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Phil Spencer: “it doesn’t feel sustainable” porting Xbox games to Switch, would rather have “full Xbox ecosystem somewhere”

Kotaku has recently published a wide ranging interview with the head of Xbox, Phil Spencer. One of the topics that came up is the relationship between the Xbox team and Nintendo. We have seen Banjo-Kazooie and Steve and Alex from Minecraft appear in Super Smash Bros Ultimate and the two acclaimed Ori games and Cuphead from the team at Xbox on the Nintendo Switch. When asked about the prospect of more Xbox titles appearing on the hybrid console, Mr. Spencer said it is not really sustainable. He says that the company would rather have services such as Live and Game Pass on the system instead.

Where does that leave the prospect of more Xbox games coming to non-Xbox consoles? Spencer told me that “it doesn’t feel sustainable” to consider Xbox games on a case by case basis for Switch and said, “In order to really support it, I would want a full Xbox ecosystem somewhere. And that probably means things like Live and Game Pass and stuff.”



20 thoughts on “Phil Spencer: “it doesn’t feel sustainable” porting Xbox games to Switch, would rather have “full Xbox ecosystem somewhere””

  1. Previous article: Switch is best selling console in US for 22 consecutive months

    Xbox: “it’s not sustainable”

    1. He means that they still need to sell Xbox consoles. If Switch owners think they can just wait out for every Xbox game, they won’t bother getting a Series S/X. It makes more sense to sprinkle a few to make them interested, but still keep some Xbox only.

    2. With that logic nintendo should just stop making consoles and release everything on the iPad as it’s leagues more powerful than the switch and outsells it tenfold

  2. Sounds a little bit like he’s building walls to me, which goes against his own policy. High end games are understandable, but older games don’t really have an excuse to not be on there.

    1. “I don’t want to be flip about that,” he added. “This deal [Bethesda] was not done to take games away from another player base like that. Nowhere in the documentation that we put together was: ‘How do we keep other players from playing these games?’ We want more people to be able to play games, not fewer people to be able to go play games. But I’ll also say in the model—I’m just answering directly the question that you had—when I think about where people are going to be playing and the number of devices that we had, and we have xCloud and PC and Game Pass and our console base, I don’t have to go ship those games on any other platform other than the platforms that we support in order to kind of make the deal work for us. Whatever that means.”

    2. I mean, if he wants game pass on the switch I wouldn’t exactly call that building walls. Every single first party Xbox exclusive would be ok the switch then, plus a ton of 3rd parties the switch doesn’t yet have.

      I really would love that. There aren’t enough Xbox exclusives that I want to justify buying the new console, but I would totally pay for game pass every once in a while to play some of the games! It being on switch would be amazing.

      1. Game pass would be good and all for people who have no trouble streaming games, but I speak from experience saying it really sucks with the lag. There’s also the problem of losing access to the game you’re playing if it gets pulled from the servers if the media considers it too controversial, partnerships fall through, etc. when digital titles let you still download even if it’s pulled from the store.

  3. “In order to really support it, I would want a full Xbox ecosystem somewhere. And that probably means things like Live and Game Pass and stuff.” … That, to me, sounds like he’s saying, instead of porting every game over, one by one, he’d rather put an Xbox Game Pass app on the Switch (or other places), and have everything run through that, as opposed to porting everything over.

    1. That’s genius. I wish some Nintendo Switch owners would stop asking for ports and ask for a subscription that allows them to play Wii U and older games on Switch, because as it stands, the calendar of Switch over the OST couple of years mainly consisted of ports, remaster etc.

      If the Switch was backward compatible, Nintendo would be focusing on creating new titles and experiences.

    2. That would honestly suck. I tried playing Sonic Adventure on PlayStation Now and there was so much lag to the point of it not being enjoyable. It’s fine as an option, but they should always offer an alternative for people who don’t like streaming games.

  4. Makes sense. After all, I’m sure their services are where they make their profits rather than individual games.

    I really like Gamepass and the way they’ve built the Xbox ecosystem with consoles and PC.

    You just get so much options when it comes to Xbox now. A Series S or a Series X. You get Gamepass and it works across them all. If you don’t want an Xbox, you can simply get the games on PC.

    I love it.

  5. I just got game pass ultimate for my phone yesterday and it works amazing, I think it’d be a great add on to the switch.

  6. Makes sense from a business standpoint, porting a game one by one to run natively on a different system and architecture has a lot of costs. Having something like streaming would make things way easier for them.

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