There aren’t many tech companies that rest on their laurels. It’s probably because if they do, they’re toast.
Technology moves at such a pace, that perspicacity, opportunity, planning, strategising and being ahead of the curve (and crucially, the competition) are mission-critical objectives to the companies that work in the sector.
Currently, amid all the furore surrounding AI-generated content, there is simmering battle going on between the companies producing video games and the predictions around its future.
Leading the charge are Sony and Microsoft. The former is pushing the new games that are available for the PS5, while the latter creeps ever close to acquiring UK games company Activision Blizzard.
Even as the above deal continues to progress or not, Microsoft are already lining something big for a post-console landscape.
Stream of a lifetime
Microsoft are keenly aware that, while they have the Xbox, it’s still very much in third place when it comes to competing with Sony and Nintendo consoles.
So, instead of trying to go rage mode on the competition, Microsoft have been thinking out of the box (ahem) and are almost betting the farm on its Game Pass system.
Requiring nothing more than a screen, controller/keyboard and a fast broadband connection, Microsoft’s Game Pass isn’t tied to how many units it sells but how many subscribers it has and how hours people have been playing with the Game Pass.
This relies heavily on being able to boast some tent-pole busting titles, hence the investment in buying up existing titles (Fallout, Psychonauts) and trying to force through the Activision deal.
Another move for Microsoft is that it is looking beyond the sphere of Western influence, and more into the southern hemisphere, with expansions planned into India and South Africa, and forging relationships with developers in the former and eastern Europe.
Game Pass also acts as a vehicle for smaller developers to release games on a curated storefront that has millions of subscribers. Microsoft says it has already paid these developers their dues in a trickle down fashion from the Game Pass subscription fees, but these actual figures have yet to be released.
As the Sony vs Microsoft rivalry shows no sign of abating, by skipping the console mechanism and focussing on cloud gaming, Microsoft may still have one trump card left to play.
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