Xbox, Microsoft's vision is the true future of gaming

Xbox, Microsoft's vision is the true future of gaming


Over the past few months we have repeatedly expressed our opinion on Microsoft's strategy and their vision for the gaming of the future. A vision that we like, especially because it tries to go against the current of obsolete and inaccessible market dynamics, which force the consumer to buy a particular platform or the producer to risk everything to get their game out in time, risking in some cases even bankruptcy.

In the last few days we had the opportunity to participate in an exclusive virtual briefing of Microsoft where Phil Spencer (Head of Xbox), Satya Nadella (CEO of Microsoft) and others of the Xbox management body such as Sarah Bond (CVP Head of Game Creator Experience & Ecosystem) and LizHamren (CVP of Gaming Experiences & Platforms), told us about their "idea" of gaming and how they want to evolve it over the next few years. Mostly we have witnessed a chat where things were said that we already knew in part, but which further confirmed a very clear vision that combines business choices and love for gaming.

Gaming for everyone

It is no mystery that Xbox Game Pass was born to enter everyone's homes and be usable by anyone. In Microsoft's mind the goal is one and only one: to allow everyone to access the great modern and past videogame experiences, without limitations dictated by inaccessible costs or physical possibilities.

Phil Spencer expressed himself in this sense in a very clear and decisive way on this aspect: “In the past, several video game companies blocked players on a certain hardware, building walls between the same players. We approached it differently, because we believe that video games are not about hardware or pixels, but about people. "

People, therefore, are the main focus for Phil Spencer's team. Allowing the largest possible number of fans to be able to play video games as they want, with the people they want and above all, where they want. This is why the Xbox ecosystem (PC, Xbox and xCloud) was designed.

A person perhaps prefers to play on PC and choose their preferred settings according to their build. A person wants a living room platform that can guarantee top performance at an average price and will choose Xbox Series X.A person wants a platform to play all the next-gen titles at an affordable price, perhaps sacrificing something visually and will choose Xbox Series S A person is not interested in having a physical device at home, prefers to play without a console or PC and will subscribe to xCloud (where the Series X datacenters are almost complete) to be able to play on TV (a way is being worked to play on non-smart TV), Smartphone, Tablet and any other device that allows it. On this point, Phil Spencer wanted to be clear; "XCloud will never replace consoles and PCs, it will be just another way to enjoy our experiences". In short, the idea is to be able to approach the video game at will, no matter in what way or form. There is still a long way to go, Xbox Series X | S have just come out and there is still a lot of work to be done to improve the streaming service (still in BETA) and continue to invest on the PC side.

What it is important to emphasize that any platform you choose can offer the opportunity to play with your friends through cross-play and above all it can guarantee the same possibilities to anyone, through touch controls, adaptive controllers for people with motor disabilities or simple controllers, mice and keyboards.

Gaming is perfectly aligned and woven into our mission as a company. When it comes to Xbox's mission to bring the joy of the gaming community to everyone on the planet, that's exactly what I'm thinking about: enabling every person, every company on the planet to achieve more. So, as a company Microsoft is focused on gaming and we believe we can play a leading role in the democratization of gaming and the future of large-scale interactive entertainment. - Satya Nadella

The goal of Xbox Game Studios

To convince people to approach the ecosystem, games are trivially needed and Microsoft knows this well, true Achilles' heel of the Xbox One generation. Microsoft has moved, starting in 2018, with a series of important acquisitions, starting with Ninja Theory and reaching Obsidian and especially Bethesda.

Matt Booty, the head of Xbox Game Studios, explained that the idea is to continue investing in studies of different magnitudes, but also in courageous experiences that do not necessarily have to be large, after all, who can ever say that a small intellectual property cannot turn into a great success?

This is why Xbox seems willing to continue acquiring teams of different sizes, so as to increase the number of games in the subscription, but also to offer diversified adventures and different genres: strategic games, narrative titles, shooters, platformers and so on . The goal, with the current 23 studios, is to release a first party game (therefore developed internally by the teams) every quarter, clearly we are talking about pure media and above all the pace must clearly still intensify.

First of all, we are committed to building a large diverse line up of studios that provide a high quality game pipeline. We are committed to creating games that can generate emotion and engagement with our fans. - Matt Booty

This excludes externally designed games for obvious reasons. Xbox Global Publishing is a label that supports external teams in creating exclusive content (games). A clear example is the IP Ori, developed by Moon Studios or Asobo's Microsoft Flight Simulator. This means that we will see other Microsoft-owned titles in the hands of external teams and it is not excluded that further collaborations with other software houses may arise; and it is possible that some of these may already appear during the showcase on Sunday, perhaps starting to review As Dusk Falls.

Matt Booty then underlined how important it is that teams receive not only the necessary support, but also and above all the Microsoft technologies to be able to create innovative and revolutionary games. A clear example, under everyone's eyes, is Microsoft Flight Simulator (evaluated by us with a deserved perfect score) which integrates photorealistic visual impact to a system based on Cloud Azure servers and Bing satellite maps. In short, to achieve everything that was not possible with the premises of Xbox One (Crackdown 3, do you remember?)

Then there is the independent part, fundamental for the Redmond company and on which the investments continue to be continuous (The Ascent, STALKER 2. Scorn, The Medium…). The ID @ Xbox program has earned developers around $ 2 billion with over 2,000 games launched and more on the way.

All games produced are designed to be played from day one on Xbox, xCloud and PC, offering all players the same opportunities and ensuring a certain type of coherence and continuity with the community. Just writing this, it is easy to think of the incredible potential of Halo Infinite, which with its free to play multiplayer could become a real phenomenon along the lines of the already beloved Minecraft.

Xbox Game Pass, as helps developers

Microsoft believes a lot in continuously updated games. The development of titles can now take up to five years and this involves expenses, crunches, various difficulties and stress. According to Matt Booty the titles can be continuously updated over time and already now, in part, it works like this. Xbox Game Pass allows developers to work just that way, greatly reducing work crunch and stress. This does not mean that on day one you can find yourself with an incomplete game, it simply means that a title can be continuously improved in many respects, both from a technical and content point of view. Sea of ​​Thieves is a concrete example and is teaching in this sense.

The desire to release an Xbox Game Studios game every quarter was also born to ensure the time necessary for all studios to develop the better their games and managing to alternate with the outputs at cadence. All this leads to offering on the one hand different games to the community and on the other patience and time to the developers, so as to develop a new title for the next few years.

This is a vision on which we can only be d agreement, as well as the best way to cancel the crunch and improve gaming development in the near future. A future that seems very clear and that puts us in front of more extended development times and higher costs.

Currently, Xbox Game Pass has more than 18 million subscribers (Jez Corden's 23 million has been denied, therefore. At least until further notice) and sees more than 200 titles spanning genres and sizes. A non-subscriber, on average, spends about 50% more than a non-subscriber (data provided to us by Microsoft).

Surely you have wondered, at least once, how developers make money through Xbox Game Pass, well this figure varies continuously and it is impossible to understand how the Xbox team pays the companies that introduce their games within the service. However, it must be said that the subscription considerably increases the sales of games and especially the communities (which are essential for an online title). The introduction of EA Play in Ultimate, led to an increase in game hours on EA titles by 200% on Xbox platforms, yes, you got it, 200%. In addition, Outriders was the most purchased game in April, introducing millions of players, which most likely without Xbox Game Pass would never have reached.

With Game Pass, we are truly redefining the way games are played. they are distributed, played and shared. Content is the driving force behind Game Pass's growth, which is why I'm so excited about our acquisition of ZeniMax, which brings some of the world's most iconic and beloved games to the service.

With the arrival of Game Pass on the browser, the value of the subscription is about to transcend from the console, to the PC, to the mobile. And it's great to see progress. I can't wait to see how we continue to invest in Game Pass to add more content and bring the service to many more geographies as time goes on. - Satya Nadella

What makes you smile is the enormous result of MLB: The Show 21. The PlayStation Studios video game was last year's most successful sports video game, as well as the second in history of all time on Xbox, and thanks to Xbox Game Pass it has brought millions of players closer to the experience.

Second the words of Microsoft, therefore, Xbox Game Pass continues to help companies in the release of their experiences in the subscription, and at the same time continues to enlarge communities and revenues, allowing players to save, perhaps by trying titles they would never have bought otherwise . Think of a few years ago, when Xbox Game Pass wasn't there and maybe interesting video games were coming out, but also rather niche video games that nobody bought, this brought the studio at risk of failure: with Xbox Game Pass, potentially, this could finally end. br>

Inclusiveness in gaming

A few briefing words were also spent on inclusiveness. Microsoft is working to ensure that development studies and videogame experiences are as inclusive as possible and Tell me Why represents a bit of this vision.

Full support, therefore, to the LGBTQ + community, to the genders, to all social classes, territorial origin and so on. We will see, over time, more and more inclusive works, made by studios composed of multicultural people and of all kinds.

Inclusiveness also means allowing players with disabilities to be able to play the titles they prefer and also on there is still a lot of work to be done at this point, but as we have already seen with the Xbox Adaptive Controller and with the new options related to video games, things will change and improve.

At Xbox, our players are at the center of everything we do. When we create games and consoles, we not only deliver our products, but also our culture. Gaming has become the most dynamic form of global entertainment precisely because so many people from all over the world and from different backgrounds can come together and form real bonds. To enable and empower these bonds, welcoming billions of people into a truly global community, we provide tools to help players personalize their experiences, and we are committed to providing a safe and welcoming community for all. - Phil Spencer

What future for Xbox?

“Microsoft has the tools, and most importantly, we have the right team to give everyone the opportunity and complete accessibility to the most exciting and dynamic human entertainment on earth ”- Phil Spencer

and more:

“ Reaching our goal will not be easy, and we have a long way to go. But we believe that only this company, only Microsoft, can bring on a global scale the vast sources of technical innovation, the financial resources and the decades of gaming experience needed to truly bring the joy of gaming to everyone "- Phil Spencer

From the point of view of ideas, the future of Xbox looks bright in all respects, but it is not the first time that we have said it. Several times we have expressed ourselves in this sense, underlining the willingness of the Redmond company to invest in gaming and its growth, trying to bring "the video game" to anyone's devices, without limitations and with maximum accessibility and inclusiveness. However, it must be said that if Xbox Game Pass is proving to be an extremely successful move, on the other hand the absence of important titles is starting to be felt and we hope that the team led by Phil Spencer has planned a great event for Sunday 13 June. . The time of waiting is now over, we need concreteness and solidity, we need experiences that can confirm the beautiful premises of Microsoft; In short, we need games. But time to time, pending this we cannot but admit that the vision conceived by Microsoft could really be the future of gaming, a future that could save a limited present and that is beginning to struggle, also due to unstoppable growth. and the consequent demands of gamers from all over the world.

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