2020 was quite the hyped-up year for the video game industry. We knew going into this year that there would be the launch of both the Xbox Series X/S and the PlayStation 5. Of course, we didn’t expect a worldwide health pandemic outbreak to happen which pushed so many of us out of our offices and quarantined at home. Still, that didn’t stop either company from delivering their next-generation video game console platforms.
While both are pushing their hardware releases, Microsoft is seemingly interested in a slightly different pathway for their video game division. Instead of focusing purely on the latest hardware, Microsoft has an ecosystem of sorts thanks to their Game Pass subscription service. This has prompted more gamers to bypass the console hardware in favor of other means of enjoying Microsoft’s latest video game titles.
If you’re unfamiliar with the subscription service then the best way to describe it is Netflix for games. While it’s not technically at that Netflix level yet, this subscription service does allow players to get instant access to a backlog of Microsoft and other third-party video game titles. In fact, all first-party Microsoft games will be released on Game Pass which makes it more enticing to take on for that monthly $14.99 fee.
However, signs are pointing that Microsoft will start offering a streaming means to Game Pass which would open up more possibilities of Xbox games being available through a plethora of devices. This is something that Microsoft currently has the edge over with Sony, but it is a bit curious as to how these developers are getting paid for their games.
It looks like there is not a straight answer to this either. The Verge recently had a chance to speak with Xbox head, Phil Spencer, when the topic came up. According to Phil Spencer, several deals are being made for games to show up on the Xbox Game Pass that is not directly made by first-party studios.
“Our deals are, I’ll say, all over the place. That sounds unmanaged, but it’s really based on the developer’s need. One of the things that’s been cool to see is a developer, usually a smaller to mid-sized developer, might be starting a game and say, “hey, we’re willing to put this in Game Pass on our launch day if you guys will give us X dollars now.” What we can go do is, we’ll create a floor for them in terms of the success of their game. They know they’re going to get this return.”Phil Spencer
Phil Spencer goes on to say that there are deals in which developers can get the entire production paid off. Others are more prone to the idea of gaining money through a one-time flat fee upfront to allow the title on Xbox Game Pass. It seems to be a case-by-case basis, but it shows that Microsoft is willing to work with a variety of scenarios in order to secure video game titles on their subscription service. It will certainly be interesting to see how Game Pass evolves over this latest console generation.