Microsoft is having one of its best years ever for gaming. A strong showing at E3 2021, huge success with Xbox Game Pass, and competitive Gen 9 console sales are leading Microsoft to record profits and revenue for its gaming division. However, there's still a lot of work to do.
Historically, Microsoft has been very U.S.- and UK-centric. Regions outside of Microsoft's familiar Anglo territories are notoriously smaller in footprint, owing to years and years of neglect in Microsoft's wider strategy. I've covered Microsoft's patchy localization effort before, and to be fair, Microsoft has begun to respond. The Xbox Store has received additional features to help people find out whether a game supports their local language, for example, but the problems still run quite deep.
To that end, a new community has begun growing on Discord, called the Xbox Community Hub, filled with people from all regions, languages, and nationalities to share their grievances over the differences between Microsoft's different local offerings. The community there has produced an open letter to Microsoft, explaining their position, while also putting up a petition to try and get a response from Microsoft on its plans and roadmap for better regional support.
The open letter inside the petition details some of the requests, including support for things like Microsoft Rewards and contests, better stocking, increased local presence, features like Xbox Game Pass cloud gaming, and a roadmap for localization features.
While there are some geopolitical issues that prevent Microsoft from operating in certain countries, due to government sanctions for example, Microsoft is gradually expanding its Azure footprint over time. Microsoft is rumored to be opening four more data centers in China, which will help it deliver Xbox Cloud Gaming to the region. Microsoft is also actively working with governments in the Asia-Pacific to unify cybersecurity policies and standards, which will help it to ultimately navigate complex legislative issues that prevent it from operating locally.
Regardless, there's still a lot that Microsoft could be doing in regions it's already in to improve support, and ultimately hit that 2-billion gamer North Star it often talks about in its marketing beats. Xbox will expand outside of the U.S. and UK only with proper, serious support. A bit of transparency engaging the grassroots worldwide community is one way to ensure Microsoft can overcome the historical problems in its attempts to break into Japan and other regions.
Update June 29, 2021: A Microsoft spokesperson has responded to our request for comment on this petition.
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Jez Corden a Managing Editor at 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!