Following Obsidian Entertainment's acquisition by Microsoft, future games in the studio's soon-to-be The Outer Worlds franchise could end up releasing exclusively on Xbox platforms. Microsoft acquired Obsidian Entertainment, developer of games like Fallout: New Vegas, Pillars of Eternity and South Park: The Fractured But Whole, in late 2018.
Microsoft began acquiring studio after studio last year when it announced at E3 2018 that it acquired five developers to bolster its first-party lineup in an effort to address the Xbox One's lack of quality exclusives in its next-generation console successor. Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice developer Ninja Theory, State of Decay 2 developer Undead Labs, Forza Horizon developer Playground Games, We Happy Few's Compultion Games, and new studio The Initiative all joined the company that summer. Along with Obsidian, Microsoft acquired inXile Entertainment, known for titles such as The Bard's Tale and Wasteland 3. Finally, Microsoft announced at E3 2019 that Double Fine Productions joined Xbox Game Studios, bringing the famously odd indie studio into its first-party portfolio. As with Double Fine's Psychonauts 2, The Outer Worlds is still launching on non-Microsoft platforms when it releases on October 25, but the future of the game's potential (inevitable?) sequels isn't so clear.
In an interview with Game Informer, Xbox Game Studios corporate vice president Matt Booty seemed to indicate The Outer Worlds 2 or any such followups could be Xbox-exclusive titles. When asked if studios like Double Fine would be allowed to keep publishing multiplatform games if they wished, Booty seemed open to the idea, but said those decisions would be made depending on what made sense for each franchise. If a game benefits from the "network effect" of being on multiple platforms, Booty said, Microsoft would keep it that way.
That's why Minecraft has remained on many platforms and will continue to release on more, despite being a Microsoft-owned property. But when asked if a sequel to The Outer Worlds could be a "big Microsoft exclusive," Booty said, "Yeah, I think that'd be that kind of game." He explained he feels that, because of its potential for a rich universe of characters and narratives, The Outer Worlds could become an "enduring franchise" that Microsoft's resources could help grow, akin to something like the Halo series.
The possibility of The Outer Worlds Xbox exclusivity isn't exactly surprising. After all, why would Microsoft be acquiring so many developers if it didn't plan for some of them to create exclusive games for their upcoming hardware (Xbox Scarlett) coming in 2020 and Project xCloud? Xbox has long lagged behind the PlayStation brand when it comes to first-party exclusives. Maybe the addition of a compelling Fallout-like exclusive such as The Outer Worlds could help the company make up some much needed ground in the long-term.
Source: Game Informer