Xbox head Phil Spencer wants to see Epic Games Store, Steam, and other storefronts on consoles

Microsoft might be looking into letting additional storefronts like the Epic Games Store or Steam on Xbox consoles, which is a strange idea.

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Xbox head Phil Spencer has been vocal about opening up the traditional walled gardens associated with videogames, from exclusives to storefronts to platforms. This is reflected by recent Xbox actions, which have seen previously exclusive first-party releases like Sea of Thieves, Grounded, and Hi-Fi Rush make their way to platforms like PlayStation 5 and Nintendo Switch.

Xbox head Phil Spencer wants to see Epic Games Store, Steam, and other storefronts on consoles 02

In the same Polygon interview where Phil Spencer hinted at more exclusives making their way to other platforms, he agreed to a radical idea for Xbox consoles: opening up the platform to additional storefronts like the Epic Games Store, Itch.io, and Steam. This would mean more than an open place to buy a game on a console, presenting a major shift for Xbox as a brand.

"[Consider] our history as the Windows company." Phil Spencer said. "Nobody would blink twice if I said, 'Hey when you're using a PC, you get to decide the type of experience you have [by picking where to buy games]. There's real value in that."

Console gamers have grown accustomed to the walled-gardened ecosystems that began with the early Nintendo and Sega consoles from the 1980s and 1990s. These ecosystems translated to digital markets and storefronts entirely controlled by either Sony, Microsoft, or Nintendo.

So, as strange as something like Steam on Xbox Series X sounds (interestingly, Polygon only name-checked Epic Games Store and Itch.io in its question), it's a great idea because it adds competition and more choice. The downside might be that Xbox would lose some of its identity as a games console, but Microsoft has slowly been shifting its identity with Game Pass and releasing everything day and date on PC for several years now.

It all stems from the idea that the console market as a whole isn't growing, unlike PC, where players have the freedom to pick and choose what platform to play on - on top of being in direct control over their hardware.

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NEWS SOURCE:polygon.com

Kosta is a veteran gaming journalist that cut his teeth on well-respected Aussie publications like PC PowerPlay and HYPER back when articles were printed on paper. A lifelong gamer since the 8-bit Nintendo era, it was the CD-ROM-powered 90s that cemented his love for all things games and technology. From point-and-click adventure games to RTS games with full-motion video cut-scenes and FPS titles referred to as Doom clones. Genres he still loves to this day. Kosta is also a musician, releasing dreamy electronic jams under the name Kbit.

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