It’s obvious that Nintendo is a different company than it has been during previous console generations. Our favorite gaming company has been collaborating with game publishers, indie developers, and even other hardware manufacturers like Microsoft in order to create amazing experiences.
However, Microsoft recently announced it has no plans to bring more first-party exclusive Xbox titles to the Switch. Personally, I don’t believe this for a second. The relationship Microsoft and Nintendo have together is mutually beneficial, and both companies would be crazy to end it now.
What Nintendo (obviously) gains
It’s fairly obvious that Nintendo benefits quite a bit from this partnership. Banjo is finally going to be in Super Smash Bros. Critically-acclaimed games like Cuphead and Ori and the Blind Forest can now (or can soon) be played on the Switch as well. These things wouldn’t be possible without Microsoft’s collaboration, and Nintendo stands to gain quite a bit from them.
Games that were once exclusive to Xbox are now available on the Nintendo Switch. By sharing their games with Nintendo fans, Microsoft is taking away reasons for people to buy an Xbox One. No, I don’t think many are buying an Xbox just to play Cuphead, but you would never think that a company would willingly give up an exclusive to a supposed competitor.
Then there’s the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate collaboration. Fans have been asking for Banjo to appear in Smash for ages now, and it’s finally happening. This will undoubtedly get more players to buy Smash Bros. and its DLC Fighters Pass. But this all sounds like a perfect paradise for Nintendo. What exactly does Microsoft gain from all this?
Everything is Xbox
In another time, exclusives were kept on individual consoles because it was thought to increase sales. But if Microsoft gives Nintendo just a few of their exclusives, what is that doing for their business now? While Nintendo fans can play Ori on their Switch, what if they want to check out another Microsoft game that’s not on Switch next?
By drip-feeding exclusives to the Switch, Microsoft is giving Nintendo players a taste of what Xbox has to offer them. In offering a small portion of their library, Microsoft is proving that they can create and publish great games as well.
Now, the number of people actually doing this is probably a pretty small number. So what else could Microsoft be thinking? I think the company is trying to create a unified experience for Xbox players, and the Switch is their test dummy for this.
It’s been established for a while now that Microsoft’s current initiative is to let players experience Xbox anywhere, whether it’s on hardware they manufactured or somebody else’s. Ben Decker of Microsoft recently reaffirmed that the eventual goal is to have Game Pass available on everything. When you couple this with talks of Xbox Live coming to multiple platforms like the Switch, Microsoft’s end goal becomes very clear. Every piece of gaming hardware in the future could double as an Xbox system, and Nintendo may be the first to test this.
Lastly, one more obvious benefit of Microsoft putting its exclusives on Switch is that it generates revenue off of gamers who never would have bought an Xbox and can’t or don’t want to play the games on PC. It exploits another revenue stream.
So are we really through seeing Xbox games on Switch? I highly doubt it. Both companies have too much to gain from this partnership, and it would be crazy for it to end now. Granted, this is all conjecture. I have no idea what Microsoft’s end goal really is, but I could see this benefiting them greatly in the long run.
What do you all think? Do you think this is a realistic future for Microsoft and Nintendo’s relationship? Do you expect to see more Xbox games on Switch? Let us know in the comments!