Xbox Head Phil Spencer admitted the fact that the Steam hit Baldur’s Gate 3 launched on PS5 first ahead of the Xbox Series X/S is not good for Microsoft.
In an interview with IGN, Spencer admits that Baldur’s Gate 3 launching first on PS5 is hurting Microsoft, but they remain committed to having games released on both Xbox consoles. The PS5 version already has a launch window while the Xbox Series X/S still does not have a date. It is unfortunate that it is running late on launching on their consoles, but it is actually not due to exclusivity.
Larian Studios revealed the reason that Baldur’s Gate 3 is still not playable on Xbox Series X/S is due to the company not able to get its two-player split-screen co-op running well enough on the Xbox Series S. It is the policy of Microsoft to make the game run on both Xbox Series consoles. So if it will not run on Series S, the game will not be launching on both.
This is actually also the reason why Halo Infinite devs had to scrap the planned split-screen feature because they were not able to make it run on both consoles. Forza Motorsport will also not have split-screen gameplay mode.
Since this has happened, is it finally time for Microsoft to remove this policy and let games run on Xbox Series X only? Here’s what Spencer said to IGN:
“The decision to do split-screen or not is a creative decision, a dev decision,” Spencer said. “So if we think about Forza, it has nothing to do with any kind of hardware thing on S and X, just where they wanted to focus their time.
“We obviously see the data in terms of how many people play local co-op for games. I love local co-op. Shout out to Vampire Survivors that just launched it. Fantastic. But there’s also just a, let’s go where the play is, in terms of where we’re going to focus our dev resources.
“In terms of the two platforms, I want games to launch on both platforms [X and S]. There are feature differences between the platforms. We have an ability to kind of handle that and how it works. Where teams are going to choose to focus their time and their effort is up to them. We’re here to support them and what they want to go do. We want to make sure that games when they’re launching on competitive platforms are also launching on Xbox.”
Spencer said that Microsoft is learning from this experience because “we don’t love that.” But I don’t think it’s something that’s a fatal flaw in the system. It’s partners prioritising their time, us listening and being a good partner to them. And you see some amazing games doing great work across S and X. Diablo looks great, Starfield looks great. Forza looks great across both. And I want to make sure console gaming is accessible to more people, and we think the price point of the console is a pretty important part of that.
“I will say that I think some of the discussion in the community has maybe not come from us or the devs. It’s been more the community building, well, this happened and then that happened and then so it must be about this. And I think we can do more to add clarity to actually where we are, and I look forward to doing that.”
On Baldur’s Gate 3, Spencer said that he is going to meet up with them at Gamescom 2023. They are going to discuss things to make the game work on Xbox, but he also wants to set some expectations for Xbox fans.
Baldur’s Gate 3 currently available on PC via Steam, PS5 launching in September 2023, while Xbox Series X/S is estimated to release later in 2023 or early 2024.