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The Silly Story Behind The Weirdest Xbox Exclusive

by Jerry
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A screenshot shows Xbox execs talking about Yakuza.

Remember when the Xbox Series X and S launched with a Yakuza recreation, however the PS5 didn’t? That was bizarre, proper? For such a very long time the Yakuza franchise had been intently tied to PlayStation. But, no less than for a number of months, the then-latest recreation within the sequence skipped Sony’s next-gen machine for Xbox’s fancy console. Why? The reply simply got here to gentle at this time, and it’s each difficult and foolish.

Back in November 2020, the Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5 launched with a handful of exclusives and a variety of ports. (It was principally ports…) One of the oddest next-gen exclusives on the time was Yakuza: Like a Dragon, which was obtainable at launch on PS4, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. Just a few months later, this odd new entry within the common Yakuza sequence lastly landed on PS5. At the time, of us on-line assumed Microsoft had minimize a cope with Sega to maintain the sport off the next-gen PlayStation. Others steered the PS5 model had technical points that compelled it to be delayed. The actual cause? Sega signed a number of too many offers with too many firms.

As revealed in September 19’s large Xbox leak, which included a load of emails and personal paperwork from inside Microsoft, it appears Xbox boss Phil Spencer was simply as stunned as avid gamers when he realized there wasn’t going to be a PS5 port of Like a Dragon.

In leaked emails from June 2020, Spencer is seen sharing this IGN tweet and asking if the sport was “next-gen unique.” Another exec responds by telling Spencer that it isn’t, and that it is going to be obtainable on PS4 in addition to Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S. Spencer then replies the way it’s “humorous” that Sega doesn’t even checklist the PS5 on its web site.

A screenshot shows Xbox execs talking about Yakuza.

Screenshot: Kotaku

How two separate offers delayed the PS5 port

After some additional chatter about probably doing a Sega-themed Xbox in Japan, Damon Baker—then accountable for international gaming partnerships and growth—laid out why Microsoft was going to have an unique next-gen port of Yakuza: Like a Dragon.

  • According to him, Sony had a 12-month exclusivity cope with Sega for the PlayStation launch of the sport in Japan and Asia.
  • This meant Microsoft couldn’t launch an Xbox model of the sport in Japan till that deal ended.
  • However, Microsoft additionally had a contract with Sega that included a parity clause that prevented Sony from releasing a next-gen SKU of Like a Dragon in Japan till Xbox did, too.
  • And as a result of Xbox couldn’t launch any model of the sport in Japan till the PlayStation deal was accomplished, Sony was unable to launch a PS5 port within the area.

In that very same electronic mail, Baker shared the information that Sega had no plans to launch a PS5 model within the United States, including: “Sounds like we now have a timed exclusivity for next-gen.”

A screenshot shows Xbox execs talking about Yakuza.

Screenshot: Kotaku

At this level, after declaring that Microsoft had the rights to market the sport outdoors of Japan, Spencer puzzled if Xbox might promote that the following Yakuza recreation was a next-gen unique on Series X/S, including that it’s a “large deal” and later saying that it “may even be value some cash from us” if they will push that information in future advertising and marketing. Which occurred, with Microsoft posting blogs speaking about how the sport would make the most of the “next-gen” energy of the Series X/S and hyping up the sport’s launch on its consoles.

In February 2021, about three months later, the Sony exclusivity deal in Japan expired, and Yakuza: Like a Dragon lastly launched on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S in Japan. The subsequent month, it launched on PS5 in Japan and all over the place else, ending one of many weirdest bits of company contractual silliness I’ve seen in a protracted, very long time.


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