Don’t expect to see Xbox Game Pass launch on rival consoles

New statements from Xbox boss Phil Spencer cast doubt on the idea that the Game Pass service might ever launch on rival consoles.

“The thing about other gaming console platforms is we’re not able to bring a full Xbox experience on those platforms,” Spencer said in a recent interview with the German outlet Game Star. “We know when somebody is playing one of our Xbox games there is an expectation that I’ve got my Xbox Live community, I have my achievements, Game Pass is an option for me, my first-party library is completely there. And the other competitive platforms aren’t really that interested in having a full Xbox experience on their hardware.”

Previously, Spencer noted during multiple interviews that it was a “long-term goal” to bring Xbox Game Pass—which allows subscribers to play a rotating catalog of games for one monthly fee—to “all platforms.”

The idea has always seemed like something of a pipe dream, but there was some reason to be hopeful. Microsoft and Nintendo have worked together on a number of smaller collaborations, like bringing cross-play to Minecraft on Switch in an early example of the feature, launching Ori and the Blind Forest on Switch, and allowing the Microsoft-owned Banjo-Kazooie to appear in Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as a DLC fighter. Given that history, it seemed possible that Game Pass might at least arrive on Switch in some form.

The specific issues raised in Spencer’s new statements hint at the possibility that discussions were ongoing at some point, but neither side was willing to budge on full support for Xbox Live and the surrounding ecosystem.

Still, with the news that Xbox Game Pass Ultimate will now incorporate Microsoft’s Project xCloud game-streaming technology at no extra cost, the door is certainly open, in theory, to playing your Xbox games on a much wider set of devices—even if the particulars of business means we may not see support expand beyond mobile devices or Windows PCs.

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