Microsoft shared some gaming industry strategy outlines ahead of the first-ever Xbox and Bethesda Showcase on Sunday, in a conversational piece featuring Head of Xbox Phil Spencer hosted a series of conversations with Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. The Xbox Wire published feature is all about Why Microsoft is 'All In' on Gaming, how it sees the competitive landscape, and how it is going to press forward over the next few years. A follow-up article with more specifics was published with some highlights of the day, and more specifics about Microsoft's planned execution.
The big news from Microsoft is encapsulated by our headline regarding a new app for connected TVs and the introduction of Microsoft branded streaming hardware, for those who might have older TVs upon which the app won't be made available.
So, Microsoft is working alongside TV manufacturers to make its Xbox app available. Making Xbox Game Pass available on more screens "Xbox is working with global TV manufacturers to embed the Xbox experience directly into internet-connected televisions with no extra hardware required except a controller." Only needing a controller is a great way of removing friction from the adoption of the service, especially to those who are casually interested in dabbling in modern gaming.
In addition to the above, The Verge quotes Liz Hamren, head of gaming experiences and platforms at Microsoft, as saying "We're also developing standalone streaming devices that you can plug into a TV or monitor, so if you have a strong internet connection, you can stream your Xbox experience." It would make sense for this streaming HDMI stick or box to be accessibly priced.
Other Microsoft initiatives to widen the appeal and accessibility of xCloud include;
- Exploring new subscription offerings for Xbox Game Pass – across more devices, geographies, and price points,
- Working with ISPs and mobile providers to bundle consoles and Xbox All Access for a low monthly price,
- Xbox Game Pass Ultimate coming to Edge, Chrome, and Safari "in the next few weeks",
- Xbox Game Pass Ultimate launching in Australia, Brazil, Mexico, and Japan later this year,
- Updating our Microsoft datacenters around the world with new hardware for better experiences
- The introduction of cloud gaming directly into the Xbox app on PC – and for consoles in scenarios like 'try before you download'.
Last but not least, Microsoft intends to keep its foot on the gas with games development. It highlights that it has 23 games studios creating Xbox titles, and it is aiming for this resource to output "at least one new, first party game into Game Pass every quarter".
At the time of writing, we don't have specific dates for the introduction of the Xbox TV app and xCloud streaming stick. Microsoft said the TV app is coming soon.