Microsoft gaming boss Phil Spencer clarifies that the company has 'no plans' to migrate Xbox Game Pass onto rival consoles like Nintendo or PlayStation, but neither really wants such a service on their platforms anyway.
A bit ago at a Wells Fargo tech conference, Xbox finance officer Tim Stuart said that Microsoft wants to bring Game Pass to "all screens," including competing platforms like PlayStation and Nintendo. This won't be happening.
In a recent interview with Windows Central's Jez Corden, Xbox gaming CEO Phil Spencer confirms that offering Game Pass on PlayStation or Nintendo isn't part of the strategy.
"I'll start by saying we have no plans to bring Game Pass to PlayStation or Nintendo. It's not in our plans," Spencer said.
"Game Pass was one of the things...over the last five years we built, and we continue to grow. It's on PC, it's on cloud. It's an important part of the Xbox console identity. And I think it will continue to be that, and we will continue to look at future ways for us to innovate across our game portfolio and our platform."
For Microsoft, Xbox Game Pass is more than a subscription. It's the centralized glue that connects PC, console, mobiles, and even smart TVs together. Game Pass is the principal content delivery service in which subscribers can conveniently access games across all devices.
That being said, Microsoft isn't in the business of boosting rival platforms directly in this way. A big selling point of an Xbox console is to get first-party Xbox games within Game Pass, on a device that's optimized to play them.
Adding Game Pass to competing platforms like the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 5 could disrupt the value proposition of buying an Xbox console. And we have to ask--would first-party games also be included on PlayStation and Switch? If so, would all of the extra development time needed to get these games working on those platforms actually be worth it?
The reality is that Microsoft doesn't need to bring Game Pass to these platforms--Microsoft is already making many millions of dollars from Nintendo and PlayStation through multi-platform games like Minecraft, Fallout 76, The Elder Scrolls Online, and soon, Call of Duty.
On the other side of the pond, it's likely that neither Nintendo nor PlayStation actually want Game Pass on their platforms.
Both of these rivals also have their own competing multi-game subscription services. PlayStation has PS Plus Extra and Premium, and Nintendo has Switch Online. These services differ from Xbox Game Pass in one key way--they don't offer day-and-date access to first-party games, which is fundamentally disruptive to selling full-priced games.
Including Game Pass on Nintendo and PlayStation would have numerous negative effects, including:
- Undercutting wholly-owned and -operated services like Switch Online, PS Plus
- Diverting service-oriented platform revenues to a direct competitor of the Big Three
- Cannibalizing full game sales