Sea of Thieves coming to PlayStation makes a lot of sense

Reports indicate that Xbox management has thought about bringing games like Sea of Thieves to PlayStation, and this business plan makes a lot of sense.

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More popular first-party Xbox games could launch on competing platforms like the Nintendo Switch and Sony PlayStation. This move is consistent with the core Xbox business model and makes a lot of sense.

Sea of Thieves coming to PlayStation makes a lot of sense 2

Unlike PlayStation and Nintendo, Xbox has marched to the beat of a different drum. Since unifying PCs and Xbox consoles in 2015 via the Windows OS, Microsoft has broken the chains of content exclusivity and released its games on both platforms. This strategy was accelerated greatly with the introduction of Xbox Game Pass in 2017, which brought hundreds of games to both Xbox and Windows PCs.

Microsoft's game plan has done nothing but evolve over time. The company still emphasizes exclusive content--Starfield, for instance, was kept off PlayStation--but the core of the Xbox brand is a wide ecosystem of products, content, and services that bridges all consoles and gaming platforms. Xbox wants to deliver spending opportunities to all consumer endpoints, whether it's Xbox consoles, competing systems like the Nintendo Switch and Sony PlayStation, the cloud, mobile devices, and PC.

Some of Xbox's top-played franchises and games prominently feature online play, in-game purchases, and cross-platform access. Photo credit: Klobrille.

Some of Xbox's top-played franchises and games prominently feature online play, in-game purchases, and cross-platform access. Photo credit: Klobrille.

Some of Xbox's biggest games are online-driven multi-platform titles, including the mega-successful Minecraft (over 300 million copies sold) as well as other service-oriented games like Fallout 76 and The Elder Scrolls Online from ZeniMax.

That goes double when we start to include Activision-Blizzard games. Franchises like Call of Duty, Diablo, World of Warcraft, Overwatch, and Candy Crush all synergize incredibly well with Xbox's cross-platform focus.

Other online games like Rare's Sea of Thieves and Obsidian's Grounded are also very popular, attracting millions of users (and millions of dollars of spending) every month.

Now that we've caught up with current Xbox trends, let's talk about recent reports of Xbox breaking exclusivity for some games and why that makes sense.

Sea of Thieves coming to PlayStation makes a lot of sense 2024

Reports indicate Microsoft could bring Sea of Thieves to PlayStation and the Nintendo Switch. Sources have told Giant Bomb's Jeff Grubb and GameFile's Stephen Totilo that Microsoft was mulling over the idea of offering Sea of Thieves to these platforms. Sea of Thieves recently broken over 30 million players, and is one of Xbox's illustrious 10 games with over 10 million players each.

The goal is pretty clear: Microsoft, a company that emphasizes wide reach across multiple consumer endpoints via content and services, wants to bring one of its most-played games to rival platforms in an effort to drive up full game purchases, in-game spending, and overall player counts.

The report has proven to be controversial among Xbox faithful, and for good reason: These gamers have poured passion and money into the Xbox ecosystem and do not desire to see Xbox go "third-party."

The Xbox ecosystem goes well beyond Xbox consoles, leveraging rival platforms along the way.

The Xbox ecosystem goes well beyond Xbox consoles, leveraging rival platforms along the way.

However, the reality is that Xbox has been "third-party" for a long time, at least where it counts. Sure, games like Grounded and Sea of Thieves have remained firmly off of competing platforms, but some of Xbox's top online games are indeed multi-platform.

Xbox's pre-Activision revenues reflect multi-platform partnerships and deals, service-first models, and balanced exclusivity.

Xbox's pre-Activision revenues reflect multi-platform partnerships and deals, service-first models, and balanced exclusivity.

The advantages of such a plan are also evident for those involved. Sony and Nintendo would benefit from a percentage cut of all Sea of Thieves revenues, including full-game and in-game purchases, not to mention a potential uptick in active users through online services. Microsoft already has mutually advantageous deals in place with Nintendo and Sony over Minecraft, with the multi-year publishing deals contributing billions of dollars in revenues for the Xbox brand over the years.

Adding Sea of Thieves to that list may ruffle a few feathers among fans, but ultimately it makes good business sense, assuming Obsidian can keep up with the content delivery and that Microsoft can broker fair deals that introduce more revenue into the Xbox division.

Xbox operates under a hybridized model that sees a mixture of exclusivity and widespread availability. Maintaining this balance is key for Xbox's future, however in this particular case, Sea of Thieves coming to PlayStation and Switch will likely only benefit the core business, Microsoft's continued partnership deals, and players in the long run.

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Derek joined the TweakTown team in 2015 and has since reviewed and played 1000s of hours of new games. Derek is absorbed with the intersection of technology and gaming, and is always looking forward to new advancements. With over six years in games journalism under his belt, Derek aims to further engage the gaming sector while taking a peek under the tech that powers it. He hopes to one day explore the stars in No Man's Sky with the magic of VR.

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