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Microsoft bosses reportedly pushing for no “red line” around which Xbox games launch on PlayStation

A fresh report into the inner workings of Microsoft and the influence of its top boss Satya Nadella has shed new light on the pressure for Xbox to release more of its games on rival platforms in a bid to boost profits.

Windows Central states that the plan to launch more Xbox games on PlayStation and Nintendo consoles, an operation dubbed “Latitude”, has sparked “debate and unease” within the company at whether the move makes sense.

Publicly, Xbox has suggested it is testing the waters with the four games launched so far – multiplatform titles that could benefit from more players, like Sea of Thieves and Grounded, as well as smaller titles that have already reached the majority of their likely audience on Xbox, like Hi-Fi Rush and Pentiment.

But, privately, Microsoft is reportedly pushing for no “red line” at all around which games Xbox will eventually launch on PlayStation and Nintendo platforms, in a bid to increase margins.

Eurogamer understands numerous other games are under consideration, including titles in the company’s largest franchises.

Newscast: Is the closure of Hi-Fi Rush and Redfall’s studios a sign the Xbox Game Pass publishing model is failing?Watch on YouTube

It’s been a tough time for the wider games industry and Xbox in particular, with falling console sales and another generation stuck way behind Sony, layoffs and game launches that haven’t set tills ringing.

Last year’s $68.7bn buyout of Activision Blizzard was a huge bet that helped keep Xbox in profit, but also feels like it contributed to the cull of smaller Bethesda projects and multiple studios last week in order to better balance the books – or as Xbox studios boss Matt Booty put it, ensure a “reprioritisation of titles and resources” to focus on “priority games“.

“Put simply, Xbox bet an obscene amount of money on a future that hasn’t happened,” Chris Dring wrote last week, describing why Xbox believes it must cut costs now. “The market has shifted under its feet and it’s having to alter direction. And some of its teams are having to pay the price.”

Making games multiplatform is another move to boost profits, and should not be a surprising move following Nadella’s past comment that he had “no love” for console exclusives. In the short-term, it has unsurprisingly found some financial success. But at what cost?

“The philosophy of a great video game platform holder is that it makes money in order to make more consoles and more games. The philosophy of Microsoft – and by dint of that, Xbox – is evidently that it only makes consoles and games in order to make money,” Eurogamer’s Chris Tapsell wrote last week. “Like so many businesses owned by gigantic, publicly-traded mega-companies, Xbox is now stuck in a cycle of thinking back-to-front. It, and I suspect much of the video game world, no longer knows why it exists.”

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