Last week, Twitter was buzzing recently with the hashtag #NoXbox, after the announcement that Oxenfree II would be released on most major platforms except Xbox.
The sequel to the 2016 indie classic, Oxenfree, will be available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Steam, and even Netflix on July 12th, 2023. However, as of now, there is no sign of an Xbox version in the works.
This news has raised some eyebrows as the first game was even part of Xbox Game Pass in the past. Oxenfree developer Night School Studios was acquired by Netflix in 2021, and while the sequel may eventually hit Xbox, the omission of an Xbox release at launch is a cause for concern for some gamers.
Square Enix seems to be avoiding Xbox like the plague, and rumors suggest that there has been a falling out between the two. Microsoft revealed that Square Enix RPG juggernaut Final Fantasy XVI will not be releasing on Xbox due to exclusivity agreements with Sony. This, along with other recent examples of publishers skipping Xbox for their games, has led to the phrase "No Xbox" trending on Twitter.
While the Oxenfree 2 news is not a good look for Xbox, there were still lots of great reveals for the platform last night. Indie developers skipping Xbox initially makes sense as they have a smaller install base, and most users consume content through services like Game Pass. Releasing on Xbox later on for extra cash, and maybe even directly to Game Pass, is a sound business move. However, Microsoft may have created a problem for themselves with their focus on Game Pass. Some developers may not feel it is worth releasing a game on Xbox if they can't or don't want to release it on Game Pass for various reasons.
Overall, this situation is likely to generate quite a discussion among gamers. While some believe that Xbox's focus on Game Pass may be driving away indie developers, others argue that it's a sound business strategy. Regardless, it will be interesting to see whether Oxenfree II eventually makes its way to Xbox, and if Square Enix changes its stance on the platform.