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Sony's Playstation has several games exclusive to their console (e.g. Ratchet and Clank Rift Apart, God of War, Horizon Forbidden Dawn). Recently, Sony ported these games to PC, making them available on Windows. Is Microsoft allowed to take these PC ports and make them playable on Xbox? The current Xbox Series console is technically running a modified version of Windows 10. If Sony's fine with any Windows PC running their ported games, would they also be fine with the games being "forced" to be available on Xbox? Or would Xbox face legal backlash?

For what it's worth, Sony never explicitly made their games available on a number of systems, such as the Steam Deck. And yet those systems support and play those ported games just fine, and Sony doesn't complain. So what's stopping Microsoft from making those games explicitly playable on the Xbox?

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    How can Microsoft force a company to make a windows game also on Xbox?
    – Joe W
    Feb 17 at 22:18

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It depends

"Make playable" can be done in two ways: Either you modify the game to make it playable on a specific machine, or you modify the machine to be able to read the game.

Microsoft could be sued for copyright infringement if they alter the game

It's the exclusive right of the copyright holder to make or allow derivative works. Porting to a different platform is a traditional derivative work, as is making a sequel. As such, the case is clear: only the copyright holder of a game - usually the programmer or publisher - can port the game or grant someone express permission to do so with a license.

Often, the programmers and publishers have exclusivity clauses with game console or game seller companies (e.g. Epic) to get better conditions at the initial distribution, which in turn dictate when the game may be offered for porting or on other platforms.

There is no case if Microsoft alters the X-Box

But the case is different if Microsoft alters the X-Box operation system. For example, they might turn the X-Box to be controlled by a full version of Windows. If for that version of Windows, there is a port, and there is a reseller (e.g. Steam or Epic) that sells that game and can install the game, then there is no case. The game is not modified, and thus no derivative is created. The reseller already had a license to sell the game, and the reseller's actions are not Microsoft's actions.

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    It is not clear that MS would be breaching Sony copyright in the presented example. If the difference between xbox and windows PC is the libraries than MS choose to put on the platform they could make the xbox behave exactly like the windows PC and so the game could work on the xbox with no derivative required.
    – User65535
    Feb 18 at 7:17
  • @User65535 the point is: If they alter the software, it's copyright infringement.
    – Trish
    Feb 18 at 9:50

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