Microsoft Goes All-In With Gaming | Gaming

By John P. Mello Jr.

Jun 12, 2018 10:40 AM PT

Microsoft made an enormous splash on the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles with its announcement of greater than 50 video games for its Xbox One gaming console.

Among the video games unveiled by the company have been 18 designed to run completely on Xbox, together with Forza Horizon four, Halo Infinite, Gears 5, Session, Below and Ashen.

Microsoft additionally supplied the greater than 6,000 folks available at its E3 presentation on Sunday peeks at main titles to be launched subsequent 12 months — many enhanced to run on Xbox One, together with Fallout 76, Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, Kingdom Hearts three, Devil May Cry 5, Battlefield V, Metro Exodus and Shadow of the Tomb Raider.

The company additionally made some additions to its streaming game service Game Pass. They included Forza Horizon four, Fallout four, Tom Clancy’s The Division and The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited.

“We’ve been thrilled to see the positive impact Xbox Game Pass is having on the gaming ecosystem, including increasing the number of titles gamers play nearly 40 percent, and increasing gameplay hours by almost 20 percent,” stated Mike Nichols, chief advertising officer for gaming at Microsoft.

Beefing Up Talent Pool

In addition to debuting greater than 4 dozen video games, Microsoft demonstrated its dedication to producing unique content material for the Xbox. It revealed plans to create a brand new game improvement studio, known as “The Initiative.” The company additionally introduced its acquisition of Playground Games, and unveiled letters of intent to amass Ninja Theory, Undead Labs and Compulsion Games.

“Microsoft’s moves could be interpreted as signaling that the company’s platforms aren’t attracting as much developer attention as the company would like,” stated Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.

“Acquiring recognized studios and bolstering its personal inside improvement efforts are methods to handle that difficulty,’ he informed TechNewsWorld.

“Most would agree that Microsoft has lost the exclusive title battle with Sony,” remarked Eric Abbruzzese, a senior analyst at ABI Research.

“These acquisitions are a great step to rectify this, although it probably should have happened sooner,” he informed TechNewsWorld.

Building Competitiveness

Microsoft’s acquisitions have been transfer for the company, stated Michael Goodman, director for digital media at Strategy Analytics.

“They bought some solid studios with solid IP that will strengthen them for this generation and into the future,” he informed TechNewsWorld.

“Those purchases show that the company is committed to making exclusive titles to make the Xbox competitive with the other consoles in the market,” famous Rob Sanfilippo, an analyst with Directions On Microsoft.

“Supporting titles available on other consoles hasn’t given Xbox any extra success because PlayStation 4 is very popular and lower-priced in most cases,” he informed TechNewsWorld.

“That’s why it’s important for Microsoft to emphasize it’s going to have more exclusive titles,” he stated.

“The bottom line is that exclusivity is a key driver of hardware sales,” Lewis Ward,
analysis director for gaming at IDC, informed TechNewsWorld.

Acting From Strong Position

“Microsoft is in a very strong position,” noticed Mark N. Vena, a senior analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy.

“The Xbox One is the best platform on the market from a sheer hardware standpoint,” he informed TechNewsWorld.

Sony is not anticipated to deliver its next-generation gaming console to market till 2022, which provides Microsoft a big window to beef up its developer pipeline.

“Microsoft has the best-performing hardware and graphics,” Vena stated. “Developers eat that up. They love that kind of headroom, especially in graphics performance, so they can build better games.”

For Xbox followers, Microsoft’s presentation demonstrated the company’s dedication to gaming, one thing that hasn’t at all times been apparent with the Xbox One.

“The initial launch of the Xbox One was mired by a focus on gaming periphery — social, video and other stuff,” ABI’s Abbruzzese recalled.

“The company has been working to move that focus back to gaming, and this year’s E3 was the product of that work,” he stated. “The hardcore gaming crowd always prefers less marketing BS and more content, and so that’s what Microsoft did.”

Netflix of Console Gaming

Microsoft is attempting to turn out to be the Netflix of console gaming, Moor’s Vena instructed.

Up to now, streaming game providers have largely supplied older fare. Microsoft is poised to vary that mannequin for its Game Pass streaming service.

“Microsoft is bundling a number of first rate titles into its Game Pass subscription,” Vena stated.

One of the obstacles to getting first-rate content material for streaming providers is the priority of builders that streaming a game will minimize into single copy gross sales, the place they make most of their cash.

“Microsoft says that GamePass is additive, not cannibalistic,” Strategy Analytics’ Goodman famous, however “we’ll see. If I’m a publisher and a game is being sold for (US)$60 at retail, then any licensing fees from streaming will have to make up for lost retail sales.”

Bandwidth will be one other impediment to streaming.

“It’s not the bandwidth required to stream games,” Goodman defined. “It’s the bandwidth usage of the entire household. If the only thing the household does is stream games, then most households have adequate bandwidth, at least in the U.S.”

Still, streaming game providers have been gaining momentum.

Two Xbox streaming providers, GamePass and EA Access, have greater than 10 % market penetration, an IDC survey confirmed.

“If that’s true, that is a good penetration rate for such new services,” Ward stated.

Nevertheless, gaming consoles, as a platform, aren’t going away any time quickly.

“There will be an Xbox One console for many years to come, possibly even another generation,” Directions On Microsoft’s Sanfilippo predicted.

Good Growth Predicted

After a downturn in 2014 and 2015, the console market has begun to bounce again in latest instances.

“Part of that resurgence had to do with Microsoft refreshing its hardware,” Vena stated.

Console video games gross sales will develop from $29 billion this 12 months to $33 billion by 2022, with digital video games representing properly over half of this by 2022, Juniper Research has forecast.

While the Xbox One has achieved properly in North America, Microsoft has seen the console outsold successfully 2:1 by Sony’s PlayStation four on a global scale, famous Lauren Foye, a gaming analyst with Juniper.

“Part of the issue here has been a lack of console exclusives,” she informed TechNewsWorld. “Hence Microsoft’s recent drive to acquire games studios and create new titles.”

John P. Mello Jr. has been an ECT News Network reporter
since 2003. His areas of focus embody cybersecurity, IT points, privateness, e-commerce, social media, synthetic intelligence, large information and shopper electronics. He has written and edited for quite a few publications, together with the Boston Business Journal, the
Boston Phoenix, Megapixel.Net and Government
Security News
. Email John.

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