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Ctrl+Alt+Del: I can’t quit PlayStation – Steam on Xbox won’t change that

OPINION: I’ve been a “PlayStation gamer” since around halfway through the PS3 and Xbox 360 generation when I decided to ditch my 360 for Sony’s offering. But, like many I suspect, I’m questioning the value that the PlayStation 5 offers. I don’t know what may finally make me switch, but it won’t be Steam coming to Xbox.

To varying levels, it feels like I’ve spent the last year or so pondering if it’s time to switch from PlayStation to Xbox. I’m in the enviable position of having an Xbox Series S alongside my PlayStation 5 already but I’ve begun spending more and more time with the former. But, I can’t seem to go all in. PlayStation still has me on the hook for the promise of future exclusives but with so few blockbusters coming in the near future, it feels like my exit is imminent.

The musings of Xbox boss Phil Spencer around a month ago (via Polygon) may move many others in my position even further towards his console brand, but it isn’t the final nail in Sony’s coffin for me.

Steam and Epic Games Store coming to Xbox would be a gamechanger

Towards the end of April, Phil Spencer continued with his musings regarding an ever more open Xbox experience. He’s now spent years talking about the “Xbox Anywhere” strategy and it’s been intriguing to see it grow, with speculation of Game Pass landing on different platforms, game streaming expanding and, even, the announcement that some games would be headed to Nintendo Switch and PlayStation.

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So far though, it has felt like the strategy is more about putting Xbox anywhere rather than such an openness being reciprocated. However, Spencer has indicated he’d be open to other game stores, such as the Epic Game Store, coming to the Xbox console. It’s a move that would have huge ramifications and it’s not immediately clear how it would work in practice.

Starfield combat
Starfield (Xbox exclusive)

Nevertheless, this could be huge for solidifying Xbox’s approach to simply being happy to have players within its ecosystem in some way, whether that being Xbox Game Pass members or just using their console. If you’re on the Xbox, even if you’re playing your Steam games, the company will likely be happy in the knowledge that you’ve bought their console and will likely spend other money with them in the long run too.

But, looking at it from a consumer point-of-view, it’s not a move that would tempt PlayStation-exclusive fans like me to make the jump.

A bad run of exclusives would spell danger for PlayStation

For many, you may think the console wars are over but my view is that Xbox is just playing 4D chess. Instead of going blow for blow with Sony, it’s aiming to undermine its key selling point, by talking about breaking down barriers i.e. exclusives (via Polygon).

In previous years, PlayStation has absolutely crushed it, with excellent exclusives like the God of War, The Last of Us and Marvel’s Spider-Man series. However, as games become more expensive to make and take longer to do so, the economic reality of that is clearly becoming a challenge (via Forbes). As such, things are lining up well for Xbox’s new strategy of being more open. It wants subscribers for its Xbox platform not just buyers of its Xbox consoles and exclusives.

PS5 (Slim)
PS5 (Slim) – Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

But, it’s those exclusives that are keeping me hanging onto my PS5 by a thread. I still feel like I can’t ditch Sony knowing that I’ll miss out on those experiences if I decided to go big and trade in my current console for an Xbox Series X.

Xbox has certainly drawn me in with its Game Pass offerings, streaming capabilities and its PC options too. It serves as a constant reminder that PlayStation is lagging across the board in this area and it’s lacked any serious innovation on this side of things for some time.

Its recent push into accessories felt more like a transparent way of squeezing more out of its players with the promise of enhanced experience but… for what games? Don’t get me wrong, PS Plus isn’t a baron wasteland but it can’t compete with Xbox Game Pass in terms of breadth and the lack of a true streaming solution remains a stark shortcoming.

PlayStation Portal Hero
PlayStation Portal – Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

If the economic viability of exclusives is becoming unsustainable then Sony needs to get its act together and fast, especially if Xbox continues to pack its platform with such an inviting range of freedom – like if Steam, Epic Games Store and more did debut there.

The current expected slate of exclusives for the next year or so for the PlayStation 5 looks rather bleak, with Marvel’s Wolverine being the only big IP that grabs my particular interest. An open Xbox might not be enough to push me away from PlayStation but a dwindling set of exclusives just might.

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