One of the big takeaways from 2018 was Microsoft finally understanding the value of having a dedicated roster of first party studios under their wings, which can create compelling content exclusive to their platforms and services, in a bid to them pushing those platforms and services to customers.
At this point, Microsoft Game Studios comprises of over a dozen studios, technically giving Microsoft a formidable arsenal of developers under their wings. However, they might not be done yet. At least, not according to what IDC Analyst Lewis Ward has to say. In an exclusive interview with GamingBolt, he said that it is now clear Microsoft is looking to push exclusives for its devices, and that they will continue with acquisitions to cover all the gaps in their portfolio.
“Well Microsoft doesn’t still have as large a game developer base as either Sony or Nintendo even after these acquisitions, as far as I can tell. This is a signal that Microsoft wants to put out more exclusives for Win10 devices moving forward and we’ll likely see more acquisitions as they continue to bolster their first party lineup by plugging “holes” in genres and subgenres they think will grow relatively quickly over time,” he said.
He also said that he sees Microsoft finally embracing virtual reality on consoles next generation, via their Mixed Reality initiative that they have otherwise pushed on Windows 10 PCs.
“Microsoft wants to be more of enabler for other Win10-based hardware and software providers,” he said. “There’s no reason Xbox One X can’t play Windows Mixed Reality games right now. I’m not sure why Microsoft hasn’t pulled that trigger on that, but they’ll very likely be in this space with their next-gen console. The bottom line is that while a lot of people are still down on VR, I expect 2018 global spending on off-the-shelf software, which is primarily games, on all platforms (consoles, PCs and mobile devices), to roughly double up 2017’s spending total, and wind up in the $1 billion range this year.”
Given that VR is finally beginning to come into its own—Astro Bot and Moss are amazing killer apps that have finally begun to push sales for the format—I can see Microsoft definitely try to push their way into this market segment come next gen. That said, they may equally well decide to forego that, and simply focus on providing a pure console experience with the Xbox Scarlett. It’s hard to know for now—we’ll just have to wait and see how things go.
If you want to see more about what analysts think 2019 will go like for gaming, make sure to check out predictions from some of them on what system will come out on top this year.