Cloud gaming is in our future. With Google Stadia coming later this year, Sony investing more in game streaming, and Microsoft doubling down on the value of Xbox Game Pass, it’s an inevitable turn that the industry is going to make. Now imagine not being locked into a specific console, but having exclusives based on which service you’re subscribed to. Halo on your PlayStation? That’s the kind of future that Microsoft wants.
Microsoft’s head of gaming services, Ben Decker, spoke to GameReactor at gamescom 2019 about what’s in store for Xbox Game Pass and where the company wants to take this service. Eventually the goal would be to bring the subscription to all platforms, which would include its primary competitor, PlayStation.
Decker said “You know, we would like to see Game Pass on all platforms ultimately, and I think that is a long-term goal. We don’t have any specific plans today, but we would love to see Game Pass really go everywhere.”
Decker’s response is a purely visionary one, so don’t expect to see Xbox Game Pass pop up on your PS4 home screen anytime soon, but his response does lend a lot of weight to the idea that physical boxes are becoming less important. We’re heading into an era where consoles will be just as much defined by their ecosystem and subscriptions as they are the actual physical piece of hardware (ie. Consoles as a Service).
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Xbox Game Pass is a subscription service that allows subscribers to play a bunch of games on their Xbox consoles and Windows PCs for a monthly fee. It’s similar to the PlayStation Now, both services that have been loosely defined as the “Netflix of games,” though each have their own notable differences from the streaming video service (one of which is currently being very limited to what platforms you can use them on).
With this vision, Microsoft understands that by offering its services on competing platforms, it can potentially bring subscribers into the Xbox ecosystem that would otherwise stick with other consoles. The company is already making these kinds of moves with PC by offering Xbox Game Pass for Windows, enticing those mouse and keyboard players. With things like Cross Save, cross-play, and even a cloud-based partnership between Microsoft and Sony becoming more and more common, traditional platform barriers are rapidly breaking down, and we could potentially see an Xbox exclusive on PlayStation sooner than you think.