While the Switch and PlayStation 4 continue to sell robustly, over in the land of Xbox things aren't looking quite as rosy. Even the most ardent supporter of Microsoft's console hardware would admit that there's a serious shortage of quality first-party exclusive games on the machine right now and that's only going to hold the Xbox brand back in 2018.

We imagine that Microsoft will have some big announcements to make at E3 - just like everyone else, of course - but in the meantime, how about a rumour that sounds so freakishly outlandish that it could actually be true?

Mentioned briefly in a Polygon piece about the current first-party game drought on Xbox One (and spotted by our eagle-eyed friends over at Push Square) is the claim that Microsoft is eyeing up Electronic Arts as a potential means of solving its tricky software problem. The source is "reliable"and "close" to Microsoft, apparently.

With franchises such as FIFA, Battlefield, Madden and many more besides under its considerable belt, it should come as little surprise to learn that the company - which is one of the oldest publishers in the business - comes with a hefty price tag of around $35 billion. That's certainly within reach of Microsoft's gigantic chequebook, but it would be the kind of investment that would nonetheless have the company's board members nervously tugging at their collars and exchanging worried glances with one another.

As our friends at Push Square astutely point out, one of the key reasons this might not be all that believable is that EA would have to make the majority of its money-spinning catalogue exclusive to the Xbox One overnight, thereby drastically reducing potential sales revenue - although franchises such as FIFA (and, we'd imagine, Star Wars) will be licensed to the company on the understanding that they are sold on as many systems as possible.

Still, Microsoft has already gone multi-system with Minecraft, and has stated in the past that it's interested in getting its products in front of as many people as possible, even if that means selling games on rival hardware. While it would be easy to see any potential deal meaning the end of EA games on Switch (and PS4), that might not necessarily be the case.

While we remain firmly in cloud cuckoo land, it's worth noting that the same Polygon article also mentions potential Microsoft deals involving Valve and the studio behind PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, which are also a bit on a crazy side. 

A SuperDataResearch analyst states that announcements will be coming “very, very shortly”, so we'll no doubt find out if this is utter bull's droppings in the fullness of time.

[via pushsquare.com, polygon.com]