Phil Spencer has set himself a pretty lofty goal (especially since the US Federal Trade Commission, the FTC, has not yet given its nod to Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, which could even be blocked in the European Union…).
We reported yesterday here how Spencer expressed his desire to see Starfield, which will be Todd Howard’s next big thing, as Bethesda’s most-played title, coming in November (and then he’ll have to deal with The Elder Scrolls VI, as it was announced at E3 at the same time as Bethesda’s first new IP in over two decades). But Stephen Totilo, writing for Axios, mentioned more from his interview with him on Twitter. For Spencer, all we can say is that there is no shortage of optimism…
He likes the stats for Forza Horizon 5 and Halo Infinite, and he also loves how many people played the second Psychonauts compared to the first. This train of thought was also applied to Todd Howard and Starfield. Still, more presciently, he also referred to the pulling in Activision Blizzard’s IPs, with Call of Duty coming from Activision and World of Warcraft from Blizzard (and we wrote that they would not be the frontrunners even after the acquisition was completed).
“I want more people to be playing World of Warcraft in five years that are playing today. I want more people to be playing Call of Duty in five years; more people to be playing Candy Crush in five years because we’ve made it more accessible to more people. I feel like I can’t prove this negative. [People ask], when is the Game Pass price going to go up? “They’re buying all these studios. You know, it’s inevitable.” Even though it’s been what, now, four years we haven’t raised it.” But it’s like, “You know, it’s coming”. “When they are number one, they’re going to start doing all those exclusive deals that, like, you know, Xbox has [that] history.” And all I can do is, is make the decisions that are in front of us and try to be explicit about what our goals are,” Spencer said, without providing a way how to achieve more players by 2027.
It’s not clear, but it’s realistic: they would strengthen Game Pass as if it were the Netflix of video games, which is what Spencer is after. That way, they can reach a larger community. But what happens if that doesn’t happen?