Xbox Game Pass – coming soon to Nintendo Switch (possibly)A reader argues that Microsoft’s attempts to become the Netflix of gaming, and team up with Nintendo, are absolutely the right choices.
I have read a lot of complaints about Microsoft’s approach to the current generation in the last few weeks, both on Metro and elsewhere, and the consensus seems to be that this gen has been a complete failure for them and that if they weren’t a giant, super-rich company they would’ve been turfed out of the whole industry by now. I agree, and it’s the best thing to ever happen to them.
As has been pointed out, the Xbox consoles have only ever been a success in the US and UK. Since most people reading this probably live in one or the other that gives a very lopsided view of the Xbox’s prominence. Even the Xbox 360 came last in its generation, no matter how well it may have seemed to do here and in the States, while the Xbox One is going to get outsold by a Nintendo console it had a three-year head start on.
As Far Cry 3 teaches us, the definition of insanity is repeating the same thing again and again and expecting a different result. So for me the Xbox One needed to be a failure in order for Microsoft to realise that just making another big black box that played a lot of shooters was not going to advance their cause in any meaningful way.
I agreed with a lot of what was being said in last week’s Reader’s Feature by Augustus, in particular the need for the company to make something other than just shooters. I don’t even know which was the first Xbox to be nicknamed the ‘Shooter Box’ but that’s basically characterised the whole brand since its inception. It’s an easy thing to work on, you’d think, but Microsoft seem to be very slow to do so. Although the rumours of Fable IV and the two role-playing developers they bought recently suggests they are finally doing something about it.
But it seems to me that the Xbox One’s failure has spurred a more fundamental change in Microsoft and that by abandoning the current gen to Sony and Nintendo they’ve turned their eyes towards the future and realised that the whole concept of traditional consoles will soon come to an end. Soon it won’t matter which box you have under your TV but instead which service you’re subscribed to, and Microsoft clearly want that service to be Xbox Live.
With their huge money reserves and technical experience (especially in terms of cloud farms all across the world) Microsoft should have a huge advantage over Sony in the next generation. I actually wrote this feature as a rebuttal to Augustus’ feature but now that I’ve read the news about them potentially partnering with Nintendo I see that their plans are already more advanced than I realised.
I suspect they don’t even see Sony as their main competitor anymore, but Google, Amazon, and Apple. And while I’m sure Sony will say no, I bet they try to get Game Pass on the PlayStation 5 as well. To my mind this is the right thing to do not just because it’s tackling the future head on but because it’s different from their previous approach and different to what Nintendo and Sony are doing.
Having a couple of exclusive shooter franchises is not a big enough differential for a console, certainly not outside American and the UK, but being the Netflix of games is. Microsoft’s weak spot is still their first party games but if they can compensate for that with Nintendo’s then, well… they really will be a force to be reckoned with. And they would probably never have been so bold if the Xbox One hadn’t been such a flop.
By reader Clawdime
The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.
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