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“You don’t have to make a service [game]” to be viable when you have a subscription offering like Game Pass, says Microsoft

The year is 2025, and triple-A games just never end. Every game is infinite, constantly updated by factory developers working in shifts, swapping in and out to keep the content churning. Games are designed based on Google Trends.

This future - much more terrifying than Terminator’s robotic apocalypse, I’m sure you’ll agree - isn’t something Microsoft is interested in. It wants to empower creators to build the kinds of games that they want to create, using Game Pass as a delivery system that takes away the pressure of specific sales targets. Instead of the game as a service, its delivery system is the service, allowing the game creators to do what they do best.

“Well, two things we do with our studio games,” Microsoft’s GM of games marketing Aaron Greenberg told me during X019. “One is we let them make the games they want to make. I mean, that sounds simple, but not every business team has that mindset. We want them to be part of our first-party studios’ family because they have a heritage of building great games, great experiences. Take Ninja Theory as an example of what they’ve created with Hellblade. It’s just such an incredible game, such a unique game, such a creative game. And we trust them to want to go create other things.

“So we want to enable them to do that, give them the resources to do that, and it’s exciting what they’re doing with Bleeding Edge. They have other projects in the works as well, that in time we will show. Obsidian, another great example of that, where they have The Outer Worlds now, and then being able to announce Grounded will be coming in 2020 is very exciting.

“The idea that a game can just be a game is also okay. You don’t have to go make a service. So not only what type of games, the games you want to make, but also how the games are delivered, Game Pass gives those creators a lot of flexibility. If you want to deliver something in chapters, like we’re doing with Tell Me Why and Dontnod, that’s okay too. If you want your game to have a beginning, a middle, and an end, and no DLC, and no other transactions, and just a single-player game, that’s also fine. The idea is that we really want a diversity of content in the types of games and experiences for our fans, and especially for our Game Pass owners, and the types of games and content that these new studios are bringing in particular, really round out what we traditionally have built with our internal studios.”

Microsoft’s Game Pass is already something that makes Xbox stand out as a console, but the addition of more different kinds of games, more varied experiences, could well see it take the lead in the console wars of next generation.

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Kirk McKeand avatar

Kirk McKeand

Former Deputy Editor

Kirk is an award-winning writer from the UK's Lincoln, and has written for the likes of IGN, Vice, Eurogamer, Edge, Playboy, and several other magazines, newspapers, and websites. For several years, Kirk also acted as the editor of VG247.