Microsoft hopes to have Xbox Game Pass become available on as many platforms as possible, including those from the competition.
Speaking at the Wells Fargo TMT Summit this week, Xbox CFO Tim Stuart said the company is taking on a “bit of a change of strategy” when it comes to where its games can be played.
“Not announcing anything broadly here, but our mission is to bring our first-party experiences [and] our subscription services to every screen that can play games,” said Stuart. “That means smart TVs, that means mobile devices, that means what we would have thought of as competitors in the past like PlayStation and Nintendo.”
For years, there have been rumours that Microsoft had been looking to bring Game Pass to platforms like the Switch. However, Xbox boss Phil Spencer downplayed the possibility of that happening in 2021, noting that those console makers weren’t interested while expressing his own openness to working something out.
In any case, Game Pass — and, by extension, first-party Xbox games — on other platforms would make a lot of sense considering Microsoft’s broader gaming strategy. Unlike PlayStation and Nintendo, which typically stick to the tried-and-true exclusivity business of a game only being available on a single piece of hardware, Microsoft’s approach is more platform-agnostic.
That means the company releases first-party titles like Starfield and Halo Infinite on both Xbox consoles and PC (and day one on Game Pass) while also making them available to stream to mobile and smart TVs through Xbox Cloud Gaming on Game Pass. Therefore, the company views Game Pass as its core platform which can be accessed on all kinds of devices.
To that point, Stuart went on to describe the Game Pass business as “high margin”, and, therefore, a key focus for its gaming efforts going forward.
While it remains to be seen how much current interest companies like PlayStation and Nintendo would have regarding Game Pass on their platforms, it should be noted that the market now looks a lot different than it did a few years ago. In particular, Microsoft now owns both Bethesda (Starfield, Fallout) and Activision Blizzard (Call of Duty, Diablo). And while Microsoft has signed licensing deals for Call of Duty with PlayStation and Nintendo, there’s no such guarantee for any of its other recently acquired properties.
Therefore, PlayStation and Nintendo will have to work with Xbox in at least some capacity if they want to continue to receive access to the Halo maker’s ever-growing catalogue.
In the meantime, though, Microsoft plans to start bringing Activision Blizzard titles to Game Pass sometime next year. The company is also teasing news fans “won’t want to miss” at The Game Awards, which take place on December 7th.
Image credit: Xbox