Microsoft Will Absolutely Make Money On Starfield, Phil Spencer Says

It's a little harder to tell how Microsoft makes money on games with Game Pass in the mix, but the math isn't that different from how things used to be.


How do you take a massive, expensive game like Starfield, which has been in development with hundreds of developers and artists, release it on a subscription service like Game Pass, and then make it profitable? To explain, Phil Spencer looked back into the history of game development while talking on GameSpot sister site Giant Bomb's at Nite show.

Spencer used Halo 2 as an example here. "Let's say we're going to go ship Halo 2," Spencer said. "And we're not shipping it on Nintendo, we're not shipping it on Sony. Nobody ever asked me, how does the [profit and loss] for this game work when you're not selling it everywhere you can sell it?"

With that in mind, Spencer laid out the basic idea.

"What you did on old school consoles is you said, how many consoles are you going to sell because Halo 2 launches, how long will those players stay on the platform, and how many games will they buy, and does that make it more cost-effective to keep the game exclusive to your platform?" Spencer explained.

"When I look at Game Pass, we are absolutely going to make money on Starfield, touch wood, that's the plan. And we will grow Game Pass, and Xbox will be a better platform both on PC and console," Spencer continued. "For us, it's about expanding our platform reach, and we think important games like Starfield will be catalysts for Game Pass growth on many different platforms."

Starfield, the upcoming game from Skyrim studio Bethesda Studios, was the centerpiece of Microsoft's Xbox Showcase this week. It will run at 30fps on Xbox Series X|S, and if you're playing on PC, you'll need to install the 125GB game to an SSD to play it. Most importantly, though, Microsoft says Starfield will have the fewest bugs of any Bethesda game to date, even if it launched right now. But it isn't launching right now--we'll have to wait until Starfield's release on September 6 (or a few days early if you buy one of the more expensive editions).

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