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Big Changes Are Coming To Xbox In 2024

Xbox is a company that has always been about keeping up with changing trends in the gaming industry, and 2024 is looking to exemplify that in a big way. The company has been dodging rumors for months that state the gaming giant will be opening up its doors to rival platforms, turning games that were once Microsoft exclusives into multiplatform releases. The company did not directly respond to any of these whispers until February 15, when Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer, Xbox President Sarah Bond, and Xbox Game Studios head Matt Booty appeared on the "Official Xbox Podcast" to brief fans on the future of Xbox gaming.

As it turns out, many of the rumors are true! From expansions to other platforms to exciting releases for Game Pass, not to mention seeing "Palworld" as a guiding star, here are some of the big moves that the masterminds over at Xbox have in store for 2024. Although some of these plans are still in their early stages, it's not an exaggeration to say that the Xbox brand is about to change forever.

Xbox is bringing four games to other platforms

During the podcast appearance, Phil Spencer laid down a new vision for the gaming industry's future — one with cross-platform compatibility at its heart. In an attempt to shepherd the industry down the path of crossplay for everyone and away from the olden days of console war exclusivity, four games that were previously exclusive to Xbox and PC will be released to other platforms.

While being upfront and honest about the company's mission going forward, Spencer was not as forthcoming with the exact titles of the four games. Instead, he offered some criteria for the selected games. Namely, each of the chosen games had been out for at least one year and exemplify franchises that Xbox wants to continue investing in. He bundled two of them into a category of community-driven games and billed the other two as smaller games that deserve a wider audience. Spencer did confirm when pressed for specifics that neither of the games are "Starfield" or the upcoming "Indiana Jones and the Great Circle."

Despite the Xbox team's unwillingness to name names at this time, The Verge's inside sources say the four games are "Sea of Thieves," "Grounded," "Hi-Fi Rush," and "Pentiment." Rumor has it that some of these games will be making their way to PlayStation 5, while others will soon arrive on Nintendo Switch. Those four titles match up pretty well with the hints provided by Spencer, so fans can probably expect announcements regarding crossplay from these respective teams in the near future.

Activision Blizzard games are coming to Game Pass

"Diablo 4" is finally coming to the Xbox Game Pass on March 28. Since the landmark $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft was finalized in 2023, fans have expected Activision Blizzard's catalogue to arrive on Xbox's Game Pass service. This is a fair expectation, considering how quickly 20 Bethesda games made their way onto Game Pass following Microsoft's acquisition of Zenimax Media. However, according to Phil Spencer, regulatory slowdowns are the primary cause of delays in getting Activision Blizzard's games onto Game Pass.

Alongside the confirmation of "Diablo 4," Sarah Bond reiterated, "All of our games are always in Game Pass." Matt Booty hammered this home by saying, "Game Pass will continue to only be available on Xbox platforms and will have all first-party games available on day one." Without a doubt, Xbox is committed to expanding Game Pass as a core pillar of its business. Judging by its 34 million current members, the Game Pass is working pretty well. With one of Activision Blizzard's flagship games, "Diablo 4," spearheading the company's entry into Game Pass, fans can definitely expect more quality titles coming down the pipeline in the near future.

Will Xbox (and Palworld) be on every screen?

Sources present at an internal Xbox meeting from earlier this week tell Inverse that Sarah Bond explained the future of the Xbox brand in one succinct sentence: "Every screen is an Xbox." In other words, Microsoft is aiming for a future in which the Xbox brand is not thought of as being limited to just its home consoles. As Phil Spencer pointed out in the recent podcast, Xbox is already on consoles, mobile devices, and PC, and the company doesn't plan to stop there.  In order to illustrate this concept of Xbox on every screen, "Palworld" was reportedly displayed on multiple screens in the meeting space, much to the surprise of multiple attendees.

With that in mind, it seems telling that Sarah Bond specifically mentioned "Palworld" as a recent example of a game that benefitted its creators by being on multiple platforms. "The things we do with our hardware and with our platform are all in service of making those games bigger," explained Bond, noting that the combination of a Game Pass and Steam release brought greater attention to Pocketpair and "Palworld." Clearly, "Palworld" is on Bond's mind in a big way.

Even though the main Xbox console line will remain a primary focus of the company, Bond explained that Microsoft wants to give developers and players as many options as possible. "Our developers can build to the specs of our hardware ... but they're also going to be able to be accessed across any screen, because of all the other investments we make." In other words, multiplatform diversity and the ability to access Xbox titles from any screen are major priorities for Microsoft. Players can expect this focus on diversity to be a decision-making factor for Xbox in 2024 and beyond.

New Xbox hardware on the horizon

One of the more tantalizing hints at Xbox's 2024 plans came near the end of the podcast, when Sarah Bond revealed that fans can expect some new hardware to arrive this coming holiday season. Bond stopped short of saying what this new hardware might be, but fans have some guesses. One candidate is the long-rumored Xbox Brooklin, a refresh of the Series X console that leaked during Microsoft's court case against the FCC. According to internal design documents, this upgraded (and all-digital) console would offer upgraded storage, stronger wi-fi, and a new and improved controller. Phil Spencer has previously implied that these documents might be outdated, so it's unclear if the Brooklin console is still in the works.

Others remain convinced that Xbox is finally about to get into the handheld console market. Multiple Xbox insiders have indicated that just such an announcement is imminent, and Phil Spencer recently added a bit of fuel to the fire by liking tweets mentioning Microsoft and handheld gaming. Of course, this is far from a confirmation, but releasing a portable console would definitely be an exciting way for Xbox to get a leg up on the holiday competition.

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