Microsoft Isn’t Saying Whether Xbox One Will Keep ‘Battlegrounds’ Off PS4 For Good – Forbes
There wasn’t too much news made during Microsoft’s Gamescom press event yesterday, some new trailers for old games and a few debuts like what appears to be a Jurassic Park RTS from the creators of Elite: Dangerous.
But one game was focused on somewhat significantly, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, which has been a massive hit on PC, and a game Microsoft has previously announced is coming to Xbox One for its console debut. What was announced at Gamescom was that Microsoft would in fact be acting as the publisher for the Xbox One release, which is a new level of involvement and investment.
What remains a mystery in the wake of this announcement is if this “console exclusivity” deal is a timed one, meaning PUBG could come to PS4 eventually, or if it’s permanent, meaning it never will, and Xbox One will be the only console home of the game.
Neither Microsoft nor Bluehole, the publisher of Battlegrounds, seems eager to make this clear. This is Microsoft’s official statement when pressed for clarification:
“As we announced at E3, “PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS” will be a console launch exclusive on Xbox One and right now, the development team is solely focused on bringing the best game possible on Xbox One and PC. We have nothing further to announce at this time.”
And a Bluehole rep told IGN’s Destin Legarie, “This partnership is about allowing our dev team to solely focus on Xbox & PC development and bring PUBG to Xbox players faster,” and implied that Microsoft would not act as publisher for any other console release, should that ever happen. Not that it’s confirmed that is happening.
Is this confusing? Absolutely, and brings to mind the murky deal that Microsoft made to be the “exclusive” home to Rise of the Tomb Raider, where it acted as publisher, but it turned out the deal was timed, and the Tomb Raider sequel did eventually make it PlayStation a year later.
My guess is that a similar situation is happening here with PUBG. Both Bluehole and Microsoft are dancing around the issue because they simply don’t even want to entertain the idea of PUBG on PS4 mere hours after this was showcased at an Xbox Gamescom event. It is possible that Microsoft may still be in negotiations and the deal about being timed or permanent isn’t finalized, but I’d be shocked if Microsoft was going to shell out the amount of cash it would likely take to make this partnership permanently exclusive.
Logic would dictate that Microsoft and Bluehole will continue dodging these questions as long as they possible can until finally it turns out that yes, this is a timed exclusivity deal. Unless Microsoft is acquiring Bluehole outright, it’s hard to imagine PUBG not making it to the massive install base of PS4 at some point. But even if Microsoft did acquire Bluehole, that could turn into a Mojang/Minecraft situation where they license the game for use on other consoles regardless. In short, one way or another, my guess is that PUBG will make its way to PS4 eventually, but probably not for a year, at minimum.
I’m still not sure how I feel about Microsoft doing these odd partnership deals for timed exclusive console content. I suppose it’s a band-aid for their own lack of exclusives, but it’s a temporary solution, not a permanent fix. Paying to keep a title off another platform requires less effort than making your own, I suppose, but it’s a weird game to play and even weirder how uncomfortable everyone seems to be talking about it.