Microsoft does not view Game Pass as a replacement for purchasing games

Xbox boss Phil Spencer isn’t quite ready to predict a fully Netflix future for video games just yet. In an interview with The New York Times, the head of Microsoft’s games division said the retail market “continues to be very strong and to grow.”

“So let’s make sure we offer our customers the choice between subscriptions and transactions,” he said.

Regarding Microsoft’s efforts with cloud streaming, Spencer agreed that it was a lot like Netflix, but quickly noted that buying games individually is a “traditional part of the game“, not something that ‘he plans to phase out. It wouldn’t make sense either, as Game Pass’s rapid growth still hasn’t put it ahead of retail game purchases.

“The transaction is more important than the subscription,” said Spencer. “Subscriptions are growing faster, just because they’re relatively new. And with Game Pass, we were one of the first players in this space. But the transaction sector is very important. We still sell physical disks. “

The Xbox Game Pass and its relevant brother PC Game Pass for us presented a minor dilemma for me. On the one hand, it makes a lot of sense to recommend everyone to take advantage of the $ 1 introductory offer and spend a month playing as many co-op and single-player games as possible. Even at the regular price of $ 10 per month, a Game Pass membership is great value if you play a lot of games, of which the PC version includes over 400 of them. On the other hand, I have a few. feel like writing a confession to a future me who will one day come back to this article when he struggles to understand how we could have been so stupid to let the game library subscription replace the purchase of video games.

And while it doesn’t look like cloud streaming is going to replace downloading games anytime soon – Google’s Stadia revolutionized gaming the way the Segway revolutionized walking – many powerful companies still think it is. future, including Microsoft.

“I think the cloud is essential,” said Spencer. “And Netflix clearly has the cloud. Amazon has the cloud. Google has real cloud capability.”

In this regard, Spencer believes Microsoft has the advantage, because with cloud streaming technology, it already knows how to make games.

“But without content, community, and the cloud, I think I’m getting into the game right now – and you see it in what Netflix is ​​doing,” he continued. “I think it’s smart what they do. They buy studios. They learn the creative process of interactive entertainment. And I think it’s a very smart way for them to move into the space. we just started doing this many years ago. “

Fair point! New World was Amazon’s first big hit game, and it took years of testing. Microsoft, meanwhile, released a lot of popular games last year: Halo Infinite, Forza Horizon 5, Age of Empires 4, Psychonauts 2, and I can’t forget Deathloop, as Bethesda and Arkane are now Microsoft companies, which is always strange.

I agree that Microsoft is well positioned to lead the charge when it comes to subscription and cloud gaming, so it’s nice to hear Spencer say that the old ways persist for the time being. I’m not sure I fully believe it, however. Will your old game purchases really survive the next two decades, given that we’re already on the cusp of calling it “traditional”? I am not sure.

Spencer talks about a number of other topics in the high-profile NYT interview, including Activision Blizzard and the allegations of sexism it faces (“Xbox’s history is not without blemish”) and ideas about the so-called “metaverse”. You can read or listen to the interview here.

Comments are closed.