Report: Microsoft is 'considering' bringing its flagship Xbox IP to PlayStation for the first time, but will it?

Halo Infinite
(Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • Xbox has recently started to bring some of its home-grown exclusives like Grounded and Sea of Thieves to competing console platform PlayStation. 
  • Microsoft has previously noted that only four of its games are coming across, but has generally declined to prevent speculation that they'll move to release more than those four.
  • Speculation runs rampant about which games, if any, could eventually make the leap. However, a report today suggests that Microsoft is "considering" breaking the seal on Halo itself, which has long been regarded as Xbox's flagship IP. 
  • We've asked Microsoft to comment. 

Microsoft has a big Xbox Games Showcase 2024 event coming up this Sunday, and rumors and speculation about what could be in the show are running rife. I corroborated a recent report that the next DOOM will be at the Xbox showcase, alongside the news that it will be also coming to PlayStation, despite now being owned by Xbox. 

Indeed, a lot of the discourse about Xbox of late has revolved around Project Latitude, its codenamed strategy to bring some of their Xbox franchises to competing platforms. Microsoft's thought process is that in order for their games to grow into mega franchises like Fallout and Minecraft, they need to be everywhere. The question is, will it come to the detriment of the Xbox console platform. Many millions of players are digitally "locked in" to Xbox. If developers stop supporting the Xbox platform due to decreased usage, stemming from this lack of true "exclusives," it could lead to the eventual death of the platform. Because hey, if I can buy Xbox games on an affordable platform with PlayStation's exclusives, why wouldn't I, right? Well, Microsoft thinks it can compete with PlayStation on hardware and services, such as Xbox Game Pass, even in a universe where exclusive games is less emphasized. The viability of that strategy remains to be seen, and I am at least skeptical for my part, but today we might've caught a glimpse at the next step. 

In a report from The Verge (paywalled), Tom Warren claims that Microsoft is "considering" bringing a freshly remastered version of Halo Combat Evolved to PlayStation. The report also suggests that the next Gears of War is, however, not being ported to PlayStation. It should be noted that Warren did not offer a hard confirmation that the plan is to bring these titles day and date to PlayStation, despite what I've seen some outlets running with. But what exactly does "considering" mean in this context? Let's take a look. 

Hunt the truth: Will Halo come to PlayStation?

(Image credit: The Forge Falcons)

I've asked Microsoft to comment on this report because Halo coming to PlayStation would be something of a watershed moment for the Xbox platform. Or would it? Halo is already available on PC, and PlayStation too has started to bring its games to Steam and the Epic Game Store on PC. The Steam Deck is a console-like experience that offers both games from Xbox and PlayStation, alongside mountains of PC games via Steam and Proton. The Steam Deck platform is only going to get more powerful and more popular, too, potentially making this whole multiplatform drama a flash in the pan. 

The only thing I can confirm at my end is that right now, as Warren said, Gears "6" is not being built for PlayStation. However, I've been told that neither are a variety of the other games The Verge says are being considered right now. In my investigations, I can confirm that games like Age of Mythology Retold, Avowed, South of Midnight, Hellblade 2, and even Starfield (at least as of June 2024) are, right now, not in active development for PlayStation, despite being perhaps "considered" in meetings and discussions. Does that mean never? Maybe, maybe not? I'm not sure Microsoft has nailed down the answers themselves yet to some of these questions, and The Verge report certainly doesn't suggest they have, despite how some have framed it. It's hard to disprove what end up being true in a couple of years or more. It's true that eventually, you've reached every customer you can on your current platforms, and that you're potentially just leaving money to your competitors by not doing a port in today's age. I think Sea of Thieves very accurately fits this description. 

The fact that the reports seem to stop short of confirming fully what games when or where will go to PlayStation suggests to me that Microsoft is still taking a "wait and see" approach, as the industry landscape continues to chart its way through a turbulent and unfamiliar post-Covid economic climate. Every entertainment industry is being upended by evolving user habits, from movies to live concerts and, of course, gaming, making businesses take an analytical reassessment to how they commit to their core businesses. 

Many questioned whether Microsoft would commit to Xbox Game Pass with Call of Duty, and it has, despite widespread speculation that it wouldn't. Microsoft is widely expected to be working on an Xbox handheld alongside its confirmed next-gen Xbox, despite speculation they would quit hardware.

The only thing I personally expect for sure is that this year's Xbox Games Showcase 2024 will be rather excellent. 

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden is a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by tea. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his XB2 Podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

  • Ron-F
    All this noise is poison to the Xbox brand. Spencer should come forward and outline what is exactly the plan.
  • jasongw
    If true, it'll be the death knell of all Xbox hardware going forward. They've already shit the bed this entire generation so far. Their marketing and customer communication/community building is so god awful I doubt they can recover at this point anyway.
  • fdruid
    jasongw said:
    If true, it'll be the death knell of all Xbox hardware going forward. They've already **** the bed this entire generation so far. Their marketing and customer communication/community building is so god awful I doubt they can recover at this point anyway.

    Should people care about branded hardware nowadays, anyway? The brand identity is in the game portfolio. The best possible scenario is that their games can be played anywhere and everywhere. Hell, every game company wants that (excluding those weirdoes at nintendo who keep fishing in their bucket)
  • K Shan
    fdruid said:
    The best possible scenario is that their games can be played anywhere and everywhere.
    Except for people that have invested in the Xbox ecosystem. If they are the only one doing it and not getting anything in return, then it's going to be a death spiral of customers and developers leaving xbox hardware and anyone that purchased things on the Xbox store gets screwed.

    This is made worse by Microsoft having done this so many times with things like Windows Phone and Mixer. Microsoft needs to explain their plan here and how it differs from all the other consumer products where they stopped doing exclusives while insisting they were still going to support it, and then killed it off.
  • GraniteStateColin
    In general, I don't like this idea, but I think there is a way to do it that BENEFITS Xbox and INCREASES users joining the Xbox ecosystem, rather than driving them away.

    Further, by the games MS is talking about moving, it does fit with this strategy.

    It goes like this: if Xbox ports older games in existing franchises to PS (note that GoW 6 and other new titles are NOT on the list to migrate), then PS players who would otherwise not be exposed to those games other than by reviews on the Internet and maybe occasionally seeing them at friends' houses, have a chance to play them. If these experiences are positive, then some percentage of those players may buy Xboxes for the latest versions of games in those franchises.

    The key requirement for this is to ONLY give the older versions of the games to get them interested in the franchise, keeping the latest and greatest exclusive to Xbox (or at least ensure a significant delay before releasing a new version to PS). This makes PS players always tardy to those franchises. If they care about the franchise, many (not all) will want to be able to get the best versions of the games.

    The logic to this is clear: expose more people to franchises, get them interested, then they may convert to Xbox from PS either immediately or in the next generation when they upgrade.

    The counter-argument is that just as there is a portion of gamers who will want to get on Xbox to play current versions of the franchises they like, there is also a portion who is happy to stay a version behind and will figure with PS they get all the PS exclusives plus are ONLY 1 version behind on the Xbox games too. What we don't know, but MS might, is the ratio of these two groups. If the eager players group is as big or bigger than the happy-to-get-all-exclusives-even-if-years-later group, then it's a good strategy. Otherwise, it could be very bad.

    I would caution MS that the damage caused if they miscalculate this is severe. Some experiments and tests are low-risk, easy to win back customers (e.g., putting out a game late loses some sales and delays revenue, but if it's good, customers come back), but customers who move to another ecosystem may never come back, or at least not for multiple platform generations.

    So I can't say if MS' plan will work or that the positives outweigh the negatives. I don't know if they do. But it is a valid strategy that might be better in the long run even for Xbox hardware sales.
  • TheFerrango
    All they need to do is make their controller PS compatible and we're golden. I'm waiting for the next generation of consoles to put one in my livingroom and Microsoft is making the next PS more appealing by the day, despite Sony's tampering and self-shooting.

    That way Microsoft gets money from the games, and Sony from the services. Although I do wonder, will XBOX games on PS have cross play with XBOX players? will I need a Game Pass Core account to play multiplayer, on top of whatever Sony has? So many ways to screw this up.