9 Things We’ve Just Learned About Game Pass and Xbox Series X/S

9 Things We've Just Learned About Game Pass and Xbox Series X/S
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An Xbox Series S and X sits in front of a neon green grille.

picture: Microsoft/Kotaku

Microsoft is making big moves and Playing card is just one piece of the puzzle. The subscription service has kept the Xbox Series X/S relevant despite the lack of first-person privileges stealing conversations lately, but it looks like the company is keeping its eye on the mobile space for its next big gaming move. While PS5 console warriors to dispute Call of Duty exclusivityMicrosoft positions Apple and Google as their real rivals.

This could be an appropriate pivot amid an unprecedented antitrust scrutiny. $69 billion takeover But that’s believable when you consider Apple’s total revenue from games. 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 are starting to fill the picture of Xbox’s present and future.

Game Pass grows a ton on PC

While Game Pass’s best library of games is on the console, it’s actually the PC side of the steam-generating service. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella confirmed about the company latest earnings call PC Game Pass subscribers increased by 159% compared to a year ago. The PC version’s library of games has definitely improved in recent months, but the larger install base is likely an even bigger factor. “We’re seeing incredible growth in PC, where we’re really focused,” Spencer said. WSJ Technology Live.

Game Pass reaches its limit on console

Despite reaching 25 million subscribers in total, Game Pass’s overall growth is still well below Microsoft’s initial expectations. As Axios reportedThe company was targeting 73 percent growth for the year ending June 2022 and instead achieved just 28 percent.

Meanwhile, Spencer seems pretty confident that Game Pass on Xbox Series X/S will never be more than 15 percent of Microsoft’s total content and services revenue. “I don’t think it’s going to get any bigger than that,” Spencer said at WSJ Tech Live. “You’ve reached out to anyone who wants to subscribe on console at some point.”

Microsoft knows it’s delayed for a big first-party custom

Part of the reason behind Game Pass stopping on console is, great lack of exclusivity. Spencer recently admitted that they are generally lacking in the company’s roster. “Something we’ve heard loud and clear, it’s been a long time since we’ve posted what people would call a great first-party game,” he said. Same Brain podcast. “We may have excuses for Covid and other things, but in the end, I know people are investing in our platform and want to have great games.”

At the same time, he suggested that the era of covid-related game delays is over, at least for Microsoft first-party studios. In other words, don’t expect the big holiday drought of 2022 to continue until next year. Duration star field and red fall both will be released in the first half of next year, major releases fairy tales, Forza Motorsport 8, sworeand others are still waiting in the wings.

Rumored streaming device for TVs shelved (literally)

Project Keystone was supposed to be a dongle for TVs that would let you stream Game Pass in the living room without needing an Xbox. It’s rumored to be coming soon, but Spencer has confirmed it’s being scrapped in favor of more limited solutions through Smart TV manufacturers like Samsung. This is the Keystone prototype keeps it on the shelf? It’s not going into production. “Are we going to make a streaming device at some point?” He said it on WSJ Tech Live. “I suspect we will, but I guess years from now.”

The company is serious about an Xbox store on mobile

Microsoft hinted at its ambitions to start competing in the smartphone space earlier this year, but a recent regulatory filing in the UK makes the plans more clear. “[Buying Activision Blizzard] “As a result of adding content from Activision Blizzard, it will enhance Microsoft’s ability to create a next-generation game store that works on a variety of devices, including mobile.” Wrote In October.

Spencer doubled down on that vision at WSJ Tech Live, criticizing Apple and Google’s 30 percent cuts to in-app purchases on their platforms and saying the $69 billion purchase is a game to make mobile more competitive rather than restricting it. argued. console market. “We have to break this duo of the only two display cases available in department stores. [mobile] platforms,” he said. It is unclear how the company plans to do this, but potentially more acquisitions in the mobile space are not off the table.

Xbox Series X and S consoles are selling at a huge loss

While it’s well understood that console manufacturers often sell devices at a loss, we never knew exactly how big those losses were, especially at the beginning of a new release cycle. Spencer recently came to terms with the Xbox Series X and S losing to Microsoft. between $100 and $200 on average.

It’s the company’s defense of charging the same 30 percent charge on the Xbox that Apple and Google complain about charging on mobile devices where smartphones are sold profitably. It also made the Xbox Series S a huge success. The company says that at the time of its most recent earnings, half of the $300 Xbox users were completely new to the ecosystem.

Prices will increase in the future

Don’t expect this level of discount though. Spencer hinted at it during WSJ Tech Live, though not specifically. price increases are coming. “We kept the price in the console, we kept the price in the games and in our subscription for us,” he said. “I don’t think we can do this forever, I guess at some point we will have to raise the price of some things.”

Game Pass and individual game prices seem like obvious bets, though it doesn’t say which ones these will be. Subscription services across the board recently increase replacement costsand Spencer pointed out the $60 price point Microsoft is holding. Halo Infiniteit does not reflect the outdated and increasing development costs or the additional hours many players get from modern games.

Call of Duty stays on PlayStation

Microsoft clearer than ever hasn’t planned to do it in the last few weeks. Call of Duty Exclusive to Xbox. “It’s not a plan, okay, we’re going to play someone where they need to play in the cloud, or we’ll shoot in two or three years. [Call of Duty]”said Spencer on WSJ Tech Live. “As long as there is a PlayStation to ship out, our intention is to keep shipping. Call of Duty On PlayStation,” Same said on Brain. Like Minecraft that continues to be supported on PlayStation and even says that he wants to see Call of Duty change it somehow.

Don’t expect a Microsoft VR metaverse anytime soon

Despite his boss announcing the Microsoft Meetings integration, Spencer said at WSJ Tech Live “To build a metaverse that looks like a meeting room – I just see it’s not where I want to spend most of my time.” Meta’s Horizons VR dystopia just weeks ago. The veteran game executive said he thinks companies should work on perfecting their 2D game metaverse before moving it to virtual reality.

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