Xbox chief financial officer Tim Stuart has said Microsoft wants to get Game Pass and its first-party titles on “every screen that can play games” – including Switch and PlayStation – in what he calls “a bit of a change of strategy”.
This isn’t the first time Microsoft has talked about getting Xbox Game Pass on all platforms, of course; Xbox boss Phil Spencer has referenced the strategy on multiple occasions, calling it a “long term goal” for the company back in 2019.
One year on from that comment, however, it seemed as if Spencer had admitted defeat in getting Game Pass on competing consoles, saying, “The other competitive platforms really aren’t interested in having a full Xbox experience on their hardware. But for us, we want to be where gamers want to be and that’s the path that we’re on.”
As such, it’s perhaps surprising to see Microsoft once again referencing the strategy so explicitly, but that’s precisely what Xbox chief financial officer Tim Stuart has now done during this week’s Wells Fargo TMT Summit.
“It’s a bit of a change of strategy,” Stuart told attendees at the event (thanks GameSpot). “Not announcing anything broadly here, but our mission is to bring our first-party experiences [and] our subscription services to every screen that can play games. That means smart TVs, that means mobile devices, that means what we would have thought of as competitors in the past like PlayStation and Nintendo.”
Stuart referred to Microsoft’s Game Pass business as a “high margin” one, saying the company is keen to expand it – along with its profitable first-party title and advertising efforts – in the future. According to GameSpot, Stuart admitted Microsoft’s recent Activision Blizzard acquisition would help the company reach its goals faster than it might have been able to do on its own.
How receptive competing console makers will be to Microsoft’s plans remains to be seen; Sony notably blocked the EA Access subscription service – which provided access to EA’s back catalogue for a monthly fee – back in 2014, saying it wasn’t “good value to the PlayStation gamer”. However, its stance seems to have softened a little in recent years, with EA Access – since rebranded EA Play – now available on PlayStation. Ubisoft’s similarly styled Ubisoft+ is also available as part of PlayStation Plus Extra and Premium.