Christopher Dring recently wrote an article with an interview from Kevin Gammill, who happens to be the GM of gaming cloud at Microsoft. His article can be found here, I recommend it as it’s an insight on what Microsoft’s long-term plans are in the future. We will be talking about an interesting point that was talked about when concerning Xbox and their future for first party content. Let’s see what was said and why I feel this mentality could very well be the end of Microsoft’s Xbox brand as we know it.
The core vision for Microsoft is to expand beyond their console and to reach as many players as possible, similar to how they’ve expanded apps and programs to other operating systems. The reason for this approach and vision is because of how financially successful Minecraft has been, selling 144 million across Xbox, PC, Mobile, PlayStation, and Nintendo. Minecraft many felt, myself included, was a one off thing due to how they bought Mojang after the game had been released and found success.
The foundation for all of this has been right in front of our faces the whole time: the push for Cloud Gaming, the Play Anywhere program, and Game Pass. Game Pass specifically was hinted at one day being on rival consoles in an article from The Verge by Kareem Choudhry.
So my question is, if they want to expand past consoles due to it being so financially effective for them, why don’t they just become a third party? I know Phil Spencer has stated that they plan on having a box where you can play their content, he’s also spoken about traditional consoles going away or changing from how we know it currently, but who would want to buy that console when you could, say, buy a PlayStation 5 and should you see a Microsoft game, at this point no need to call them Xbox games, you like you could just subscribe to their Game Pass service. It makes no sense. Even if they kept a couple of first party games as console exclusive, as in you can only play it on their box, what game is worth paying upwards of $300?
Microsoft is an interesting company and their Xbox brand is sort of at a cross roads. Xbox One, despite being an amazing console, has not performed the way they hoped and the lack of any killer first party games is the sole factor for this underperformance. It does, however, make sense for them to not be stressing the lack of first parties if this voyage across consoles is their true vision. Betting on the wrong horse and backing PUBG instead of Fortnite didn’t help matters either. A lot of gamers are looking at E3, especially since it’ll be taking place at a theater, to see what route Microsoft will take and if first party titles are not showcased in force, many will be abandoning ship. Microsoft needs to make a reason for us to play on their platform and Game Pass and Play Anywhere aren’t helping, nor is Cross-Play.
Sea Of Thieves, a game I am so hyped for, isn’t enough to buy a console for and if you really wanted to play it, its on PC. I am a big proponent for Cross-Play but if a game like Rocket League was used to motivate subscriptions to Game Pass, well, I can still play my friend who has an Xbox if I’m on Switch. Of course, this example is based on if they were at the peak of this vision. Ironically enough, Sony has been merciful with Microsoft because if they were to allow Microsoft to place Game Pass on their console and support Cross-Play between the two, well, that once prestigious Xbox brand would be killed.
What I would like to see from Microsoft is to push their console and focus on building their First Party titles. They should just buy EA and PUBG, as is rumored, and use those IPs to their advantage. At this point the Game Pass subscription service has already been in effect so I don’t see a benefit in going back but they need to leave it on their console and the PC, a market they own as well, and the Play Anywhere service, if it has been fruitful, can be left. They need to make more deals with third parties and give us a reason to play their console.
Now if they are dead set on achieving their vision, then I don’t see the point in going this route. They seriously would be better off going third party and maximizing the money they could be getting, as SEGA has. Only difference is that SEGA was forced. In the article they mention its for developers and users and what makes sense for them but let’s be honest with one another, its about money.
More importantly though, what do you all think? Should Microsoft go third party? Should they change their strategy? Perhaps you think their vision would be successful and can envision better how it would turn out, if so, why? How? Please comment below and let’s start a conversation.
Disclaimer: I don’t participate in these console wars garbage and I think every console can be enjoyed by everyone and anyone, depending on preferences and tastes. Also, when I first joined The Loot Gaming, it was a website exclusively for Xbox content but has since grown beyond that vision. In other words, kiss my Scorpio Edition Xbox One X’s vents if you think I’m here to cater to any console or brand.