 'em up Sea of Thieves as opposed to Hi-Fi Rush. Adding even more credibility to this claim was Giant Bomb’s Jeff Grubb, who said he’d heard buzzing about a potential port, as well as later reports from Game File’s Stephen Totilo and VGC’s Andy Robinson.
Totilo noted he'd only heard rumors about a potential Sea of Thieves port for PS5, not Switch, that could see an early 2024 launch.
Gears of War
In a recent Giant Bomb livestream , Grubb shared that the Gears franchise’s potential migration to PS5 is “definitely under consideration” over at Microsoft. A specific Sony platform isn’t mentioned, but it's likely he was referring to the PS5 given it's the only current-gen machine the company has out right now. Though he could have meant its home will be the heavily rumored PS5 Pro.
The Xbox Series X nor Xbox Series S haven't seen a new Gears game since the consoles' launch in late 2020. But it's possible we could see a 4K Gears of War Collection consisting of not just the latest entry, Gears 5, but also the first three games in the series and Xbox One’s Gears of War 4.