Feb 18, 2024 5 min read

#38: Xbox goes unexclusive

In today's overkill digest newsletter, we talk about Microsoft's plans for Xbox, the delayed Nintendo Switch 2, and more.

#38: Xbox goes unexclusive

In today's overkill digest newsletter, we talk about Microsoft's plans for Xbox, the delayed Nintendo Switch 2, and more.

Hi, hello, and welcome to a new edition of the overkill digest newsletter, your go-to read for everything handheld gaming (and then some).

As announced in last week's digest, this week we finally learned (kind of) what Xbox is planning, there have been new rumours regarding the Switch successor, and there's one day left in the latest Steam Sale.

So, let's get to it!

Big this week

  • Microsoft is bringing four games to other platforms. During an Xbox podcast episode, Xbox CEO Phil Spencer announced a few things: Xbox will bring four games to PlayStation and Switch, Xbox is working on their next-generation console (and not leaving the console space), Microsoft needs to make Windows on handhelds better (and there might or might not be an Xbox handheld planned), and Xbox Game Pass will only be available on Xbox (and PC). Let's get through each of the major announcements:
    • While Spencer didn't announce which games are coming to competing platforms, Tom Warren of The Verge got the list: Hi-Fi Rush, Pentiment, Sea of Thieves, and Grounded. No game here seems like a big surprise – these are games that feel at home on something like the Switch. But what about Starfield and Indiana Jones, two games rumoured to go to other platforms? While Spencer had nothing to announce, he also said: "I don't think we should as an industry ever rule out a game going to any other platform." So, maybe?
    • We're nearly four years into this console generation, so it seems logical that Xbox is thinking about what's next. And Spencer assured us that Xbox wasn't done making consoles. Coincidentally, we also heard from Sony this week that the PlayStation is approaching the "latter stage of its life cycle", and therefore, the Japanese company revised its initial sales forecast (though this might also be linked to the much-rumoured PS5 Pro, expected to launch this year) and announced there would be no new major franchise releases for this year.
    • In an exclusive interview with The Verge, Spencer said the following regarding Windows on handhelds: "We do have real work. One of the weak points in the experience on a ROG or the Lenovo [Legion Go] is Windows. How Windows works on controller input only on that kind of DPI, on a smaller eight- or seven-inch screen. That's a real design point that our platform team is working with Windows to make sure that the experience is even better." I agree. Even though I currently prefer the ASUS ROG Ally to the Steam Deck, thanks to Game Pass, navigating Windows on a handheld is a mess. We are in high need of an ‘Xboxified’ version of Windows. Also, in response to whether Xbox is working on their own Xbox Portable, Spencer had "nothing to announce".
  • The Nintendo Switch 2 is now launching in 2025. There has been much talk about Nintendo's successor to the Nintendo Switch. Initially expected to launch this year, earlier this week, rumours have been going around that Nintendo decided to postpone the new console. Different publications (one, two) have later confirmed this rumour, and the new expected release date is in Q1 2025 — which is still part of Nintendo's 2024 fiscal year, so that date makes a lot of sense. If we follow the Nintendo Switch game plan, I expect the announcement to occur around October, and the console will be available in March.

  • The best games under $10 in the "Steam Remote Play Together Fest". There's one more day left in the current Steam Sale, and as usual, Chris sat down to find the best deals under $10 that are all great on Steam Deck.
  • The best Steam Deck alternatives in early 2024. We're in 2024, and since we last published this list, many new handhelds have been released and announced. So, if you are looking for something a little different, I hope this list covers your needs.
  • How to play Nintendo Switch games on ASUS ROG Ally. Earlier, I mentioned I prefer the ROG Ally to the Steam Deck because of Game Pass. Another reason is Nintendo Switch emulation, as the ROG Ally has more powerful hardware.
  • Early benchmark leaks put the ROG Ally on top against the MSI Claw. Different Chinese publications have seemingly gotten their hands on the upcoming MSI Claw and benchmarked the handheld. And compared to the Z1 Extreme in the ROG Ally (and Lenovo Legion GO), the Intel Core Ultra 7 155H (what a mouthful) in the Claw underperforms their AMD counterpart at 15W, 20W, 25W and at max TDP (30W for the Z1 Extreme vs 40W for the 155H). Naturally, take these benchmarks with a grain of salt, especially since we can't say if the tested devices are early engineering samples. But if the benchmarks check out, it'll be very disappointing.
  • Epic Games Store is coming to iOS in the EU. Thanks to the new changes to iOS 17.4, courtesy of the EU's DMA, Epic announced they will bring the Epic Games Store to the iPhone later this year.
  • The Baldur's Gate 3 Patch #6 is live. The changelog includes the following highlights:
    • All characters now have unique kisses that reflect their personality, with an emphasis on the plural.
    • Whilst exploring your campsite, you'll notice new idle animations for some of your companions. 
    • You can now dismiss a recruited companion from your party while speaking to the companion you want to replace them with.
  • The Embracer Group cancelled nearly 30 games. Multiple layoffs across several companies, Saints Row developer Volition shut down, a new Deus Ex game cancelled, and Borderlands developer Gearbox Software (apparently) up for sale. Can we all agree that The Embracer Group has the title of the worst company in gaming?
  • No Man's Sky Omega update is live. We have to give it to Hello Games: so far, they have released over 25 major updates (for free) for a game released eight years ago.
  • The Playdate is now in stock. The Playdate is a very peculiar handheld, and after shipping 70,000 pre-orders (!!!), you can now finally get the device directly from the Playdate store. If you are into retro-inspired games and beautiful hardware, this one's for you.

OK, that's all. Thanks for reading.

See you next week!


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