9 things we just learned about Game Pass and Xbox Series X/S

9 things we just learned about Game Pass and Xbox Series X/S
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An Xbox Series S and X sit in front of a neon green grid.

Image: Microsoft/Kotaku

Microsoft is making big moves and game pass it’s just one piece of the puzzle. The subscription service has kept the Xbox Series X/S relevant despite a lack of recent conversation-stealing exclusive exclusives, but the company appears to be setting its sights on the mobile space for its next big gaming push. While the PS5 console warriors argue about obligations exclusivenessMicrosoft is positioning Apple and Google as its true rivals.

That may be a convenient twist amid unprecedented antitrust scrutiny as you try to get your $69 billion acquisition from Activision Blizzard through regulators in the US and abroad. But it’s compelling when you consider that Apple’s total revenue from gaming surpassed both Microsoft and Nintendo last year even though the iPhone maker doesn’t actually make games. Here are nine interesting takeaways from recent earnings calls, regulatory filings, and interviews that begin to complete a picture of Xbox’s present and future.

Game Pass is growing a lot on PC

While Game Pass’s best library of games is on console, it’s really the PC side of the service that’s piling up. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella confirmed in the company most recent earnings call that PC Game Pass subscribers grew 159 percent from the previous year. The PC version’s library of games has certainly improved in recent months, but the larger install base is probably an even bigger factor. “We’re seeing incredible growth on PC, which is really where we’re focused,” Spencer said in WSJ Tech live.

Game Pass is reaching its limit on console

Despite hitting 25 million subscribers overall, Game Pass’s overall growth is still well below Microsoft’s initial expectations. As reported by Axiosthe company was targeting 73 percent growth for the year ending June 2022 and instead only hit 28 percent.

Meanwhile, on Xbox Series X/S, Spencer seems pretty confident that Game Pass will never account for more than 15 percent of Microsoft’s total content and services revenue. “I don’t think it’s any bigger than that,” Spencer said on WSJ Tech Live. “At some point you just reached all the console users who want to subscribe.”

Microsoft knows it’s overdue for a big exclusive of its own

Part of the reason Game Pass stops on console could be the lack of major exclusives. Spencer recently admitted that they have been missing in general from the company’s lineup recently. “One thing we’ve heard loud and clear is that it’s been too long since we’ve released what people would say is a great first-party game,” he said on the website. Same Brain Podcast. “We can have our excuses about covid and other things, but in the end I know that people invest in our platform and want to have great games.”

At the same time, he suggested that the era of covid-related game delays was over, at least for Microsoft’s own studios. In other words, he doesn’t expect the great Christmas drought of 2022 to persist until next year. Weather star field Y red fall both are due out in the first half of next year, major releases like Fable, Forza Motorsport 8, Declaredand others are still waiting in the wings.

The Rumored Streaming Device For TVs Was Shelved (Literally)

Project Keystone was supposed to be a TV dongle that would let you stream Game Pass in the living room without needing an Xbox. It was rumored that it was just around the corner, but Spencer confirmed that it was actually canceled in favor of more limited solutions through Smart TV manufacturers like Samsung. That Keystone Prototype he keeps on his shelf? Do not go into production. “Will we make a streaming device at some point?” he said on WSJ Tech Live. “I suspect we will, but I think it’s years away.”

The company is serious about an Xbox store on mobile

Microsoft hinted at its ambitions to start competing in the smartphone space at the beginning of this year, but a recent regulatory filing in the UK sets out the plans more clearly. “[Buying Activision Blizzard] will enhance Microsoft’s ability to create a next-generation game store that operates on a variety of devices, including mobile, as a result of the addition of Activision Blizzard content,” the company said. wrote in October.

Spencer doubled down on that view on WSJ Tech Live, criticizing Apple and Google’s 30 percent cut in in-app purchases on their platforms, and arguing that the $69 billion acquisition is a move to make mobile devices more affordable. become more competitive instead of gaining absolute control over the console market. “We have to break that duopoly of only two windows available in the main [mobile] platforms,” ​​he said. It’s unclear how the company plans to do that, but more acquisitions, potentially in the mobile space, aren’t out of the question.

Xbox Series X and S consoles are being sold at huge losses

While it’s well known that console makers often sell devices at a loss, especially early in a new release cycle, we’ve never known exactly how big those losses were. In no uncertain terms, Spencer recently took on the Xbox Series X and S losing Microsoft. between $100 and $200 on average.

That’s the company’s defense for charging the same 30 percent fees on Xbox that it complains Apple and Google charge on mobile, where smartphones are sold at a profit. At the same time, it also made the Xbox Series S a huge success. The company announced during its most recent earnings call that half of all $300 Xbox users are completely new to the ecosystem.

Prices will rise in the future

However, don’t wait for that level of discount forever. While Spencer didn’t go specific, he hinted during WSJ Tech Live that price increases are coming. “We’ve kept the price of the console, we’ve kept the price of the games for us and our subscription,” he said. “I don’t think we can do that forever, I think at some point we’re going to have to raise the prices of some things.”

While he didn’t say what those things would be, Game Pass and individual game prices seem like the obvious bets. Subscription services in general have been increasing your renovation costs recentlyand Spencer pointed out that the $60 price, which Microsoft held for infinity haloit’s outdated and doesn’t reflect the rising development costs or extra hours many players get from modern games.

obligations stays on playstation

Microsoft has been clearer than ever in the last few weeks you have no plans to do obligations an Xbox exclusive. “It is not a plan of, okay, we are going to prime and change someone to play in the cloud or in two or three years we are going to take out [Call of Duty]Spencer said on WSJ Tech Live. “As long as there is a PlayStation to send to, our intention is that we continue to send obligations on PlayStation,” he said on Same Brain. she liked it Minecraft which continues to be compatible with PlayStation, and said that he would even like to see obligations on Switch somehow.

Don’t expect a Microsoft VR metaverse anytime soon

“For me, building a metaverse that looks like a meeting room, I just find that’s not where I want to spend most of my time,” Spencer said on WSJ Tech Live, despite her boss announcing the Microsoft integration. meetings with The Dystopia VR Horizons of Meta just a few weeks before. The veteran gaming executive said he believes companies should work to perfect 2D gaming metaverses before moving them to virtual reality.

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