New York Times - How Microsoft is Ditching the Console Wars

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TheEroica

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#1 TheEroica  Moderator
Member since 2009 • 19145 Posts

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/10/technology/xbox-games.html

The System Wars was a subject in the New York Times recently. More specifically, Microsoft's great shift away from hardware and unit sales and instead focusing on software and services. In this case, for Microsoft, the numbers don't lie...

"So she decided to study how Game Pass affected gamers’ behavior. Microsoft said on Thursday that it found that people using the service spent 50 percent more money overall on games and played 40 percent more games than nonsubscribers."

I'd urge you system warriors to read this one! It's not often we're written about in the NYT. :P

... But more seriously, articles like this make me feel like the system wars are dead. The passion for gaming is still burning bright, and we all have opinions, but who's playing this system wars game if the companies themselves are playing a completely different game. What's your barometer of success? Does it matter if companies are playing different games?

For me, I've given up on the need to own physical media... Its much more in line with my lifestyle to download everything. It also makes sense to potentially pay for a service where a library is available to game anytime.

So what say you System wars? Did you read the article? Do you like the disruptors of our hobby? Microsoft is certainly here because they disrupt the industry with ideas like Xbox live and gamepass... What does it mean to you that gaming is making a shift to a service focus... One that will, by the numbers, INCREASE your gametime... And spending!

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Pedro

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#2 Pedro  Online
Member since 2002 • 51354 Posts

The article requires membership. 😥

I am fan of the service addition more than a shift. These additions simply add more options to gamers. Digital has been my preferred way of gaming for years now. I have been playing more games with GamePass. My purchasing is more of the same but with GamePass I have more opportunities to buy.

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onesiphorus

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#3  Edited By onesiphorus
Member since 2014 • 3964 Posts

Do you have to pay to subscribe to the New York Times in order to read its articles? If so, I am not reading the article as I feel that news should be read for free and not behind a paywall. Not only that, but what the Times and other mainstream media outlets had done to journalism in America is beyond disgusting which is why I stopped watching mainstream news outlets years ago. Journalism is dead in America and buried.

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DaVillain-

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#4 DaVillain-  Moderator
Member since 2014 • 46995 Posts

And this is the reason why I stop reading New York Times, they beg for subs whenever someone visits the site and not going into political stuff here but let's just say that I HATE NYT with a passion.

Can you find another article besides NYT Garrus?

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xantufrog

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#5 xantufrog  Moderator
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I did think SW is essentially dead as it was originally conceptualized. But I do think as long as the companies have their own spin on things people will have things to argue. We've seen how "lively" PS vs Xbox debates remain in the postmortem era for both being 1) about hardware sales and 2) being independent from PC. The hard part will be to define the battlegrounds - clearly it can't be console sales. Clearly it can't be exclusives. So what counts as a "score"?

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regnaston

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#6 regnaston
Member since 2008 • 2857 Posts

@onesiphorus said:

Do you have to pay to subscribe to the New York Times in order to read its articles? If so, I am not reading the article as I feel that news should be read for free and not behind a paywall. Not only that, but what the Times and other mainstream media outlets had done to journalism in America is beyond disgusting which is why I stopped watching mainstream news outlets years ago. Journalism is dead in America and buried.

there is a free subscription option.. link your google account or facebook account (or sign up using email)

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Pedro

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#7 Pedro  Online
Member since 2002 • 51354 Posts

@xantufrog said:

I did think SW is essentially dead as it was originally conceptualized. But I do think as long as the companies have their own spin on things people will have things to argue. We've seen how "lively" PS vs Xbox debates remain in the postmortem era for both being 1) about hardware sales and 2) being independent from PC. The hard part will be to define the battlegrounds - clearly it can't be console sales. Clearly it can't be exclusives. So what counts as a "score"?

I say skip the scores and just enjoy gaming. 😊

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regnaston

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#8 regnaston
Member since 2008 • 2857 Posts

How Microsoft Is Ditching the Video Game Console Wars

Known for the Xbox, Microsoft has been diversifying away from boxy hardware in favor of reaching millions more new gamers.

Aiming to push beyond console gaming, Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox, pushed for Microsoft to buy the company that makes Minecraft.Credit...Meron Tekie Menghistab for The New York Times

By Kellen Browning

June 10, 2021, 9:00 a.m. ET

In mid-2014, Satya Nadella, who had just become the chief executive of Microsoft, ushered the heads of the company’s gaming division into his fifth-floor office in Redmond, Wash.

The executives wanted Mr. Nadella to write a $2.5 billion check to buy Mojang, a Swedish company that produced a blocky, pixelated game called Minecraft. Mr. Nadella asked why Microsoft, which was being consistently outsmarted in the console business by Sony, should keep investing in video games. How, he said, did that fit with his vision for a company with a friendlier face that appealed to more consumers?

Then Phil Spencer, the new head of Xbox, told Mr. Nadella about Minecraft’s vast world where millions could socialize and where teenagers were encouraged to learn math and science skills. A deal would be the first step of a “a pretty bold vision” to transform Microsoft’s gaming business into one focused on a broader audience, rather than just console gamers, Mr. Spencer said.

Mr. Nadella agreed and made the deal happen. What followed, according to interviews with more than 20 Microsoft executives, game developers, industry analysts and gamers, was a yearslong shift. Instead of competing mainly with rival Sony to sell more consoles, Microsoft bought 15 other game studios and invested in new technologies, like a Netflix-style games subscription service and a mobile tool known as cloud gaming.

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A controller for the XBox Series X, the new gaming console that became available last year. Credit...Brandon Ruffin for The New York Times

Now, as Microsoft prepares to show off new offerings at the annual gaming convention E3 this weekend, its video game business looks very different. The company is still known for the Xbox, a new version of which was released in November. Even so, it has diversified beyond boxy hardware to provide a new array of services.

“Their strategy has diverged quite significantly from a traditional console approach,” said Piers Harding-Rolls, a gaming researcher at the analytics firm Ampere Analysis.

With the changes, Microsoft is betting that the future of gaming will be a post-hardware world where people may not want to spend hundreds of dollars for a console, executives and analysts said. Eventually, they said, people might no longer be tied to specific devices to play games, and will instead care more about software and services.

While Xbox consoles still generate plenty of revenue — in January, Microsoft reported $5 billion in quarterly gaming revenue for the first time, bolstered by the release of the Xbox Series X — the company stopped disclosing its console sales in 2014. The majority of gaming revenue comes from content and services, rather than Xbox hardware sales, said Tim Stuart, Xbox’s chief financial officer.

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Fans with the Xbox One at Best Buy Theater in Times Square in 2013. Microsoft presented the Xbox One as an entertainment device, rather than a gaming machine.Credit...Charles Sykes/Invision For Microsoft

Its gaming business still faces hurdles, including shaking a perception among gamers that it does not have their best interests at heart. That distaste stems from a messaging failure in 2013, when Microsoft presented its new Xbox One console as an entertainment device that people could use to stream music and movies. In response, gamers revolted.

The Xbox One still sold about 50 million units, analysts estimated. But it was far outdone by Sony’s PlayStation 4, which was also introduced in 2013 and has sold 116 million units.

“We lost our step of what gamers wanted,” Mr. Stuart said.

After the backlash, Microsoft shifted gears. Mr. Nadella had just taken over and wanted the company to move from focusing on software to cloud computing and subscription services.

Mr. Spencer ensured that the games division’s evolution mirrored those goals. He persuaded Mr. Nadella to buy Mojang in September 2014, which was the new chief executive’s first acquisition.

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Satya Nadella has pushed Microsoft into cloud computing and subscription services, and the video game business has followed suit.Credit...Kyle Johnson for The New York Times

“Gaming is much more central to Microsoft today than it ever was in our history,” Mr. Nadella said in an interview last week.

In 2017, Microsoft released Xbox Game Pass. For $10 or $15 a month, subscribers could play a specific set of games for as long as they stayed on the service. That upended the traditional model, where people paid $60 for games like Call of Duty and owned them forever.

To persuade game publishers to put their titles on Game Pass, Xbox executives flew around the world to meet developers and proselytize their vision of an industry where video games were cheap and easily accessible.

Initially, developers were “leery,” worrying they would lose money on the service, said Sarah Bond, a Microsoft vice president who leads the gaming ecosystems organization.

So she decided to study how Game Pass affected gamers’ behavior. Microsoft said on Thursday that it found that people using the service spent 50 percent more money overall on games and played 40 percent more games than nonsubscribers.

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Microsoft’s Xbox executives. From left, Tim Stuart, Xbox’s chief financial officer; Mr. Spencer; Catherine Gluckstein, head of cloud gaming; Matt Booty, head of Xbox game studios; and Sarah Bond, who leads the gaming ecosystems organization.Credit...Meron Tekie Menghistab for The New York Times

Mike Blank, a senior vice president at Electronic Arts, which put its games, like the Madden NFL and FIFA soccer franchises, on Game Pass in 2020, said there was initially “trepidation” around subscription services. But the company has been happy with the results and “players are responding favorably,” he said.

Microsoft also spent heavily on game development to expand the Game Pass offerings, buying studios including a $7.5 billion acquisition of ZeniMax Media in September and adding hundreds of games to the service. This year, it also considered buying the messaging app Discord, which gamers use to chat while playing.

The diversification continued in late 2019, when Microsoft released a cloud gaming service, in which games are hosted in a company’s data centers and are broadcast to devices. The service, Xbox Cloud Gaming, or xCloud, means that people do not need to install games or use expensive hardware.

The idea of a cloud gaming service had crystallized for Mr. Spencer earlier that year, when he was on a bus in Nairobi, Kenya, and connected to Wi-Fi. He found that he could stream a game from Microsoft’s data center in London to his phone.

“It was literally the same saved game I had sitting in Redmond, Wash.,” he said. “It really just pushes how you can make gaming truly global.”

On Thursday, Microsoft said it was working with television manufacturers to put its games inside TVs without the need for an Xbox. It added that it would soon bring cloud streaming to the console as well.

For now, cloud gaming is still bogged down by glitchy gameplay and requires a strong internet connection. Xbox Cloud Gaming is still in trial and Apple has barred the app from iPhones because it includes a catalog of games, and Apple requires separate apps for each game as part of its app review process.

At the same time, Xbox continues to trail Sony’s PlayStation. In April, Sony said it sold 7.8 million new PlayStation 5s between November and March, while analysts estimated Microsoft had sold more than four million new Xboxes in the same period. Sony declined to comment.

Some gamers said Microsoft has failed to win them over because it still lags Sony in exclusive, quality games.

“I just have always been under the impression that PlayStation is better,” said Natalia Mogollon, a gamer known as Alinity who streams her game play on the site Twitch to 1.3 million followers.

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At a 2018 games conference, the crowd watched a preview of a Fallout game by Bethesda Game Studios. Bethesda was owned by ZeniMax Media, which was acquired by Microsoft. Credit...Mark Ralston/Agence-France Presse—Getty Images

Yet when Microsoft nabs exclusive content, it can backfire. In 2015, when the game publisher Square Enix released a popular game first on the Xbox, gamers were angered that Microsoft would limit access to the title. The reaction was similar when it considered buying Discord, and when it was reported last month that an upcoming ZeniMax game would be exclusive to Xbox.

“It can look like a big corporation coming in to screw up and screw over their favorite game developer,” said Rod Breslau, a video game consultant.

As Microsoft has shifted away from the console wars, Mr. Spencer’s own tone has also softened. In an interview with The New York Times in 2014, he signaled that he would not back down against Sony. “I’m in this to win,” he said.

In an interview last month, he took a different approach. “We don’t look at Nintendo and Sony and say that company has to lose in order for us to win,” he said.

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DaVillain-

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#9 DaVillain-  Moderator
Member since 2014 • 46995 Posts

Sorry for the double posting but this is what I have to say regarding "console wars" and it really stops being a console war ever since Nintendo abandon the war when the Wii launch. (Some say they left when GC came into the spotlight) Sony, MS, & Nintendo don't take this console war as seriously as fanboys have. MS is going into software business vs hardware, Nintendo always likes to do their own thing while keeping traditions alive with innovation, and Sony...Sony is Sony so let them figure out where should they go.

And this is the reason why I'm a PC gamer, I get everything and I want everything.

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TheEroica

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#10 TheEroica  Moderator
Member since 2009 • 19145 Posts

Hmmm.... I don't subscribe, but I do tie it to my Gmail account.

Also... Won't it open in an incognito tab?

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regnaston

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#11 regnaston
Member since 2008 • 2857 Posts

@TheEroica said:

Hmmm.... I don't subscribe, but I do tie it to my Gmail account.

Also... Won't it open in an incognito tab?

I copied and pasted the article

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TheEroica

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#12 TheEroica  Moderator
Member since 2009 • 19145 Posts

@davillain-: pretty sure you can link your Google account for free articles bud!

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WonderWinner

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#13 WonderWinner
Member since 2021 • 1096 Posts

😴 an American news outlet supporting an American company. What else is new?

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DaVillain-

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#14 DaVillain-  Moderator
Member since 2014 • 46995 Posts

@regnaston: Thank you😊 If only I can give you a prize...oh I know:

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regnaston

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#15 regnaston
Member since 2008 • 2857 Posts

@davillain- said:

@regnaston: Thank you😊 If only I can give you a prize...oh I know:

I take paypal payments too 😁

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Pedro

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#16 Pedro  Online
Member since 2002 • 51354 Posts

Just read the article. I am not sure it added anything new to the overall dynamics. It is clear that MS scope is beyond consoles and that rather forward thinking. The moment MS took the leap with Xbox Play Anywhere, I was sold on their direction for gaming. That should have been their approach from the very start but they delve into to asinine culture of console wars and stayed their until ~2016. I am fan of this new approach and I hope that the traditional practice of locking game to specific hardware disappears.

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sakaiXx

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#17 sakaiXx
Member since 2013 • 12091 Posts

Why are we trying to make sense in system wars, just enjoy the ride and a bit of banter.

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Daredevils2k

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#18 Daredevils2k
Member since 2015 • 3311 Posts

I’m not a fan of c rated games, especially since MS is turning into the google stadia

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Pedro

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#19 Pedro  Online
Member since 2002 • 51354 Posts

It didn't take long for the dialogue to return to usual.

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shadyacshuns

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#20 shadyacshuns
Member since 2007 • 6313 Posts

They're right about Game Pass, but to claim that MS is 'ditching the console wars' seems highly presumptuous and quite incorrect.

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JoshRMeyer

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#21 JoshRMeyer
Member since 2015 • 11691 Posts

MS should have a sub service like gamepass but also jump in on game rentals for newer games. They should also have the same games available on both xbox gamepass and PC gamepass, aside from the games that can't be played on xbox for some reason.

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Antwan3K

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#22  Edited By Antwan3K
Member since 2005 • 5339 Posts

sounds like exactly what I've been saying for quite some time.. Nintendo left the "console wars" in 2006 with the Wii and Microsoft left in 2016 with Xbox Play Anywhere..

and with Sony slowly but surely following Microsoft onto PC and partnering with Microsoft for cloud/streaming, the only people still arguing about consoles are the fanboys (and "concerned fans") that are either too ignorant or too stubborn to see the writing on the wall..

as for me personally, i'm all for it.. Xbox is providing tons of games in one subscription service across multiple devices, Nintendo has both created and perfected the hybrid handheld/console, Sony is the DeFacto leader in traditional console gaming, and PC is the hub for nearly everything..

there's something for everyone.. RIP System Wars, all hail gaming..

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#23 Ghost_of_Phobos
Member since 2020 • 2208 Posts

At this point Sony fanboys are that soldier stranded at a Pacific island thinking WW2 is still going on while everybody else moved from it and are just having fun and enjoying life.

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Djoffer123

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#24 Djoffer123
Member since 2016 • 1001 Posts

Mehh SW has been dead for a long time imo... pc being so fare ahead of console that it isn’t even a competition anymore, Nintendo doing their own thing ( and being extremely successful) and yeah MS turning their focus more and more towards a gamepass brand instead of the Xbox brand. It’s basically only Sony who still fits the criteria for systemwar and even they are moving away from exclusive as there is just to much money in the pc market!

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#25  Edited By GoldenElementXL
Member since 2016 • 5848 Posts

@TheEroica: Here’s my response to the subs spend more money than non subs bullet point.

What percentage of the subs are the hardcore that buy all the 1st party games no matter what? How much money did the subs spend annually on software before Game Pass? That’s my biggest gripe with Game Pass at the moment. Xbox gave their most enthusiastic supporters a reason to spend less money. Far less money.

And how disruptive have they been really? PlayStation and Nintendo are more popular, selling more hardware and more software than ever before. They are the top 2 in services and subscription revenue as well. Not Xbox. So what exactly is Xbox disrupting other than their bottom line?

And let’s be real. The console war isn’t dead. And Nintendo didn’t “ditch the console war” like others have stated in this thread. The moves Xbox has made have been to improve their standing. Nintendo made the Switch to merge their products to improve their standing. The war hasn’t ended. The way the big three are fighting it has evolved.

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Robbie23

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#26  Edited By Robbie23
Member since 2015 • 1342 Posts

Meh, not the biggest fan of digital gaming. I prefer physical games.

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SecretPolice

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#27 SecretPolice
Member since 2007 • 38510 Posts

The Slimes gets everything wrong so take what they print and just know the opposite is the truth. :P

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PAL360

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#28 PAL360
Member since 2007 • 30209 Posts

I am a fan of having options. All 3 main companies are using different strategies and all of them seem to work. It's healthy for the industry and awesome for us, gamers.

Just not so awesome for fanboys and their little wars, though 😄

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Sagemode87

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#29 Sagemode87
Member since 2013 • 2273 Posts

Sony tried this years ago. Internet just isn't there yet.

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#30 Pedro  Online
Member since 2002 • 51354 Posts

@goldenelementxl: You keep fighting the good fight.😌

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#31 warmblur
Member since 2017 • 7527 Posts

Plastic wars for corporate whores.

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Pedro

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#32 Pedro  Online
Member since 2002 • 51354 Posts

@Sagemode87: MS tried and has almost 8 times more subscribers.

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#33 NathanDrakeSwag  Online
Member since 2013 • 16380 Posts

"Ditch" lol. More like they were tired of getting alpha'd by Sony so they started hiding hardware sales.

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simple-facts

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#34 simple-facts  Online
Member since 2021 • 94 Posts

Wars over,Xbox studio's have every base covered..its called GAMING not SALESING and no-one can troll cows the way sony does.

Tell lies,cows run with said lies,sony flipflops and fanboys are left to damage control instead of calling them out

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BenjaminBanklin

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#35 BenjaminBanklin
Member since 2004 • 8340 Posts

They are NOT ditching the console wars. They are far too obsessed with trying to push Sony out of the market to do that. Just because they're expanding the digital platforms of their games doesn't mean they've bailed on selling boxes. It's the main part of MS's ecosystem for Xbox and they need them out there to get people to invest in gaming under their umbrella.

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Pedro

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#36 Pedro  Online
Member since 2002 • 51354 Posts

@BenjaminBanklin said:

They are NOT ditching the console wars. They are far too obsessed with trying to push Sony out of the market to do that. Just because they're expanding the digital platforms of their games doesn't mean they've bailed on selling boxes. It's the main part of MS's ecosystem for Xbox and they need them out there to get people to invest in gaming under their umbrella.

😂 You really have problems man.

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BenjaminBanklin

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#37 BenjaminBanklin
Member since 2004 • 8340 Posts

@Pedro said:

😂 You really have problems man.

No, YOU have problems. Mr. "I'm getting a discount on Ratchet and Clank because I teach Insomniac devs". 🤣🤣🤣 What I'm saying is common sense. They even admitted Sony is their main competitor again in the Epic case, after blowing us some bullshit that it was Google and Apple.

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Pedro

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#38 Pedro  Online
Member since 2002 • 51354 Posts

@BenjaminBanklin said:
@Pedro said:

😂 You really have problems man.

No, YOU have problems. Mr. "I'm getting a discount on Ratchet and Clank because I teach Insomniac devs". 🤣🤣🤣 What I'm saying is common sense. They even admitted Sony is their main competitor again in the Epic case, after blowing us some bullshit that it was Google and Apple.

Are you willing to bet your account on my claims? 😊

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GoldenElementXL

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#39 GoldenElementXL
Member since 2016 • 5848 Posts

@Pedro said:

@Sagemode87: MS tried and has almost 8 times more subscribers.

8 times more subs but half the subscription and services revenue. Someday we will have an honest discussion about those sub numbers.

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GoldenElementXL

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#40 GoldenElementXL
Member since 2016 • 5848 Posts
@Pedro said:
@BenjaminBanklin said:
@Pedro said:

😂 You really have problems man.

No, YOU have problems. Mr. "I'm getting a discount on Ratchet and Clank because I teach Insomniac devs". 🤣🤣🤣 What I'm saying is common sense. They even admitted Sony is their main competitor again in the Epic case, after blowing us some bullshit that it was Google and Apple.

Are you willing to bet your account on my claims? 😊

That whole thing sounds odd. You know someone on a dev team that’s getting you a discount? That sounds more like you know somebody that works at Best Buy. If you know somebody in the industry, only getting a discount is a slap in the face...

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BenjaminBanklin

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#41 BenjaminBanklin
Member since 2004 • 8340 Posts

@Pedro said:

Are you willing to bet your account on my claims? 😊

Who's the dev? We'll ask if they know you

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xantufrog

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#42  Edited By xantufrog  Moderator
Member since 2013 • 16196 Posts

@goldenelementxl: not really - one of my friends worked for EA and she only got an employee discount on the games, which she shared with us. They don't get the games free (although I'm sure it varies by company)

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#43 Pedro  Online
Member since 2002 • 51354 Posts

@goldenelementxl said:

That whole thing sounds odd. You know someone on a dev team that’s getting you a discount? That sounds more like you know somebody that works at Best Buy. If you know somebody in the industry, only getting a discount is a slap in the face...

What is so hard to believe that a person that teaches Game development for a living has a students that work in the industry? If you work at any large corporation, things aren't giving out for free, you get a discount.

@BenjaminBanklin said:

Who's the dev? We'll ask if they know you

You don't know anyone in the industry. 😂🤣

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#44 Pedro  Online
Member since 2002 • 51354 Posts
@goldenelementxl said:
@Pedro said:

@Sagemode87: MS tried and has almost 8 times more subscribers.

8 times more subs but half the subscription and services revenue. Someday we will have an honest discussion about those sub numbers.

You can continue to ignore the success that GamePass has had and you can spend time evaluating their cost to run their operation. That is and will continue not a concern of mine.

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#45 BenjaminBanklin
Member since 2004 • 8340 Posts

@Pedro said:

What is so hard to believe that a person that teaches Game development for a living has a students that work in the industry? If you work at any large corporation, things aren't giving out for free, you get a discount.

@BenjaminBanklin said:

Who's the dev? We'll ask if they know you

You don't know anyone in the industry. 😂🤣

Neither do you with your lying ass. The lies are so numerous they're spiraling out of control. 🤣🤣🤣 What the hell does a message board-dwelling Xbot have to teach anyone in this industry? And why can't you afford a game at full price?

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#46  Edited By Pedro  Online
Member since 2002 • 51354 Posts

@BenjaminBanklin said:

Neither do you with your lying ass. The lies are so numerous they're spiraling out of control. 🤣🤣🤣 What the hell does a message board-dwelling Xbot have to teach anyone in this industry? And why can't you afford a game at full price?

Remember the last time you challenge me on a claim you made an ass of yourself. 😂 Seems like you are interested in a repeat. 🤣

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#47 BenjaminBanklin
Member since 2004 • 8340 Posts

@Pedro said:

Remember the last time you challenge me on a claim you made an ass of yourself. 😂 Seems like you are interested in a repeat. 🤣

Okay, then prove it already

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#48 Pedro  Online
Member since 2002 • 51354 Posts

@BenjaminBanklin said:
@Pedro said:

Remember the last time you challenge me on a claim you made an ass of yourself. 😂 Seems like you are interested in a repeat. 🤣

Okay, then prove it already

You have to agree to delete your account. 😎

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#49 BenjaminBanklin
Member since 2004 • 8340 Posts

@Pedro said:

You have to agree to delete your account. 😎

Nope.

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#50 Pedro  Online
Member since 2002 • 51354 Posts

@BenjaminBanklin: But you were so sure about yourself. 😂