Microsoft wants its subscriptions everywhere, including PlayStation and Nintendo hardware

Daniel Sims

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In context: Microsoft has increasingly oriented its gaming business around subscription services rather than consoles in recent years. A recent statement from the company could push the strategy toward its logical conclusion, where Microsoft games and services become more and more available on rival hardware.

Microsoft recently expressed its desire to bring its subscription services to as many screens and devices as possible, including PlayStation and Nintendo platforms. The strategy is to take full advantage of subscriptions, including Game Pass, which return higher profit margins than traditional retail game sales.

Xbox CFO Tim Stuart laid out the plan during a Wells Fargo TMT Summit conference call this week. While discussing Microsoft's recent acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Stuart said the company's mission is to bring its first-party experiences and subscription services to every screen that can play games. He mentioned mobile devices, smart TVs, and competitors like Nintendo and PlayStation.

Microsoft's focus on Game Pass leans toward a hardware-agnostic strategy, as it allows subscribers to play games across Xbox consoles and PCs. The service also includes Xbox Cloud Gaming, which is now available through mobile devices and smart TVs. The cloud service would likely expand to more devices before Game Pass and Microsoft's in-house titles.

However, Stuart wasn't only referring to games developed by the company's studios like Halo, Forza Motorsport, or Microsoft Flight Simulator. The companies Microsoft has purchased, including Mojang and Activision Blizzard, make popular games on various platforms, and Microsoft has pledged to continue supporting such titles on rival hardware.

When Sony expressed concern that its competitor in the console space could restrict the immensely successful Call of Duty franchise to Xbox, Microsoft pledged to keep releasing new entries on PlayStation and, eventually, Nintendo devices. The agreement will likely be similar to the company's treatment of Minecraft, which continues to thrive on all consoles and mobile devices.

Mobile is one of the primary drivers behind the acquisition of Activision Blizzard, which includes mobile game maker King. Stuart mentioned Candy Crush, one of King's most popular titles. The CFO also highlighted Call of Duty Mobile as an example of how Microsoft could utilize that IP.

World of Warcraft is another subscription service Stuart cited that the company now owns and could theoretically bring to multiple platforms.

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They will continue throwing money on all possible studios to increase leverage on Sony and Nintendo to give in, and fully embrace monopoly. They are set so many on push their service everywhere it is just silly.
 
I mean, yeah. If you were paying attention even a little (unlike the people who think the console wars are still a thing), you'd know this. MS has tripled down on software (over hardware).
 
Seems like the exclusives era will now be subscription bound, not console bound anymore. People complain about monopoly but if we get the opportunity to have any and every game subscription service in any console that would bring more competition in both software and hardware front for consoles, that would make console hardware go in another direction. It would bring more competition, not less. One company that would really be home at this scenario would be Nintendo, their games would run on any current gen console.
 
Cool.

Except I'm often on the verge of cancelling my GP sub (nm actually having done so several times in 4 years) due to they having nothing for me that I don't already own or can't access via PS+. Literally the only use for GP in years that's been more than a few hours casual enjoyment has been Starfield, and I'm already done with that for a while (until DLC and modding gets better, at which point I'll buy it outright on sale and transfer any saves I want to keep) At least PS+ has some exclusives not yet on PC and/or going back 2-3 gens that I missed out on.

As for the idea of MS subs for everything, everywhere... *shudders.
 
Seems like the exclusives era will now be subscription bound, not console bound anymore. People complain about monopoly but if we get the opportunity to have any and every game subscription service in any console that would bring more competition in both software and hardware front for consoles, that would make console hardware go in another direction. It would bring more competition, not less. One company that would really be home at this scenario would be Nintendo, their games would run on any current gen console.
Nintendo is outselling MS and sony combined, why would they want to dilute that market control?

MS is saying this for the same reason they switched to embracing cross platform and backwards compatibility: they are getting the snot kicked out of them. The xbox isnt selling nearly as well as playstation, for the second gen in a row, and sales decreases are hitting them much harder.
 
Nintendo is outselling MS and sony combined, why would they want to dilute that market control?

MS is saying this for the same reason they switched to embracing cross platform and backwards compatibility: they are getting the snot kicked out of them. The xbox isnt selling nearly as well as playstation, for the second gen in a row, and sales decreases are hitting them much harder.

Because that would allow Nintendo to expand further too. If MS and Sony let each other land their subscription plans on each other console that would expand MS/Sony subscription reach. I don't think Nintendo would stay outside this opportunity.
 
Because that would allow Nintendo to expand further too. If MS and Sony let each other land their subscription plans on each other console that would expand MS/Sony subscription reach. I don't think Nintendo would stay outside this opportunity.
Since Gamepass started pushing PC as well, xbox sales have collapsed. Unlike MS, nintendo makes a profit on its hardware sales. Tanking sales of nintendo hardware for game subscriptions would hurt them.

Is it really worth doing that for a few million xbox players? How many owners of an xbox/playstation also have a switch? These are not separate pies nor are they a guarantee of success. This would ALSO require nintendo build their games for other platforms, and additional cost to support, something they dont need to do now.

Same with sony. Why would they give up console exclusivity to gain subs for a tiny market? PS marketshare is 2-3x the xbox right now. They already publish games on PC a few years after console, so they have that market on tap. the switch is too weak to play PS5 games, so there is no market available there.

MS is desperate, because the xbox division is floundering. Nintendo isnt, and doesnt need to get desperate. Same with sony.
 
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