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There's no denying: Xbox has got its mojo back

E3
E3 (Image credit: Windows Central)

For years it felt like Xbox was on the back foot against the competition, but armed with two financial quarters of growth, it seems like Xbox has finally turned its fortunes around.

The PR disaster that was the Xbox One's launch back in 2013 now seems like a distant memory, with Microsoft shaking off its missteps and building a platform that ultimately put core customers first, with a renewed focus on games, but perhaps even more importantly, value. The Xbox One was notorious for being $100 more expensive than the PlayStation 4, while also being less powerful, owing to the forced inclusion of Kinect. Now, it's difficult for even the biggest Microsoft haters to deny the value proposition being offered by the affordable Xbox Series S, feature-filled Xbox Series X, both in combination with the wildly successful Xbox Game Pass subscription service.

Simply put, there's no denying it: Xbox has got its mojo back, and for Xbox fans and customers, things are only going to get better from here.

Microsoft FY22 Q3 earnings

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

For several quarters now, Xbox has shown nothing but growth in all of its key performance indicators. In an investors call on April 26, Microsoft outlined how Xbox was up 6% year over year, buoyed by an impressive 14% increase in hardware sales. Microsoft exec Frank Shaw tweeted about how Xbox had begun leading the pack over its competitors for sales in the past quarter, while noting that Xbox was taking a larger share of the console market in the process.

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Microsoft also specifically cited Xbox Game Pass for growth in its content segment, offsetting a decline in third-party sales. That can most likely be blamed on games like Call of Duty, which has lost millions of players over the past year, according to Activision's shareholder reports. It also potentially factors in the reduced attention being paid to the pandemic, with lockdowns lifting across the Western world.

This comes hot on the heels of various other positive Xbox fiscal news over the past few months. PC Game Pass has been expanding to various new markets, Xbox Cloud Gaming revealed that it has served over 10 million players, and Xbox is seeing rapid growth in Japan, outselling the Xbox One's lifetime sales in a single year. Game Pass usage in general is also up 45% year over year.

How is Microsoft achieving all of this, despite challenging supply chain constraints, and incredibly aggressive competition at every angle?

The right recipe for the right time

Xbox Series S

Source: Matt Brown | Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Matt Brown | Windows Central)

There are multiple factors feeding into Microsoft's recent success with Xbox, but the refocus on gaming and gamers is undoubtedly what's the driving force at play. Reducing the barriers to entry has become central to Microsoft's strategy for gaming, and frankly all of its products, following the democratization of Microsoft Office over a decade ago.

Famously, former CEO Steve Ballmer held out on bringing Microsoft Office to iPhones and iPad for the longest time, to the detriment of the service. Eventually, Microsoft relented, completely changing its philosophy to chase consumers where they are, as opposed to forcing them into a walled garden a la Apple. Thanks to Microsoft's cloud investments, they're able to do this at a scale few others can compete with, and the fruits are blossoming across the entire ecosystem.

I suspect Microsoft will push even further to reduce barriers to the Xbox ecosystem in the future.

Microsoft is reducing the barriers of access to its gaming ecosystem more rapidly than its competitors. While PlayStation has only just started to bring its games to PC, Microsoft has been doing it for years, steadily building up its pipelines and visibility on Steam.

Microsoft is also aggressively exploring lower price points for practically all of its hardware and services, launching the $299 Xbox Series S alongside the 4K-optimized $499 Xbox Series X, giving consumers a companion console option that can provide current-gen like speeds and frame rates, particularly useful for those who don't want to invest in a 4K display. Programs like Xbox All Access also knock down the barriers to the Xbox ecosystem, allowing consumers to finance a console over several months.

Xbox Game Pass

Source: Matt Brown | Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Matt Brown | Windows Central)

The tip of the spear is undoubtedly Xbox Game Pass itself, which provides access to hundreds of games for a low monthly fee, while also sporting the promise of all of Xbox's published titles on day one, for the most part permanently. This includes the promise of future Bethesda titles like Starfield, Elder Scrolls, and Fallout, and may also include Activision Blizzard games too, like Diablo and Call of Duty, if Microsoft's acquisition attempt goes through. Xbox Cloud Gaming also brings all of these titles to mobile devices, meaning you don't need to grab a console or gaming PC at all to enjoy many of these titles, if your connection is up to it.

Xbox Game Pass truly is the best deal in gaming, and as a child of one of England's most economically deprived counties, a service like Xbox Game Pass would have transformed my access to games, at a time when buying one game per year was a financially difficult decision for my parents. Microsoft is meeting the challenge posed by free-to-play mobile games and other platforms by finding players where they are, reducing barriers, and increasing value, at every possible opportunity. I suspect Microsoft will push even further to reduce barriers to the Xbox ecosystem in the future, with things like an Xbox Game Pass Family Plan, and even perhaps the oft-expected removal of the Xbox Live Gold paywall for multiplayer on Xbox Live.

It's only going to get better

Xbox Game Studios Buys Zenimax Media Bethesda

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

While things are undoubtedly on the up and up, there's still work to be done. It's no secret that Microsoft itself has struggled to meet quality expectations for homegrown games, and in some ways continues to struggle.

Make no mistake: The vast, raw potential across Microsoft's gaming ecosystem is nowhere near hitting full speed yet.

Halo Infinite, which should be Xbox's flagship game, garnered positive critical reception at launch, but the post-launch support across its free-to-play multiplayer service, thus far, has been utterly dismal. Microsoft was actually the highest-rated publisher on Metacritic last year, and has had some big success stories like Forza Horizon 5 and Age of Empires IV, alongside ongoing services like Minecraft and Sea of Thieves.

That said, if you go by engagement stats and viewership on platforms like Twitch, Xbox still has some way to go to gain the kind of prestige that publishers like Tencent enjoy on PC and mobile, or meet the raw quality of Nintendo and PlayStation's top-flight games. As of writing, Halo Infinite has fewer viewers on Twitch than some of Blizzard's least-supported games, like Heroes of the Storm, and the widely panned Warcraft III: Reforged remaster, although it should pick up with the launch of Halo Infinite Season 3.

Xbox Activision Blizzard

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

Of course, Microsoft is taking steps to shore up its weaker areas. If it lands its mammoth acquisition effort for Activision Blizzard, Xbox will have solved its prestige problem on mobile and PC with one fell swoop, gaining franchises like Hearthstone, Warcraft, Diablo, Call of Duty, and many other famed franchises on top. On console, Bethesda and ZeniMax's studios are set to start doing a lot of heavy lifting too, with Starfield set to launch in 2022, with titles from developers responsible for DOOM, Wolfenstein, Dishonored, and more, waiting in the wings. Microsoft is also investing more than ever in growing its internal Xbox Games Studio teams, from Undead Labs, to Compulsion Games, with renewed publishing outreach efforts that focus on cloud, and the Japanese market. All of this disregards how much Microsoft has grown its developer tools as well, across Azure PlayFab, and Game Stack.

Make no mistake: The vast, raw potential across Microsoft's gaming ecosystem is nowhere near hitting full speed yet. The next few years are going to be a truly wild ride.

Jez Corden is a Senior Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

35 Comments
  • Halo is my favorite franchise of all time, but Halo Infinite is my least favorite Halo game ever. There are lots of problems with it, many fixable, but the biggest problem pretty much isn't: the gameplay. It's a huge step back from Halo 5's phenomenal gameplay, particularly its superb movement and balance. In contrast, by stripping out dynamic movement capabilities like thrusters, stabilizers, and Ground Pound that were standard issued and and, instead, replacing them with way more obnoxious movement capabilities like the Grapple shot or Repulsor and, fatally, tying them to on-map pickups, they created an impossible-to-balance game that feels simultaneously outdated and limiting but also anti-competitively imbalanced, and which also has detrimental ripple effects on map design as well compared to Halo 5. Unfortunately, they took 6 years to make the game and now claim to be on a 10-year-plan, which means it could be 16 years between the more modern-feeling Halo 5 and a new Halo game that builds on that. That's far too long of a gap and could ultimately kill the entire franchise. If you're going to experiment with regressive gameplay like in Infinite, it would've been far better to stick with the standard 3-year development cycle. Very disappointing and worrisome.
  • I respect your opinion and disagree about the gameplay being outdated.
  • Gotta say, highest unit and revenue in Xbox history while the industry as a whole dropped due to shortage, means, while shortage is real, it is not as bad as the competitors.
  • This remarkable turnaround of XBOX is all thanks to the big man Phil Spencer himself, the one and only. His motto of making games available to as many gamers at affordable and reasonable prices is why Xbox is currently so successful. Gamepass was the big turnaround and even with PS coming with their alternative service to Gamepass arrogantly refuses to add 1st party exclusives on day one release on their service, just goes to show how far ahead Xbox currently is. And with many Xbox 1st party exclusives on the way, including the amazing Starfield in November and STalker 2 in December (if the war in Ukraine don't cause a further delay), amazing times are ahead for Xbox gamers.
  • The Series S, game pass and and the shortages affecting Sony are all together helping the Xbox brand grow.
  • Playstation is so many steps behind and lagging so much in a philosophy that's hard for them to change (remember that whole BS "virtuous circle" of them charging 70 bucks for games?) that they should be worried that their fans suddenly notice they're being mistreated, not to say ripped off. You can make just so many sequels for proven game franchises until even fans realize they're all the same game.
  • You just hit the nail.
    There is such a thing as franchise fatigue, as proven by the travails of Battlefield 2042, COD: Vanguard, and ASSASIN'S CREED. The exception are the EA sports games...for now. And that is Sony's weakness vis a vis Gamepass. Sony has a few popular franchises but underneath the graphics and marketing they're the same game: third party action games with a *fixed* narrative. The nsrrative varies, the gameplay not as much. And most are one and done with limited replayability. A ten year SKYRIM they're not. Their own developers have warned of the dangers of focusing on their signature games at the expense of everything else. Sony's strength is their weakness in the new era: Playstation-only exclusivity. Because they clung so tightly to tbat mantra they are late to the PC market, they had to spend billions to secure a good live service game (and it's crossplat), they only now are starting up a formal game preservation team to monetize their back catalog, and their Spartacus is just a reshuffling/rebranding of their existing services, and they want to charge for backwards compatibility. They desperately need to grow their cashflow but they can't afford to do day one; the added revenue won't offset the lost launch window sales. In that tbey are right. XBOX has more franchises in more game categories and more live games and more cash streams. They don't need to do annualized games and don't want to; as we move forward, MS will be able to address most of the game categories regularly with multiple franchises and since their IP list is so big they *have* to alternate releases to avoid self-cannibalization. They don't live or die by new release sales; the long tail of gamepass makes up for any upfront losses. The biggest risk for Sony is tbat current gen games that fully exploit the hardware are very expensive and take longer to properly produce. Even at $70 they may not generate enough cashflow off PS5 game sales to fund future games, as they have publicly stated they need to do. Hence their reluctance to do day one and belated move to PC and (back) to live service. MS has changed tbe rules of tbe game by switching to selling gaming instead of just selling games. They have more ways to make money including the sunk-cost BC games and can address a broader base of gamers, from simulator fans to shooter and wrpg fans to family games. And above all, tbey have a predictable guaranteed cash flow from the subscriptions. A failed game (and there will be a few) won't kill them. Sony can't afford to have a new release thud. MS is still behind in console installed base but it isn't just leading in monthly sales but in guaranteed cashflow. Over time that will be tbe defining element of this generation. And Gamepass is just getting started. The big boost to come is consoless-less cloud gaming on TVs. That will let them break away.
  • Very well put! Sony's stubborness and lack of vision had them entrenching in choices that froze them in time. And they took those decisions on a full pocket from a string of hits on PS4. But that won't last forever, and it's starting to show. I honestly predict they will suffer from them in the coming years. As you said, Destiny is not enough. They're desperate to change and make living online games, but they're already behind and it will take some years for them to catch up. Let's just list all of their damning choices for future reference: - Being adamantly against crossplay until very recently
    - Focusing on single player
    - Not having Game Pass, and then when renewing their stuff, not being on par with it to not risk losing their first party releases bringing money at 70 bucks (they really don't know how to get out of their "virtuous circle"!)
    - Failure to get PS5 on the player's hands
    - Still releasing flagship games for PS4, due to previous point
    - Charging for upgrades to games in one way or the other (sometimes disguised as a re-release)
    - Making people angry by their aggressive exclusivity deals (Spiderman on Avengers is the best example, also Square and Capcom).
    - Relying on tech gimmicks like the new rumble controller which we all know will die off soon
    - PS5 design is terrible from every standpoint
    - Their cloud streaming game is way behind xcloud and seen as a joke
  • Add the latest catfight, from yesterday: refusal to honor PS Plus prepay cards. https://www.gamespot.com/articles/sony-confirms-that-its-blocking-ps-plu... Not a biggie but tone deaf to annoy your most loyal fans for a few bucks. Are they that hard up? By contrast, when XBOX ended the Gold year prepay cards they honored all the ones still out. And for a while you could switch to Gamepass Ultimate from Gold on a month for month basis, instead of a dollar for dollar. Not sure if they still do but I did: got a year of Ultimate for a year of gold.
  • i bought a number of books on the microsoft store. read them and enjoyed them. Bought books for several years. The reader on windows was better than kindle using amazon books. but MSFT stopped selling books. They refunded all my money for all the books I bought. I never understood why. I guess this meant i would not be able to access the books from the site if i bought a new computer. So they gave me my money back. They also gave me a $50 store credit for the Invoke speakers I bought when they canceled Cortana. How I wish Cortana would retrun to life.
  • MSReader is still sorely missed.
    As is Windows CE
    MS biggest failures mostly stem from failing to stick long enough with an effort tbat doesn't explode out of the gate. Nadella seems to have changed that since GamePass, for one, is a ten year move that woukd have been cancelled already under Balmer.
    It probably won't hit its stride until '24-'25 when the 42 studios are all producing but when it does the real whining begins.
  • I miss Cortana too. Natural sounding. Had a personality. Of course before MS lobotomized her.
  • Also, one of Sony's biggest issues is their own "Entertainment" division (the one that produces and distributes Movies and Media for TV/Music/Video.)
    It has a "Death Grip" on everything Sony and dictates to the Gaming division (and every other division) what they can and cannot publish and distribute. This severely limits the choices that the Gaming Division can make. (i.e. If Sony Entertainment does not publish it, they CANNOT distribute it.) This has given them a few big wins (Spiderman) but blocks everything else (notice how fast the "Uncharted" movie sank out of sight?)
    The other built-in was the cultural domination of the Japanese MORPG market, which, up to this time Sony had a complete lock on, but that is now crumbling away too.
    Microsoft on the other hand has no such limitations. They also have massive cash-flow that allows them to do deals like the Activision deal at will, and when the Cloud-Gaming directly on TV market explodes in the fall, Sony will be restricted (once again due to the Entertainment Division's dictates) to only run on very expensive SONY TVs.
    Will this be the end of Sony?
    Hardly.
    They are waaay too big and diversified and they have the entire Japanese Government to prop them up (as it has in the past) but I think this is the death-knell for any kind of PS6 product.
    They will move to "Cloud-on-TV" via streaming services (and may even support MS GamePass if the money is right) to survive.
    As for Microsoft Xbox? I suspect something is in the works with their Samsung partnership to embed "Gamepass Streaming" into their (and other TV manufacturers) products natively. They may still product a XBOX NEXT for the hardcore gamers, but that will be a minor product with them leaning on their Azure Infrastructure for all future gaming needs.
  • Sony survived the disaster that was the PS3 launch even though it ate up all tbe profits of tbe entire PS2 generation. Their fans are LOYAL!!
    That will keep them afloat.
    But outselling XBOX consoles 2:1 is never again. And XBOX should be out-earning Playstaton, generation wide, by 2023. If not sooner.
    After all, 25-30M Gamepass subscribers at $10-15 each (not reported by NPD, et al) on top of what *is* reported is a solid cashflow.
  • and look for that Gamepass revenue to explode once they announce their "Native on TV" version that also has Xbox Wireless built-in for BOTH controllers and headsets, with multiple TV manufacturers onboard in the fall of 2022. I expect Gamepass to DOUBLE it's membership after that happens, and the revenue stream will only increase beyond that. Nadella's big bet on the Azure Infrastructure in 2015 and the promotion of Phil Spencer to run Xbox Division are turning out to be the best moves by Microsoft since Windows 95. Yes, we lost Windows Phone in the process (sniff) but look what we got in return!
  • It's like watching a good caper movie.
    Or, As Hannibal Smith used to say, "You gotta love it when a plan comes together." 😆 Minor point: MS bet on Azure when they named Ray Ozzie as Chief Architect in 2005. AZURE itself was announced in 2008. Everything since then (Office 365, Windows 365, and GamePass) follows his vision from the October 2005 memo. It should carry MS through 2030. Cloud + subscription. After that? TBD. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Ozzie#:~:text=Raymond "Ray" Ozzie %28born November 20%2C 1955%29 is,Notes %28formerly IBM Notes and Lotus Notes%29. Contents Seriously impressive.
  • Well, don't forget David N. Cutler hired in August of 1988, one of the chief architects of DEC VMS, and hired by Microsoft to lead development of a little product called "Windows NT" (the basis of EVERYTHING since then.) Without Cutler, Microsoft would have been the next Digital Research (of "GEM" fame) who had a great product, and no vision of what to do with it, and no way to move forward technically.
    Everyone raves about what a "breakthrough" Windows 95 was, but it was Windows NT in 1993 that led the way forward for the last 30+ years and is directly responsible for the creation of Azure, and everything else in Microsoft's OS portfolio.
  • they hope god of war, spider-man and final fantasy will help them
  • Sure, but well, those are the same game, just iterations. UBI is an indication that it works, and they will sell. But is it enough? They know their model is dying. And by the timw they realized, it's too late
  • They seem to have that under control, adding their own subscription model and pushing solid content with consistency.
  • In time?
    TBD.
    The Sony subscription service is just a rejigerring of the old PS NOW and PS PLUS. Higher price, less features, vs GP. Day one aside, GP includes third party games and EA Play. And PC games. Plus streaming to PC, Android, and Browser. Sony only streams to console. And they are only now *starting* to ramp up a serious BC team. https://www.yahoo.com/news/sony-playstation-game-preservation-team-14305... A few years behind MS with a lot of work yet to do.
  • Question: So with Sony's acquisition of Bungie and Bungie stating that they're going to remain cross-platform with all their games, is Sony still going to charge developers for crossplay?
  • Ask them about MLB The Show, a Sony franchise that came to Game Pass last year and added Switch to its supported platforms this year.
  • Edit: this was meant to be in reply to fdruid. The thing is you are comparing a business worth 2.271 trillion dollars to one worth 143 billion. Microsoft doesn't care that they lose money from their Xbox division because they just make a butt load elsewhere. Sony can't afford to just give people access to all their first party games for 15 dollar a month and people are complete idiots for thinking they should (and that's not even considering the fact that Microsoft was pushing gamepass for a dollar a month with insane trial periods, etc, Sony can't afford that, they just can't). Microsoft have gone all in on subscriptions and microtransactions and you are criticizing Sony for choosing story over $5 cosmetics? Even Sea of Thieves, which Rare were quite adamant about not having paid cosmetics ended up doing exactly that, not to mention the timed game modes that if you're not playing in a specific window you're going to miss out. Sony and Microsoft adopted two very different game models and I can promise you, the one that decided to up game prices by $10 isn't the one that's nickle and diming their customers. Getting back to the value factor, Sony cannot possibly compete with Microsoft in that regard. The biggest contributor to Microsoft outpacing Sony is that Microsoft actually decided to take gaming seriously, and because of the insane cash reserves they can just continue to buy up whoever they want because $70 billion dollars is a drop in a pond to them, and not half the value of the company. Who knows, eventually Microsoft might just buy the Sony game division, they can certainly afford it, and then we can say goodbye to quality story driven single player titles for good, that should make you happy.
  • i doubt MS will prohibit their game studios or third party developers from releasing quality story driven single player titles on xbox
  • Yeah, that was hyperbole and a half on my part. And although this is well and truly in conspiracy territory, the existence of Bleeding Edge shows how Game Pass can affect the development of games.
  • Which is to say, while there might be a couple of single player games dangled on the horizon, there's no guarantee that is going to remain the case.
  • Just to clarify because you're putting words that I didn't say, I don't criticize anyone having a 5 buck DLC, it's the exclusivity that's anti consumer, like most of the things they do. Cutting out Spiderman, the most popular character, from a multiplatform game is a ****** move, and they don't even need to do that to survive or sell consoles.
  • I didn't say you were criticising $5 DLC, I said you were criticising sony for making single player games, instead of making online games full of $5 microtransactions (and you can't deny that because you literally listed single player games as a negative to Sony's business model). I personally don't care about exclusivity, I own all three consoles, I don't purposely limit my gaming collection. But can you honestly say, with a straight face that Sony developing a partnership with Square Enix is somehow worse than Microsoft BUYING Bethesda? I would love to hear your take on that. That being said, I still played Avengers on Xbox because that's where I do most of my gaming and I really don't care enough about a single character that has zero story content attached to him. Had they released story content with Spiderman then I would have gotten the game on Playstation instead. The long and short of it is, that you simply cannot compare a 2 trillion dollar company to one worth 140 billion. If they are both focused in the same direction (gaming) the one with more money is hands down going to win. It just took Microsoft a while to focus on that direction.
  • You are mostly right but the key underlying issue is the development of cloud technology. It is changing everything regarding the economics and structure of content distribution. Microsoft realized the implications of this for gaming and took it on. Yes, they are the most natural company to do this, but if they didn't do so, someone else would. They have missed such opportunities in the past, and they decided not to do so this time. Sony really aren't in a good situation as you have said. What it takes to compete here is capital to accumulate and distribute content over the cloud at hyperscale volumes and economics that are mind blowing, and that is far beyond anything they can muster. I think they will eventually cede the distribution space to Microsoft, Amazon etc and end up as a content provider. This is what Netflix does because they us AWS. Ultimately I think that is what Microsoft is after here. Their moves in gaming are about forcing the industry into that new paradigm. Then EVERYONE will pay Azure a fee to distribute their gaming content over TVs or whatever (or you can take AWS if you like), but Microsoft will have the biggest market share in gaming content distribution because they will have the best economics and the most services. What Game Pass does is give them the leading edge on creating that ecosystem, the same way Amazon used their retail operations needs to create AWS.
  • Somebody else has.
    - Google, although it went tbe way of most Google non-ad businesses.
    - NVIDIA, which ran into trouble with PC developers.
    - Amazon, which is still ramping up.
    -Ouya, which...never mind. 😢
    - Even Sony. But they only stream to their own console. That needs to change.
  • Google buys Sony
  • Doubtful.
    Sony might, however, buy Stadia.
    And they should: it streams to browsers.
    On pure technical merit it is better than Xcloud today.
    But it has no games that justify getting it.
    Sony is the best buyer for Stadis but Sony culture makes it doubtful.
    "Not invented here."
  • People keep bringing up the MS valuation as if it explains everything and MS is willing to tbrow money around wilynily.
    No.
    Nobody successful company runs that way.
    The way MS handles XBOX buys, whether OBSIDIAN, BETHESDA, or Activision is tbe Spencer's folks identify a potential target, they run it past their developer relations guys to see what the company is like on the ground, anc then assemble the same kind of Proposal any company would take to a bank or venture capitalist for support. Then they take it to CEO Nadella who judges how it fits within the strategic plan he has for XBOX (his pay includes a section based on how BOX and GamePass does) and if he approves, it goes to CFO AMY HOOD, who is notoriously tightfisted.
    https://marketrealist.com/p/amy-hood-net-worth/#:~:text=%20Amy%20Hood%20....
    Her sole concern is the bottom line, strategy be darned. What she cares about if hos much money the target is going to make for MS and how fast. How long to make the investment back and how much extra will id add to the bottom line after that. Sony works the same.
    The only differences are that MS is its own venture capitalist (so is Amazon) and that MS GAMING has an nice established PC gaming business as well as GamePass for PC. So, for both Bethesda and Activision MS can better leverage their PC game catalog and development teams. Sony had tbe exact same chance to buy Activision as MS. As did Amazon, Facebook, Gogle, and Netflix. All did the same study as MS and decided how much they could justify based on what they could make out of Activision.a Sony's valuation is big enough to do a merger with Activision.
    Theoretically Sony could have gone to Wall Street with $7B and asked for loans for tbe rest. But they realized they can't squeeze as much out of Activision as MS without a GamePass for PC. They couldn't bid for all of it and hope to make a decent profit fast enough to justify it. So they only bid for a part of Activision. Nobody bid for tbe rest.
    So MS gets Activision at a discount. Not because of tbe valuation or czshflow but because they can make more money off it, faster than anybody else. See, GamePass is not just an asset when dealing with consumers but for everything XBOX does.
    It starts the fiscal year with $3B pretty much guaranteed. And that is with ot STARFIELD, CALL OF DUTY, KING GAMES, or WoW. Or selling a single game. They mzke money off consoles, PC, and cloud. And cloud is only going to be king. That is the key to this gaming generation.
    Sony will keep its 100M console fans and whatever they can squeeze out of them.
    They're welcome to them. But they start streaming outside tbeir base they'll be playing second fiddle revenue-wise. MS has a different game in mind and they've been working on it since 2014.
    Its still got a ways to go but so far it is working.
  • Agreed wholeheartedly Jez. The entire division seems to have gone all in on accessibility. The series S providing accessibility to those who want a cheaper console as either a companion console to pair with their PS5, a cheaper version for kids, or simply because the Series X is not readily available. Game Pass has become a driving factor to bring in new PS gamers onboard and a bargain for parents and even hardcode gamers. Providing access to games on PC, Stream and Consoles was a controversial move, but the right one. Sony is playing catchup and MS is the first mover. Xbox's variety in games should appeal to almost any gamer, but they seriously need to step up their game with Single Player titles. I'm hoping their recent acquisitions meet that need. Sony seems to almost always deliver Game of the Year SP titles and Xbox provides good SP games. Maybe Xbox doesn't see the need to provide GOY titles because of everything else they are offering? I'm hopeful Starfield will be that GOY that breaks the narrative regarding SP Xbox games.