Microsoft confirms not all Xbox Series X games shown this week will be on Xbox One

(Image credit: Rare)

Following up on mixed messaging at the Xbox Games Showcase, Xbox games marketing general manager Aaron Greenberg has now confirmed that not all early first-party Xbox games will come to both Xbox Series X and Xbox One. 

Cross-generation availability has been a cornerstone of Xbox's next-gen strategy, with backwards compatibility and Smart Delivery forming the base of its plans. Earlier this year, Xbox Game Studios head Matt Booty assured players that "over the next year, two years, all of our games … will play and up down that family of devices." Other Xbox executives, including Xbox chief Phil Spencer, supported this messaging in more recent interviews and statements.

It was somewhat surprising, then, that multiple Xbox Series X games announced in yesterday's showcase were not listed for Xbox One - or were in some in places but not in others. For  example, Avowed, a new first-person fantasy RPG from Obsidian set in the world of Pillars of Eternity, was described as an Xbox Series X exclusive "built from the ground up" to take advantage of the console. However, as US Gamer spotted, Avowed was initially listed for Xbox One on its Xbox web page (which has since been updated). The same is true for Rare's stunning animal adventure Everwild

According to Greenberg, "future [first-party] titles are developed for Xbox Series X first. Not saying those games won't ship on Xbox One, only that we are leading with Series X and each studio will decide what's best for their game/community when they launch." Greenberg also noted that Xbox One would be removed from the list of platforms for both Avowed and Everwild. 

Greenberg's comments don't necessarily conflict with Booty's remarks on early Xbox Series X releases in that these games – and several others listed for Xbox Series X, like the new Forza Motorsport – may not be released until the console is nearing its third year, after the two-year period of "up and down" availability that Booty described. 

However, the confusion and qualifiers surrounding many of the games from the latest Xbox Games Showcase does suggest that Microsoft's messaging around the next two years of Xbox exclusivity has been softened. It's clear that there will be first-party games which are only available on Xbox Series X and PC, including frontrunners like Senua's Sage: Hellblade 2, which is expected to release within a year or two of the console.

Speaking of cross-gen support: Microsoft is reportedly telling developers that Xbox Series X upgrades of Xbox One games must be free.

Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a staff writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature.