Xbox Game Pass is unlikely to increase in price in the near future

Game Pass was marketed on stage at the Xbox showcase during E3 2019.

Screenshots: Microsoft / Kotaku

Game Pass has never been more popularand after Microsoft revealed the plan buy Activision Blizzard and adding some of that company’s biggest games to the service, the Game Pass subscription price hike has never felt more certain. However, new Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer recently attempted to allay those fears, while discussing the future of Xbox, exclusivity, and its goal of bringing games like Starfield and Candy Crush to more people than ever before.

Spencer’s comments came as part of a wide-ranging interview with Axios‘game newsletter’ in which he was asked about the positive reputation he has earned among gamers in recent years, and what skeptics think the idea of ​​a benevolent Microsoft is too good to be true. Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft’s Netflix-like buffet, has been at the center of those debates. As Microsoft ramps up the service with more and more popular franchises from its major acquisitions, it seems all but inevitable that it will pressure Netflix-like subscribers. , Amazon and others did.

“I feel like I can’t prove this negative,” Spencer told Axios‘Stephen Totilo’. “[People ask] When will the Game Pass price increase? ‘They’re buying all these studios. You know, it’s inevitable. ‘ Whatever it was, now, four years we haven’t raised it. But it was like, “You know, it’s coming” “When they’re number one, they’re going to start doing all those exclusive deals, you know, Xbox has history” and all that. What I can do is take the decisions that are ahead of us and try to be clear about what our goals are. “

Those goals include the realization of StarfieldDirected by Skyrim and Fallout 4by Todd Howard, “the most played Todd Howard game ever.” It was a high order—Skyrim has sold 30 million copies — and also seems to contradict the fact that Microsoft is doing Starfield an Xbox console exclusive, a move that Pete Hines own Bethesda sorry for.

It remains to be seen if the series is about to be acquired like Diablo, Overwatchand Call of Duty will also become a monopoly at some point. Microsoft repeat today that it will honor”all existing deals“With other platforms, but continuing to use confusing language, does not completely eliminate exclusivity in the future.

On the topic of platform exclusivity, Spencer said Axios, “Well, the specific question was, ‘Hey, there’s only one place where I want to play the game. And if that game doesn’t end up in a place where I want to play but has unique business requirements for me as a creator… those people can play those games… They would just say, ‘I choose not, because it’s not on a device [they care to own]… ‘So I understand that. “

Spencer said a lot of things about game exclusivity in recent years, and most of them seem to have switched to a version of “business is business”. There is a clear contradiction between the dual identity of the Microsoft Gaming CEO about longtime player and longtime game moderator, and it doesn’t seem to be lost on Spencer. In recent months he retreat to his fiduciary duties to avoid tough questions.

“Clearly our position is not to judge who is the CEO [of other game companies] is, ‘Spencer’ said last month when asked if Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick should be punished in some way for his years of alleged workplace misconduct under his supervision. “CEOs are chosen by shareholders and the board of directors.”

Spencer uses a similar line with Axios. “There’s shareholders, there’s a board and an executive team,” he said when asked about whether Microsoft’s $68.7 billion acquisition was a reward for bad behavior by Microsoft. Kotick or not. “And I have no role in that… I’m not trying to shirk responsibility. It’s another company. ”

The record acquisition is supposed to be completed by June 2023, but there’s still plenty left potential barrier it must clear before that happens. One of them is the Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust review. Microsoft launch its lobbying efforts today by announcing the guidelines for a more open app store in an effort to start winning over regulators. The future of console game exclusivity and how Microsoft manages its burgeoning Game Pass empire will play a huge part in how those talks play out. Xbox Game Pass is unlikely to increase in price in the near future

James Brien

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