Xbox Boss Phil Spencer is one of those figures in the gaming industry who have pushed for cross-play and more flexible revenue models, most notable Game Pass and xCloud. Both of these have been highly successful in recent years, primarily because of their ease of access and low monthly costs. While buying a new console will cost you around $500, newer AAA titles have started pushing the $70 mark. In comparison, Game Pass allows you to play over a hundred games for a month on just about any PC or mobile device for a mere $10-15.
Speaking to GamesRadar in an interview, Spencer stated that he wants to industry to grow as a whole, and that means catering to the players’ interests, rather than their own profits. He discussed cross-play where players from various platforms are able to play together, and of course, Game Pass which according to him, focuses on player joy, ease of play, and accessibility.
He believes that Game Pass is the future, as players will soon begin demanding a similar model/service because of its sheer advantages, and as such, it’s the right move. To be completely frank, Spencer is quite right. Most people don’t have time to sink in hundreds of hours into a single game for weeks (although I’m one of them), and such the average gamer prefers to have a variety of content at his/her disposal which they can try at their leisure.
For us to succeed, I don’t think another company has to get smaller. I want the industry to continue to grow and accelerate its growth, and if you buy a Switch, and you want to play Minecraft, and I happen to buy my kids a PlayStation… if they can’t play together, that doesn’t help gaming grow, in my mind. That war might help one device win over another device, but it doesn’t help the industry. I believe focusing on player joy, ease of play, and accessibility, in the long run, is the right strategy. And I think the industry will move in that direction because that’s what gamers will demand.”
You know, it’s the right question (Xbox App on Switch) because people usually ask me about releasing one individual game or another. And what I say is I want the full Xbox experience to be something that we deliver. We have no plans to bring it to any other kind of closed platforms right now, mainly because those closed platforms don’t want something like Game Pass. There’s a ton of open platforms out there for us to grow in: the web, PC, and mobile. So all of our focus, frankly, is on those platforms.
That’s not a slam on anybody else who has a system that works for them. I can see why the disruption of Game Pass is not something that they want right now. In the end, when we say we want everybody to be able to play on Xbox, we really mean if we can bring that full experience to a device that players want, we are totally open to those discussions.Phil Spencer, Xbox Head
Speaking about Microsoft’s immediate focus, he conceded that it won’t be anytime soon that Game Pass will be coming to competitor platforms (PS5, Switch). For now, the company’s focus is on PC and mobile alongside the newly Series X|S devices. Companies like Apple and Sony reply on the nature of their closed platforms for the bulk of their revenue, and as such, the coming of Game Pass to their respective platforms would be a direct threat to their livelihoods. However, Spencer isn’t completely closed to partnering with his rivals on such a service/subscription in the future. But let’s be honest, it’s not gonna happen, at least not on the PS5. Sony has been working on building its own subscription service, and won’t tolerate any outsiders’ meddling.