Xbox Game Pass on Switch: Why isn't it happening?

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Xbox games on a Nintendo Switch. It's a pretty out-there concept. But it's one that would offer gamers the best of both worlds and open up a bunch of crossplay opportunities.

So when Xbox chief Phil Spencer stoked rumours of that concept becoming reality, fans started to get excited.

Unfortunately, Spencer himself has recently quashed said rumours. Talk about giving with one hand and taking away with the other.

In an interview with Giant Bomb at E3 2019, Spencer refused to rule out the possibility of the Xbox Game Pass subscription service making its way to the Switch at some point. “I have said, over time, I'd like to take Game Pass everywhere,” he teased.

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However, Spencer also conceded that the process would not be quick or easy, and that the focus for Game Pass would be on mobile devices “in the near-term”. 

“I love the role that Nintendo plays in the industry… [and] I think the Switch is a really cool platform for [on-the-go gaming],” he said. “But that platform is different enough from an Xbox platform that it's not trivial for us just to say, 'OK, all those games would run there.'”

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Fans took that to mean that Microsoft was at least open to working with Nintendo, even if it wouldn’t be any time soon. The release of Xbox Game Studios’ Minecraft Dungeons on the Switch, and the inclusion of Microsoft-owned characters Banjo and Kazooie in Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros Ultimate, also hinted at a blossoming relationship between the two companies.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about Project xCloud

Why isn't Xbox on Switch happening?

So, why the change of heart? Well, in a recent interview with German website GamePro, Spencer suggested that rival gaming platforms “aren't really that interested in having a full Xbox experience on their hardware.”

Spencer went on to explain that his team would “not be able to bring a full Xbox experience” to the Switch. Instead, he’s focusing on PC and mobile platforms, where the full Xbox experience is possible. This includes Xbox Live, Game Pass, and “complete” access to your achievements and “first-party” games library.

Perhaps playing Xbox games on your Switch was too ‘out-there’ a concept after all. Which, in the competitive world of gaming where console wars are fought regularly, isn’t all that surprising.

READ MORE: The full list of confirmed games for Xbox Series X