business news Xbox Everywhere: up to 3 billion players for Microsoft?
On May 5, 2022, Microsoft officially launched Fortnite on xCloud in partnership with Epic Games. The Redmond-based company took advantage of this surprise announcement to publish a press release on “Xbox Everywhere,” a strategy to let gamers enjoy the games they want, with whom they want, on the devices they want. . This isn’t the first time the software giant has repeated this mantra, but a month after the Xbox & Bethesda Showcase 2022, Phil Spencer and his team are getting ready to step up their act. Target? Just reach 3 billion players.
Stagnant equipment, rising cloud
Moreover, Microsoft’s desire is not new. This need to no longer be burdened by hardware to run an Xbox game certainly goes back to 2013 when experiments have been carried out on Halo 4 to make it available on smartphones thanks to “cloud power“. In 2018, Phil Spencer, Vice President of Games at Xbox, disclosed during E3 that a game streaming service is in development and that it will provide access”to console-quality games on any device“. A teaser that went unnoticed due to the announcement of the acquisition of Ninja Theory a few minutes earlier. Two years later, he clarified that his competitors were no longer Sony or Nintendo, but Google and Amazon, specialists in cloud computing. Remarks that obviously sparked controversy but nonetheless reflected Microsoft’s new Xbox policy of relying on the group’s most promising segments to win the lucrative services war.. At Microsoft, that meant betting on Azure, a cloud platform that boasts of being the engine of the company’s annual results.
“In the world, only 200 or 250 million households are interested in video games on consoles. This remains less than 10% of the three billion players. We have to look for users where they are, i.e. on mobile devices and on other screens or devices.Phil Spencer said last year ahead of Showcase 2021. Tim Stewart, the brand’s chief financial officer, explained that the effort will be on PC and mobile. He clarified that financiallythe growing importance of income (…) from services“made a game”less dependent (…) on consoles“. For decades, we’ve measured a manufacturer’s success by one metric: console sales in stores around the world. This should no longer be a sufficient indicator in the next few years.. In addition, Flight Simulator is a great example of a successful partnership between different parts of Microsoft, in this case Azure and Bing. Asobo’s creation also became the most popular work in the cloud across mobile, PC and consoles in March 2022.
Xbox everywhere, competition nowhere?
Hitting hard and fast, first with Game Pass and then xCloud (long reserved for Ultimate customers), Microsoft now has 25 million subscribers (+39% in one year). Among them, more than 10 million users have tried game streaming through Game Pass Ultimate. Microsoft wants this number to grow quickly in order to leave competitors as little chance as possible.. That’s why a group led by Satya Nadella completed its acquisition of Bethesda last year and plans to acquire Activision Blizzard. The software specialist wants to deliver the games players expect to Game Pass as often as possible. With the prospect of expanding the impact of their services. As a reminder, the best-selling PlayStation game of 2021 is none other than Call of Duty: Vanguard. While Sony is correcting its PlayStation Plus offering, no industrial giant today offers “netflix video game” better built than Microsoft. According to Ampere Analysis, Game Pass will account for 60% of the video game subscription services market in Europe and North America, compared to 7% for PlayStation Now.
Xbox wants to grow quickly in a sector where the brand has all the cards thanks to its parent company’s cloud expertise. The levers for maximum growth, of course, are not only the content, but also the number of territories providing access to services.. March 29, 2022 Redmond threw Game Pass PC (in preview) in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Phil Spencer teams recently opened up cloud gaming to Mexican, Japanese and Brazilian gamers, increasing the number of territories connected to xCloud up to 26. For its part, Sony announced that around 30 countries will soon have access to game streaming via the cloud thanks to the addition of Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Romania. , Slovakia and Slovenia. As a reminder, the Japanese manufacturer only offers the game via streaming on consoles (PS4, PS5) and PC. However, PS5 games cannot be played in the cloud, unlike Xbox Series X|S apps with Microsoft offerings.
Think out of the box (X)
Until now, game streaming within the Xbox ecosystem has only been offered to Game Pass Ultimate subscribers for certain games in the catalog. On May 5, 2022, Microsoft first made an unofficial game playable with Fortnite. This means that anyone with an iOS device, an Android mobile device, or a Windows PC without an Xbox Live Gold or Game Pass subscription can play Fortnite via the cloud. In addition, this process allows Apple device owners to enjoy the Epic Games software. Save 30% off “apple tax” is communicated to users through a price reduction that applies to all purchases made on xCloud, regardless of the platform used to access it. By showing us that it’s possible to enjoy Xbox games on machines/devices other than Xbox consoles, the Redmond-based company proves to us that a Game Pass subscription is no longer required to enjoy the benefits of the cloud.. It wouldn’t be surprising if other free-to-play games took advantage of this cloud boost with Rocket League, Call of Duty: Warzone, Phantasy Star Online: New Genesis and, logically, Halo Infinite.
In its official press release, Microsoft recalls that in less than two years, over 125 developers have been working to make over 350 Xbox Game Pass games compatible in the cloud. These versions, meant to be played on mobile devices, often feature touch controls. The American giant admits that 20% of xCloud users do not use any specific accessory to play, and therefore it is important to democratize the touch interface. Since September 2021, when xCloud debuted in beta, the Redmond-based firm has undoubtedly gained experience. Little by little, the Xbox brand has moved beyond living rooms. It arrives in offices with PCs, in pockets with iOS or Android devices, in backpacks with Steam Deck… and soon connected TVs.. The noise in the hallway is even reminiscent of the appearance of an HDMI dongle to connect to a TV to enjoy Xbox cloud gaming without having the real Xbox connected to the screen.
After Xbox Play Anywhere, it’s time for Xbox Everywhere. The American giant, recognized as the best publisher of 2021 by Metacritic, knows that it has an army of studios capable of releasing games in different genres, able to appeal to players with different profiles. If Microsoft manages to complete the acquisition of Activision Blizzar, the number of Game Pass subscribers could grow significantly. Of course, this bright future that is heralded for Phil Spencer’s teams will only come about if technology and content follow. When the Xbox Live crash has left the cloud unreachable for millions of subscribers, it’s best to keep your cool.
By Carnbyjeuxvideo.com journalist