Microsoft continues aggressive investment into gaming

Microsoft is heavily investing into its gaming division as research and development costs increase by nearly $700 million.

Published Wed, Oct 27 2021 1:14 PM CDT   |   Updated Mon, Nov 22 2021 3:41 PM CST

Microsoft is spending more into gaming as it ramps up key services like Xbox Game Pass, Project xCloud game streaming, software development, and new console hardware.

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Right now Xbox is bigger than its ever been. The brand is now a service that delivers games, content, engagement, and monetization across consoles, mobile phones, tablets, PCs, and soon directly to television sets via native built-in apps.

Microsoft has spent billions to get Xbox where it is today and these investments are paying off. Xbox just achieved a new historic Q1 earnings record of $3.593 billion. This is just the beginning, and Microsoft has continued its aggressive spending and investment into video games.

In its recent Q1 SEC filing, Microsoft confirms research and development spending has increased by a whopping $673 million primarily because of cloud engineering and gaming. Both of these segments are synergistic to Xbox. Microsoft spent $5.5 billion in R&D in the first quarter period. Remember that R&D isn't always immediately accretive and is more of a longer-term investment.

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Present-day spending on games has also jumped. Cost of revenue increased $2.6 billion (+24%) to $13.646 billion in Q1'22 "driven by growth in Microsoft Cloud and Gaming." This includes spending on marketing, shipping, and delivery of content and services via the Xbox network.

Microsoft's games spending isn't going in any one place, but is instead spread across multiple segments. Xbox Game Pass is the core heart of the Xbox business and acts as a recurring subscription mechanism as well as a continual-monetization vehicle that not only sparks monthly payments and in-game purchases, but also full-game digital purchases as well.

It's also engineering the next generation of Xbox console hardware.

Check below for a closer look at Microsoft's Xbox revenue growth from Fiscal Year 2015 to present day, including the record Q1 numbers.

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Derek joined the TweakTown team in 2015 and has since reviewed and played 1000s of hours of new games. Derek is absorbed with the intersection of technology and gaming, and is always looking forward to new advancements. With over six years in games journalism under his belt, Derek aims to further engage the gaming sector while taking a peek under the tech that powers it. He hopes to one day explore the stars in No Man's Sky with the magic of VR.

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