Xbox boss Phil Spencer has criticised PlayStation’s PC release strategy in a rare dig at the rival platform holder.

Speaking during a briefing for media and analysts this week, the exec criticised “others” who bring console games to PC, stating that they were releasing PC versions “years later” and “charging [players] a second time”.

For several years Microsoft has released its Xbox Games Studios titles simultaneously on PC and console platforms.

In comparison, Sony released its first PC port, Horizon Zero Dawn, in 2020 – over three years after the game’s PS4 debut – and the company has said it will prioritise consoles for its game releases going forwards.

“So right now, we are the only platform shipping games on console, PC and cloud simultaneously,” Spencer said in a video presentation.

Xbox’s Phil Spencer criticises PlayStation’s PC strategy for being ‘late’ and ‘charging twice’
Xbox’s Phil Spencer has criticised PlayStation’s PC strategy.

“Others bring console games to PC years later, not only making people buy their hardware up front, but then charging them a second time to play on PC. And of course, all of our games are in our subscription service day one, full cross-platform included.”

Spencer added: “We have a huge growth opportunity on PC. We expanded to simultaneously shipping our first-party games on both console and PC. And last year we more than doubled our first-party retail games sales on PC. And we’re also one of the biggest third-party publishers on Steam.

“Looking forward, we see continued growth on PC next year though another amazing slate of Xbox Game Studios games and Bethesda games coming to PC, while at the same time, Game Pass on PC will be a critical part of our Windows gaming strategy.

“And with cloud gaming, we now have the ability to bring these great AAA-quality games to the hundreds of millions of below-spec Windows PCs that to date haven’t been able to play the hit games that everybody sees.”

PlayStation has recently stated its commitment to increasing its output on PC. In a corporate report published last summer, Sony first said it would explore bringing more PlayStation exclusives to PC, following Horizon Zero Dawn’s release on the platform.

However, currently Days Gone, Predator: Hunting Grounds and Helldivers are the only other PlayStation PC titles available for purchase on Steam, while Uncharted 4 – another title released on console several years ago – is also expected to arrive in the near future.

Xbox’s Phil Spencer criticises PlayStation’s PC strategy for being ‘late’ and ‘charging twice’

Speaking in a PlayStation Blog interview published this month, PlayStation Studios head Herman Hulst said the platform holder was “still early on in our planning for PC” but that its PlayStation consoles would always be the priority for new releases.

“Horizon Zero Dawn has been very successful [on PC],” he said. “I think it shows there’s an appetite from gamers outside the PlayStation ecosystem to experience the amazing portfolio of games that PlayStation fans have enjoyed for years.

“But I want to emphasize that PlayStation will remain the best place to play our PlayStation Studios titles at launch. But we do value PC gamers, and we’ll continue to look at the right times to launch each game. Bend Studio just released the PC version of Days Gone on May 18. So that’s about two years after the PS4 release.

“And I hope that a new set of fans can and will enjoy that title. And that’s the goal — we want to reach new gamers who haven’t yet experienced the great stories, characters, and worlds that we’ve built. Releasing games on PC will not come ever at the expense of building an exciting lineup of great console games.”