For several weeks now, rumors have been swirling about the future of Xbox. As usual, a stream of theories, false leaks and speculations feed an impressive quantity of articles of varying degrees of far-fetchedness. But this macedoine shouldn’t last too long. Phil Spencer, head of Xbox Game Studios and head of the Xbox branch, has just announced that the company will be officially speaking next week about its vision for the future of Xbox.
” We’re listening and we’re hearing you. We’ve scheduled a business-focused event for next week, during which we look forward to sharing more details with you about our vision for the future of Xbox. Stay tuned. “(Phil Spencer on X February 5, 2024)
Future of Xbox: the insistent rumors
Among the flood of rumors, however, some can be looked at with care.
- On the console front, there has been talk for some days of the arrival of two consoles. A classic version to replace the current Xbox, and a portable version.
- On the studio side, what’s got some of the gaming audience panicking is the potential arrival of Xbox-exclusive titles on other platforms (Playstation in particular). Indiana Jones and the Ancient Circle could be released on PlayStation 5 after a brief period of exclusivity on Xbox and PC. A position that could be driven by the concessions that enabled Activision Blizzard’s recent buyouts. But these announcements also follow on from rumours that Hi-Fi Rush and Sea of Thieves will soon be arriving on other platforms.
Content production and the development of services to monetize it are thus becoming a central issue for Microsoft. This concern is obviously shared by others, such as Sony. After claiming that the Playstation was the only legitimate gaming platform, the Japanese company decided to progressively bring its catalog to PCs to expand its audience and, above all, amortize its exploding costs. This preoccupation with exploding costs and the evolution of the video game universe can only lead to one thought…
What if Microsoft abandoned its Xbox?
We’ve said it many times here: both the Xbox and the PS5 are vulgar PCs. In terms of sales, while we can’t speak of an industrial disaster for the Xbox, Sony is clearly leading the way. But the evolution of studios, the evolution of uses, the power of the American in the cloud… All these issues raise the question of the relevance of an Xbox hardware platform.
For years, Microsoft has been communicating around the Xbox brand on its console, but also on the PC ecosystem. If we take a step back, what is it that maintains the relevance of specific hardware (as with Nintendo, for example)? The catalog and the exclusivity of certain titles, in this case. Nintendo’s hardware cannot be considered an indisputable competitive advantage in explaining its success.
But how can content, catalogs and licenses be widely distributed without a certain uniformity in the hardware platform? The cloud is one way , but so is the PC. Everything that’s happening around PC handheld consoles is a signal to consider. The cloud will never be able to satisfy all demand (connectivity, mobility, latency, etc.), but a hybrid solution is the way forward for MSI, Valve and Asus.
So, are we done with Xbox consoles yet? Maybe not just yet, but…