Two ships in a storm in Sea of Thieves.
Image via Rare

Xbox players have unwittingly told Microsoft which exclusive it should port to PS5

One exclusive's recent successes make it a prime candidate.

Rumors hint at 2024 being the dawn of a strategy shift for Microsoft, one where Xbox exclusives coming to platforms like the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 5 looks all the more likely. Within that conversation is Sea of Thieves, which has become a prime port candidate in recent months.

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That’s thanks to the release of a major new game mode for the title called Safer Seas, which was released in an update on Dec. 7. Safer Seas tears out Sea of Thieves’ PvP component completely, converting the experience to one of more stakes-free treasure hunting over the emergent competition with other players. It’s fair to say the mode has received a warm reception from the community, visible in the game’s growth and praise on social media. But more than that, Safer Seas holds an appeal perfectly suited to players on PS5, if recent leaks are to be believed.

A woman pirate holding her sword in the air in Sea of Thieves
Could this swashbuckling co-op romp find success with a new audience? Image via Rare Ltd.

Statistics on the platform health of both PS4 and PS5 from February 2023 were leaked on Jan. 12, and the discovery that PS5 users were spending more time on offline titles and single-player experiences versus multiplayer games picked up traction on Reddit earlier today. It’s an unsurprising statistic to see for a platform that prides itself on the quality of its single-player releases such as Insomniac’s Spider-Man games or Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us, but it does reinforce the idea that a successful Xbox port should ideally appeal to this major demographic.

In that vein, last year’s acclaimed Hi-Fi Rush has already been marked as a potential target for porting, especially after one trusted leaker on ResetEra, lolilolailo, appeared to tease that the rhythm-based action game was slated to come to Nintendo Switch sometime in the future. Only a few days later, multiple sources reported that Microsoft has considered bringing Sea of Thieves to PlayStation 5 and Nintendo Switch as well.

The fact it’s been under consideration at all means the concept holds some water, and Sea of Thieves’ newfound focus on single-player and co-op with Safer Seas perfectly meshes with what PS5 users are statistically playing the most of. The option to remove PvP also makes it easier to experience the game’s rich array of Tall Tales—dedicated narrative quests that include big collaborations with the likes of Pirates of the Carribean, which undoubtedly hold some major appeal in and of themselves now that the threat of griefing is removed.

Despite there being no major content updates in December beyond the introduction of Safer Seas, Sea of Thieves has seen a 17 percent average gain in monthly players over the past 30 days, according to SteamDB, highlighting the success of the new direction. It’s a great indicator that, if Xbox chooses to move forward on its potential plans to introduce its exclusives to other platforms, the 2018 title could be the perfect pick to pull from the backlog as it tests the waters.

The number of rumors circulating around Xbox’s push to branch out to other platforms has some fans theorizing that Jan. 18’s Xbox Developer Direct showcase could feature some information on it. But that seems unlikely with the focus so heavily placed on upcoming titles such as the Indiana Jones project and Obsidian’s upcoming RPG Avowed.


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Author
Alexis Walker
Alexis is a freelance journalist hailing from the UK. After a number of years competing on international esports stages, she transitioned into writing about the industry in 2021 and quickly found a home to call her own within the vibrant communities of the looter shooter genre. Now she provides coverage for games such as Destiny 2, Halo Infinite and Apex Legends.