Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has made an interesting statement about their newly minted gaming division.
Satya, alongside Microsoft president Brad Smith was asked in a panel last year about the “health and future of Xbox.” As shared by Stephen Totilo, this was Satya’s response:
“Yeah, obviously, we’re very, very excited about everything that’s going on in gaming, especially with the close of Activision Blizzard King. We think that now, we have the ability to really do what we’ve always set out to do, which is build great games and deliver them to folks across all platforms, right, which is Xbox and consoles, the PCs, and now even including mobile gaming and cloud gaming.
We’re excited about the future. We want to do our very best work in gaming. It’s a core business for us, but also, I see tremendous synergy between what we’re doing up and down the AI stack. I always say Microsoft is not a conglomerate. We have one platform that we express through multiple, different addressable markets, and gaming is one.
When I think about AI, what we’re doing at the infrastructure layer or what we will do at the edge, it’s sort of the same set of transistors that first were used for graphics, guess what, are being used for AI. You can connect the dots and see why gaming is going to be more strategic to us.”
So, let’s address the first big statement from Satya’s response. Is he implying that Microsoft will bring more games outside Xbox? We have to believe the answer is yes. As Tom Warren has pointed out, Tim Stuart’s comments from another recent interview make it clear that Microsoft plans include select Xbox games going cross platform.
Some gamers love to misconstrue statements like this, but it’s simply a reflection of the post Microsoft – Activision reality. Microsoft is already a major publisher on both PlayStation and Nintendo Switch. If they made comments about exclusive games it would be similarly misconstrued as Xbox making ABK games exclusive to their platform.
If there’s anything gamers should be concerned about, it’s Satya’s messaging about AI. Satya is pretty clear about Microsoft’s interest in gaming being related to their AI ambitions. And this doesn’t seem to be about using AI in games, either.
Imagine a future where Microsoft uses their fully integrated game studios to do work in AI. If their predictions about where AI is going in the future are spot on, they may be using Microsoft Gaming to raise their non-gaming business in that future. That’s a future we could all be looking at, not that far away from now.