Microsoft is well aware of the circumstances surrounding the launch of Xbox Series X.
Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, has revealed that Microsoft’s commitment to services and supporting players wherever they may be will make the transition to Xbox Series X and next-gen easier, particularly in these uncertain times.
Although supply chain problems have mostly been solved, there’s the inescapable issue of economic recession following coronavirus, and how it might affect buying habits.
“So we want to be really tuned in to that as we launch. How can we make it as affordable as possible? How can we give buyers choice?” Spencer explained to the BBC.
“We’ve got an Xbox All Access subscription programme that allows people to buy their next console by paying a monthly charge. And if now is not the time for you to buy a new console, and you’re going to stay with the console you have, we’re going to keep supporting that console.”
Offering a competitive price is part of it, of course, but Spencer says the bigger play extends beyond the device itself. “If this is not the year when a family wants to make a decision to buy a new Xbox, that’s OK,” he said.
“Our strategy does not revolve around how many Xboxes I sell this year. We’re focused on delivering services through Xbox Game Pass, which allows people to build their library for a monthly fee. Backward compatibility means that the console that they have will play thousands and thousands of games. Smart delivery means when they move to the next generation, the games will move with them.”
Although Spencer is aware that gaming is not an essential service, he’s generally optimistic that the business will survive the coming recession.
“People find real value in the investment that they make in gaming,” he said. “You can buy a console, buy some games, and it can literally provide your family with hundreds of hours of entertainment.
“Even when we went back and looked at 2008-09, in that recession, to see what the impact was on gaming – gaming did OK. It was durable.”
Xbox Series X and Sony’s PS5 both launch this holiday.