Part of the Xbox community? (pic: Sony)
Although Microsoft now, after over a year of legal wrangling, owns Activision Blizzard, the whole thing seems like a bit of an anticlimax from the outside, since nothing obvious has changed and there won’t be any new games on Game Pass until next year.
Nevertheless, major franchises such as Call Of Duty and Diablo are now officially first party Xbox titles, and yet the fact that they’re also multiformat games, available on PlayStation 5 and Nintendo Switch, is enough for Xbox boss Phil Spencer to consider both formats part of the Xbox community.
‘Just as we think of ROG Ally and Steam Deck as part of the Xbox community, we need to think of the many Nintendo Switch and PlayStation users as part of the Xbox community in the future,’ he said in a new interview with Japanese magazine Famitsu.
Spencer was being asked about cloud gaming, and no longer relying purely on consoles and PC hardware, to which he answered, via Google Translate: ‘Both are important. First of all, I’m very excited and excited about what the future holds. In terms of hardware, I think it’s not just a matter of adapting to what other companies are doing, but also providing something unique for Xbox users.’
After making his comment about the Switch and PlayStation he then added the following: ‘Similarly, we think it’s important to make sure that everyone who continues to play Xbox games, including those who play Game Pass on PC, feels equal in the community. There’s a lot of work to be done.’
That seems an especially odd thing to say given that Spencer was personally responsible for ensuring that no future Bethesda games, including Starfield, appear on anything other than Xbox or PC.
In the same interview, Spencer suggests that Game Pass on PC is key to improving Xbox’s popularity, claiming that the number of users has recently quadrupled in the country. Although he gave no figures to illustrate that point, so the overall figures are still likely to be very low.
‘The size of the Japanese PC game market has roughly doubled in the past three years, but the number of PC Game Pass users has quadrupled. Game Pass is growing faster than the market, which is great for the Xbox brand as a whole,’ he said.
In a rare occurrence, Xbox Series X outsold PlayStation 5 in Japan in the last week of October, at 2,903 to 2,717, but this was only because stock of the PlayStation 5 was almost exhausted, ahead of the imminent launch of the PS5 Slim.
Over the last three years, the Xbox Series X has only sold 229,898 consoles in Japan, compared to a lifetime total of 3.9 million for the PlayStation 5 and 31.0 million for the Switch.
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Microsoft’s gaming boss suggests that because Activision Blizzard games are multiformat, Sony and Nintendo’s consoles are now part of Xbox.