Xbox reportedly in crisis mode as third-party developers raise concerns

Xbox reportedly in crisis mode as third-party developers raise concerns
Images via Larian Studios | Bethesda

Written by 

Tom Chapman

Last updated 

26th Mar 2024 11:09

Oh, it was all going so well. After the embers of the console wars seemingly burned down and Microsoft shook hands on its Activision Blizzard King acquisition, even Sony couldn't help but pat the green team on the back. Unfortunately, you can't just pull $68.7 billion out of your back pocket.

In the ever-fickle world of video games, you can be king of the world one minute and sat there with a begging bowl the next. After mass layoffs and reports that Microsoft's gaming arm could be in dire straits, the latest concerns suggest that third-party developers might be about to abandon ship. 

Third-party developers are apparently worried about Microsoft

As reported by GamesIndustry.biz's Chris Dring, third-party developers are reportedly worried about Xbox's standing right now. Dring says he spoke to a number of devs during the Game Developers Conference, with them raising concerns about the sales of Xbox consoles.

"Xbox is in real trouble as a hardware manufacturer," says Dring on the GamesIndustry.biz podcast. "The other thing I heard, I heard it from a very prominent company and one not so prominent, was Xbox’s performance in Europe is just flatlining."

The Xbox market outside of North America is a particular area of concern, with some developers asking whether it's worth undertaking the costly process of porting their games to Xbox consoles. It's no secret that Microsoft typically doesn't make a profit on its consoles, but with devs now potentially turning their back, it could be panic stations.  

Dring continued, "The phrase one major company who released a big game last year said [was], 'I don’t know why we bothered supporting it'," which is hardly a glowing review of Xbox. Couple this with Microsoft's mandate that Xbox Series consoles need feature parity, and devs could soon turn their backs. 

"We mentioned on a previous podcast that we'd heard retailers in Europe are considering or had already been cutting back their Xbox stock on their shelves, hardware, games, that kind of thing," continued Dring.

"Now you've got third-party publishers going, 'we're putting in a lot of effort trying to create a Series S version and an X version of a game when, to be honest with you, for us the market is PC and PS5.'"

No Xbox game is safe from PlayStation

Halo Infinite Master Chief and Warthog
Click to enlarge
Image via 343 Industries

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It's a dicey situation, that for PlayStation players, could be a big win. The Blue Team boasts exclusives like God of War, The Last of Us, Marvel's Spider-Man, and more. It's taken its own steps to get some of these exclusives on PC, but we don't imagine you'll be playing Spider-Man 3 on the Xbox. 

Things aren't the same over at Microsoft, with a recent push for Xbox exclusives to have a new home. This so far includes more niche titles like Pentiment, Hi-Fi Rush, Sea of Thieves and Grounded, but if Xbox is really struggling in the way Dring suggests, that could be fast-tracked to bigger IPs. 

On the subject of juggernauts like Halo, Gears of War, and Starfield getting a lick of blue paint, Spencer recently told The Verge, "I don't think we should as an industry ever rule out a game going to any other platform." Sure, Microsoft might have the Call of Duty franchise under its belt, but can that really keep it afloat? 

Tom is Trending News Editor at GGRecon, with an NCTJ qualification in Broadcast Journalism and over seven years of experience writing about film, gaming, and television. With bylines at IGN, Digital Spy, Den of Geek, and more, Tom’s love of horror means he's well-versed in all things Resident Evil, with aspirations to be the next Chris Redfield.

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