9 things we just learned about Game Pass and Xbox Series X/S.

The Xbox Series S and X are in front of a neon green grille.

picture: Microsoft / Kotaku

Microsoft is making big moves and game arcade It is just one piece of the puzzle. The subscription service on Xbox Series X/S has kept the topic relevant though there have been no first-party exclusives stealing conversations lately, but the company seems to have its sights set on the mobile space for the next big gaming push. While PS5 warriors Discusses the Call of duty exclusivityMicrosoft puts Apple and Google as its real competitors.

This may just be a convenient pivot amid the unprecedented antitrust scrutiny he’s trying to get. $69 billion acquisition From Activision Blizzard through regulators in the US and abroad. But it’s compelling when you consider Apple’s total revenue from gaming Microsoft and Nintendo overtook both last year Despite the fact that the iPhone manufacturer does not actually make games. Here are nine interesting notes from recent earnings calls, regulatory filings, and interviews that begin to fill in the picture of Xbox’s present and future.

Game Pass is growing a ton on PC

While Game Pass’s best game library is on the console, it’s the PC side of the service that builds the strength. Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, emphasized the company Latest earnings call The number of PC Game Pass subscribers grew by 159 percent compared to last year. The PC version’s game library has definitely improved in recent months, but a larger install base is likely to be a bigger factor. Spencer said in WSJ Tech Live.

Game Pass maxed out on console

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

Meanwhile, on the Xbox Series X/S, Spencer seems fairly confident that Game Pass will never be more than 15 percent of Microsoft’s total content and service revenue. “I don’t think it’s any bigger than that,” Spencer said on WSJ Tech Live. “At some point, I just reached out to everyone who wanted to sign up on console.”

Microsoft knows it’s time for a big first party party

Part of the reason why Game Pass is discontinued on console may be because No major exclusives. Spencer recently admitted that they’ve generally been missing out on the company’s lineup lately. said in Same brain podcast. “We can have excuses about the coronavirus and other things but in the end I know people are investing in our platform and they want to have great games.”

At the same time, he noted, the era of COVID-related gaming delays is over, at least for first-party Microsoft studios. In other words, don’t expect the major drought that will occur in the 2022 holiday to last until next year. While starfield And the Redvale Both are scheduled for release in the first half of next year, like major releases mythAnd the Forza Motorsport 8And the He confessedothers are still waiting in the wings.

TV radiator has been shelved (literally)

Project Keystone was supposed to be a console for TVs that would let you stream Game Pass in the living room without the need for an Xbox. It was rumored to be coming soon, but Spencer confirmed that it has already been scrapped in favor of more limited solutions by smart TV makers like Samsung. This keystone prototype keeps on his shelf? Do not enter into production. “Are we going to do a streaming device sometime?” He said on WSJ Tech Live. “I think we’ll do it, but I think it’s a long way off.”

The company’s take on the Xbox Store on mobile

Microsoft has hinted at its ambitions to start competing in the smartphone space Earlier this yearBut the latest UK regulatory filing lays out the plans more clearly. “[Buying Activision Blizzard] will improve Microsoft’s ability to create a next-generation game store that works across a range of devices, including mobile devices as a result of the addition of Activision Blizzard content,” the company said. Wrote in October.

Spencer doubled down on that insight in WSJ Tech Live, criticizing Apple and Google’s 30 percent cut in in-app purchases on their platforms, and arguing that the $69 billion acquisition is a game to make mobile more competitive rather than dominating. Game console market. “We have to break this monopoly of having only two storefronts available on the main level [mobile] Platforms,” he said. It is not clear how the company plans to do this, but further acquisitions, potentially in the mobile sphere, are not off the table.

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

While it’s well understood that console makers often sell hardware at a loss, especially early in the new release cycle, we’ve never really known how much these losses are. In no uncertain terms, Spencer recently moved to Xbox Series X and S. Between $100 and $200 on average.

That’s the company’s defense of charging the same 30 percent fee on Xbox that complains about charging Apple and Google on mobile, as smartphones are sold at a profit. At the same time, the Xbox Series S was also a huge success. The company announced during its latest earnings call that half of its $300 Xbox users are completely new to the ecosystem.

Prices will go up in the future

Don’t expect this level of discount forever. While Spencer wasn’t specific, he hinted during WSJ Tech Live about it Price hike is coming. “We kept the price on the console, charged the price of the games for us, and our subscription,” he said. “I don’t think we’ll be able to do that forever, I think at some point we’ll have to raise prices on some things.”

While he didn’t say which things would be, Game Pass and individual game prices seem like obvious bets. Subscription services in all areas were Recently increased renovation costsSpencer pointed out that the price is $ 60, which Microsoft has retained infinite aurais outdated and does not reflect the increased costs of development or the additional hours that many gamers are taking out of modern games.

Call of duty Stay on PlayStation

Microsoft was clearer than ever In recent weeks have no plans to do Call of duty Exclusive to Xbox. “It’s not a plan, well, we’re going to feed somebody and get them to a place where they play on the cloud or in two or three years we’re going to pull [Call of Duty]Spencer said on WSJ Tech Live. “As long as there’s a PlayStation out there to ship, our goal is to keep charging Call of duty on PlayStation,” he said on Same Brain. He likened it to Maine Craft Which is still supported on PlayStation, and he said he’d even like to see it Call of duty On the switch in some form.

Don’t expect the Microsoft VR metaverse anytime soon

Spencer said on WSJ Tech Live, despite his boss announcing the integration of Microsoft Meetings with Meta Horizons Virtual Reality Dystopia Just weeks ago. The veteran gaming CEO said he believes companies should work on perfecting the 2D measurement hardware of games before moving them into virtual reality.

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