Microsoft’s Game Pass has been in the news a great deal lately, most notably because of all the reports that suggest that the subscription service could be headed to the Nintendo Switch, of all places. And while Microsoft themselves have kept mostly quiet about said reports and rumours, recent statements made by Xbox boss Phil Spencer (via GeekWire) suggest that such an initiative is exactly where the company is looking to take its business strategy in the future.
Basically, Microsoft wants Game Pass on every device that people can possibly play games on. “We want to bring Game Pass to any device that somebody wants to play on,” said Spencer in a tour of Microsoft’s gaming facilities in Redmond. “Not just because it’s our business, but really because the business model allows for people to consume and find games that they wouldn’t have played in any other space.”
According to Microsoft, the possibility of their hardware sales being cannibalized is not a concern, because hardware sales are, in their view, not their primary way of making money anyway. “That is not where you make money,” said Spencer. “The business inside of games is really selling games, and selling access to games and content in means like that is the fundamental business. So if you open it up, the more often people can play, the more they’re enjoying the art form. It increases the size of the business.”
Kareem Choudhry, corporate vice president of gaming cloud for Microsoft, agrees with that assertion. “We know we aren’t going to sell 2 billion consoles, and there are a lot of markets around the world where a console is not necessarily part of the lifestyle,” he said.
Microsoft’s ambitions to become “the Netflix of gaming” are well-known to everyone by now, and it stands to reason that opening up their subscription services on as many platforms as possible would be in line with that, to make room for an ever-increasing number of potential consumers. In fact, If reports are to be believed, they looked into bringing Game Pass to the PS4 as well.
And surely, that business model would stand to benefit Microsoft immensely, just as much as it would, say, Nintendo, or any other platform that allows Game Pass support.