Phil Spencer has made a surprising statement in the course of the Microsoft FTC trial.
As a quick refresher, the FTC filed a federal case to block Microsoft from potentially closing their deal to acquire Activision. District Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley decided for Microsoft and against FTC, by ruling against the FTC’s block, clearing the way for the deal. This was a massive win for Microsoft, but the FTC has now continued this case on appeal.
As reported by WCCFTech, FTC lawyer James Weingarten asked him if he agrees with Microsoft’s internal predictions that Game Pass would pass 100 million users between Financial Year 2029 and 2030, because of an increase in PC and cloud gaming.
Surprisingly enough, this is what Phil said in response:
“I do not believe that that is what the future Xbox business would look like. This is a presentation from our devices organization to the gaming leadership team, so this is the view from the team that is chartered with building our hardware on what the future business would look like.
I can fairly safely say that if we do not make more progress than this off of console, we would exit the gaming business. If this were the outcome, we would — I don’t believe we’d still be in the business.
A majority of our customers are found off of our own hardware, I would hope by earlier than 2030. So, when you asked me if I agreed with this chart that the light green and blue depending on what colors you see there would have to be much larger much earlier. I would say by FY26, ’27 that we should be in that position, or we’d have to make a different decision with the business.”
The chart that Phil is referring to can be seen below.
Phil is being quite clear about this; the returns that Microsoft expects from their investments in the video game business are massive. If 100 million users is not enough to make Microsoft happy, then what they might be looking for is the kind of adoption rates mobile game companies see. Or, possibly even bigger than that; the kind of market reach Microsoft themselves see, in operating systems, cloud services, their other major businesses.
Now, it is quite telling that Phil explained that the prediction came from Microsoft’s devices division – namely, the division making Microsoft mice, keyboards, and the famous Surface line of computers and tablets.
It’s an indication that not everyone in Microsoft may be on the same page as Phil is here. At least, it’s easy to understand Phil’s position: Microsoft has to convince the appeals court that they need this deal to go through for their business.
As to whether this would really happen as Phil laid out, well, things could change from now until 2030. And some of those changes could lead to targets changing as well. We will at least be there to see how it plays out.