Microsoft's Xbox has taken over Sony's PlayStation Store 🤯


What you need to know

  • Microsoft Gaming is a new entity within Microsoft under which Bethesda, Activision-Blizzard, and Xbox all sit.

  • The division is bigger than Windows itself as of last quarter, owing to the acquisition of Activision-Blizzard, and continued growth of mega-franchises like Fallout, Minecraft, and Overwatch.

  • To that end, Microsoft's massive gaming investments have seen it become one of, if not the biggest publisher on arch console rival PlayStation itself.

Nobody saw this coming ten years ago.

Spotted by Derek Strickland over at TweakTown, it seems that Microsoft's Xbox platform has effectively taken over its arch console rival's storefront, owing to its absolutely massive content investment strategy.

Microsoft purchased Activision-Blizzard, in a deal finalized last year. The deal was worth well over $70 billion once closed, and gave Microsoft control over Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and various other billion-dollar franchises. Microsoft also now owns Bethesda, who recently launched hit TV show Fallout in partnership with Amazon. It owns Minecraft, which remains one of, if not the biggest game in the world. Microsoft also owns the greatest game of all time, DOOM, which can run on literally anything. Okay, you get the point.

In any case, Microsoft has focused its efforts on its key strengths, notably software and throwing money around. And to that end, it has effectively become one of, if not the biggest player on PlayStation, in a stunning turn around nobody would have foreseen ten years ago.

In analysis from Strickland, seven of the top 20 most-purchased games on PlayStation as of right now are all Microsoft-owned franchises. Call of Duty sits at the top as you might expect, followed by, Overwatch 2, Sea of Thieves, Fallout 4, Minecraft, Fallout 76, and Grounded.

Fallout 4 and Fallout 76 are enjoying a massive bump from the hit TV series that just hit Amazon Prime. Sea of Thieves is launching on PlayStation for the first time after casting off its console-exclusive shackles. Overwatch 2 just got a new season, with some much-needed changes. And, well, Call of Duty and Minecraft are just Call of Duty and Minecraft.

It represents a bold new world for Microsoft, where the price of ballooning costs and runaway inflation and sticky silicon prices have seen it break traditions in order to find more growth. None of this means it's getting out of developing its own hardware mind, since Microsoft learned the hard way with Windows Phone what happens when you completely remove yourself from the platform equation. Indeed, Microsoft confirmed repeatedly over the last year that it is working on new Xbox hardware to compete with PlayStation, which will now, at least in part, be subsidized by selling games on PlayStation's own store.

The gaming landscape is changing

Fallout New Vegas running on Steam Deck
Fallout New Vegas running on Steam Deck

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When Valve bore the Steam Deck into the world, it was perhaps with some irony that it came with both "exclusive" titles from Xbox and PlayStation both. The "console exclusive" Sea of Thieves was running side by side against the "console exclusive" God of War on the Steam Deck, which in some ways, renders the whole console war redundant. Indeed, Microsoft has been teasing its intent to open up Xbox itself to similar policies, allowing competing stores onto the Xbox platform in much the same way the Steam Deck can run and the Genshin Impact launcher if you're willing to do some tweaking.

Increasingly, as margins in console gaming get squeezed by mobile and PC gaming, closed platform holders are rethinking their approaches — particularly given the unfavorable regulatory landscape across the U.S. and EU, as both regions battle Apple to open up its platform to competitors. It seems Microsoft is ahead of the curve here in some respects. Will we eventually see PlayStation games running on Xbox console hardware via Steam some day? Maybe not, but honestly, crazier things are happening in gaming right now.