Microsoft Is Spending Big On Game Pass; Meanwhile, It’s Eyeing Mobile

There are currently no plans for Microsoft’s subscription service to appear on the two competing platforms.


Tim Stuart, Xbox’s chief financial officer, previously said that Game Pass would be brought to all gaming-enabled displays, but his boss Phil Spencer says we shouldn’t expect such a rush: The Xbox boss was more cautious about the future of Xbox Game Pass in an interview with Windows Central: “First of all, we have no plans to take Game Pass to PlayStation or Nintendo. It’s not in our plans. What I want to focus on is how do we continue to innovate for people who have made a commitment to our [Xbox] hardware platform? And how do we continue to make sure they feel good about their investment in what we’ve built?”

Spencer added that Microsoft spends more than $1 billion (!!!) a year to make third-party games available on Game Pass, but that the service still turns a profit, and could give niche games (Grounded, Pentiment) a chance to be available, and thus give Activision Blizzard King’s older games a hope of showing up on the service as well. Sales of the Xbox series aren’t going very well, and Spencer speaks in a way that doesn’t make it seem like Microsoft doesn’t care about hardware, because innovative features are what he believes differentiate Xbox from the rest, and new hardware, features and even achievements have a development schedule. There are no plans for a handheld PC and he would prefer to support the current offerings (Valve Steam Deck, Asus ROG Ally, Lenovo Legion Go).

What about older classic franchises? He previously mentioned StarCraft and King’s Quest, and now he brought up Banjo-Kazooie in the interview: “I want our fans and customers to know that I don’t bring up games just for the sake of endless teasing … if people have seen how we’ve teased things in the past. There’s usually some kind of reconciliation of those teases later on … I’m not one to tease people. It might not happen on the timeline that people would like, but usually when I tease, there’s something there.”

Spencer was also in Sao Paulo for the Comic Con Experience, where he spoke to Bloomberg about the importance of mobile to Microsoft and the Redmond tech giant’s strategy for it: “It’s a big part of our strategy and something that we’re actively working on today, not just on our own, but talking to other partners who would also like to see more choice in how they monetize on the phone. We talked about choice, and today you don’t have choice on your mobile phone. For Xbox to be relevant not just today, but for the next 10, 20 years, we’re going to have to be strong across a lot of screens. And that’s not going to happen in a few years, it’s going to happen a lot sooner! Earlier, Tom Warren of The Verge said that the “Xbox store” could launch as early as 2024…

One of the partners is likely to be Epic Games, as the company is fighting Apple and Google to get access to games from more than just their app stores, and to avoid a 30% profit margin on every transaction. Microsoft has been openly supportive of Tim Sweeney’s company in the past, so it makes sense for the two companies to work together (especially since Sweeney has long since buried the hatchet after being a bit of a port buddy in the past).

Apple is ranked 3rd and Google 6th in terms of revenue among game companies, if only because of their 30% mobile profit margin (the former was/is directly involved with Apple Arcade and the latter with Google Stadia). The mobile segment is growing much faster than the PC/console duo, so it’s no wonder Sony wants to enter this space. And Microsoft can also count on Candy Crush, Call of Duty Mobile or Diablo Immortal with the acquisition of Activision Blizzard King, and if they jump 30% of the profits to Apple and Google, they could make a much bigger break with games…

So yeah, the company is planning pretty hard for the future.

Source: WCCFTech, WCCFTech

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