Microsoft could change everything
When it comes to gaming things have pretty much worked the same way for close to 30 years now.
After the Arcades lost their pull in the late ‘80s, the trend quickly became about the console. The NES and Sega back in the day have gradually evolved to the Next Gen machines of today. Sure, a few PC gamers stayed loyal and increasingly mobile phones are becoming a common way to play, but by and large the most popular games are on the consoles.
The games drive everything. That’s why E3 is often highlighted by the most exciting and innovative titles. If you can excite a gamer by cool titles, you’ll get their money pretty consistently.
Like the machines themselves, the way that you get games hasn’t changed much either. Sure, you download them now rather than going to a store to pick up a hard copy, but you still acquire the games that you want by purchasing them as they are released.
That’s a pretty obvious and clear system that likely can’t be improved, right?
But, what if it can be? That essentially was the suggestion of Microsoft during its E3 presentation. And, what was rolled out could fundamentally change the industry.
As we wrote yesterday, Microsoft didn’t really go all out on the game demos. Although Halo Infinite grabbed some headlines, the real news was their plan to go all in on subscription gaming with their XBox Game Pass service.
Starting at $10 USD a month the pass gives you access to over 300 games. Importantly, Microsoft stressed that the marquee titles will be on the service from the day they drop. You can play them immediately, which for many will seem like a better deal than paying about $60 for the title by itself.
Many are calling this the “Netflix of video games” and that description isn’t far off. The service isn’t new — it’s been running since 2017 — but the focus on it is and the commitment to getting new, marquee titles on it immediately has got gamers’ attention.
It allows a gamer to try out titles without the sense of commitment of buying a game outright, which, in turn, takes the pressure off Microsoft to drive hype for games that may not be ready yet — like Halo Infinite last summer. By taking a bit of the pressure off the developers they can make sure that the games are ready to be released when they are released.
It might mean that there are fewer monster releases that seemingly everyone is discovering at the same time, however. That’s a lose, but the variety and ease of discovery the model will provide should make up for this.
Microsoft might be trailing in Next Gen sales right now, but, in the end they might be onto something completely different and better that might change how the whole ecosystem works.
And, that’s more exciting than any single game.