There is a reason that Microsoft does not seem at all too concerned with the likely prospect of losing the console war to Sony (and Nintendo), yet again with the Xbox Series X. If their latest showcase was any indication, the company is more concerned about keeping, and growing its number of GamePass subscriptions, than it is on selling its next-generation console.
At one-point last year, there were rumors of GamePass arriving to the Nintendo Switch. Many Nintendo and Microsoft fans celebrated the rumors as a partnership between the two video gaming giants. Such a partnership could have spelled some trouble for Sony, it would have triggered a growth in sales for the Nintendo Switch, while at the same time considerably increasing Microsoft’s revenues and subscription numbers of their GamePass service.
Microsoft would go on to dispel the rumors of said partnership, and perhaps at some point it might have been on the cards, but Microsoft remains invested on the hardware business. In a way, it made little sense for the company to support Nintendo’s Hardware, when they themselves are trying to get people to buy an Xbox One, and in a few months from now; an Xbox Series X.
No such conflict of interest exists with Samsung ( a Cellphone, Tablet, and TV Maker), and Samsung (and Android) actually provides a much larger – growing – market for Microsoft and the Xbox brand to tap into.
Over 2 billion people around the world use Android, that is a much more tempting market than the current 60 million installed user base that supports the Nintendo Switch. With its Cloud streaming service or xCloud making its debut on September 15th Microsoft is setting the bases for what it hopes will become the “Netflix of Video Games” in their Ultimate Xbox GamePass.
The Service will cost $14.99 monthly, and it will be available on Android devices across 22 countries. Currently iOS users are being left out, as Apple’s restrictions seem to have hindered Microsoft’s testing on said devices.
Still, Microsoft is taking a page out of Nintendo in leaving the conventional Home Console Business (as Nintendo left home consoles for the portable market with the Switch) as a secondary platform of their Xbox Business.
The partnership with Samsung is a sign of this. The Smart Phone giant is unveiling its new Galaxy Note 20 handset today, and a unique Xbox Game Pass partnership with it. This unique version will allow users to acquire DLC items, in exchange for their redeemable tokens on the Xbox Store, among other features. These features will not be present on the regular Google Play Store.
This partnership is interesting because it is possible that in the future, Xbox Game Pass will make its way into Samsung’s TV sets, xCloud on TVs would undermine the necessity of owning and Xbox Home Console if users possess a fast internet connection to stream 4K content.
While Google Stadia has been a massive failure in terms of bringing about the future of game streaming to the masses, it seems Microsoft is doing things the right way.
It has taken more than half a decade for Microsoft to finally deliver on the “Power of the Cloud” promise, but it seems that on September 15th we will finally get a taste of it. Microsoft might have lost and might continue to lose the home console race war, but perhaps 20-30 years from now when consoles are (unfortunately) a thing of the past, and streaming devices rule the Video Gaming landscape, Microsoft will have had the last laugh.