Microsoft is expanding the Xbox ecosystem in a dramatic way. Soon enough, it’s going to encompass all of the following:
This weekend will mark the arrival of Microsoft’s E3 Xbox showcase, but we’re already getting a lot of info about their master plan for long-term market domination. And it’s something that I simply don’t think any of its competitors have the ability to match.
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In short, it’s a fusion of the old school philosophy of a powerful console launch with the new idea of game streaming across any device that can manage it. And no one else is doing this, at least not to this extent.
Sony has the console market sewn up pretty well and has incredible first party games. But they are unwilling to launch those games in a Game Pass-like subscription system, instead charging $70 a piece for most instead. They also do not have the infrastructure to support a widespread expansion of cloud gaming unless they turn to someone like…Microsoft.
Google has the floundering Stadia, which does not have any base hardware, but nor does it have any meaningful exclusive games now that it shut down its first party studios. It also has the bizarre model of forcing people to buy individual games on the cloud rather than offering them all through one subscription like Game Pass.
Amazon has not technically launched Luna, its game streaming service yet, but again, there’s no hardware, and while it has not dismantled its first party development studios, it has massively struggled to produce anything substantial and has cancelled a ton of high profile projects.
Nintendo isn’t even trying to compete in this space, just like they haven’t been trying to have the most powerful console in years. They’re doing fine on their own, but they’re not competing directly with Microsoft for the most part at this point. Microsoft is poised for something rather massive with all this. Game Pass has already been one of the most attractive prospects in the industry in terms of the value you get from it, but in the next few years it seems possible, if not likely, that Microsoft will finally get its first party act together and start producing must-have exclusive hits. And unlike Sony, those will not be sold for $70 per release, they will be on Game Pass on day one, able to be played on a physical Xbox, on PC or streamed in the cloud.
No one else has all the stars aligning like this. Amazon and Google are trying to get into the streaming game without a hardware ecosystem as an alternative and no exclusive first party games to speak of so it’s just Game Pass with…less stuff. Sony may be crushing it with the PS5, but if someday they realize that they do need to lean more into what Xbox is doing, they are going to be years behind. I believe in the vision of what Xbox is doing here as the most realistic, logical interpretation of where the industry is heading. Consoles are not dying, but the idea that you can buy a game and have multiple options where and how to play it is the future. Microsoft seems to be the only company that both understands this, and has the resources to pull off this concept in practice. But we’ll have to see how it pans out in the coming years.
The News Highlights
- Microsoft is creating something that Sony, Nintendo, Google, and Amazon will never be able to match
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