Microsoft promised in September to bring mouse and keyboard support to the Xbox One. Now in another PC-related change, the company is planning to bring the Xbox Game Pass service to the PC.
PC Game Pass service is a logical step
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced the plan during the company’s first fiscal quarter earnings call. As of now, there are no details on how the service will be fitted to the PC, but it seems likely the service will be paired with the Microsoft Store.
“Xbox has the key gaming community and the monetization capabilities. Whether it’s first-party games or third-party games, we are best-in-class in that monetization and that’s what’s reflected in the results….Bringing Game Pass to even the PC is going to be a big element of [increasing the strength of our gaming community],” Nadella said during the earnings call (as transcribed by Seeking Alpha).
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Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass service currently offers more than 100 games to download at just $10 a month. With the service, users get instant access to first-party titles as well. Microsoft exclusives like Forza Horizon 4 and Sea of Thieves were also made available via the Xbox Game Pass immediately after their release.
Nadella gave no release date for the PC Game Pass, but it can be expected to come some time next year. Microsoft has at least two major releases — Gears 5 and Crackdown 3 — down the line, so the PC Game Pass system will likely be in place before these releases.
Microsoft already offers the Play Anywhere program, which allows users to play the games they buy on both PC and Xbox. Many of the Xbox Game Pass games are already available for PCs under the Play Anywhere program, but most of the games are Microsoft’s own titles. Thus, bringing Game Pass to the PC is the logical next step.
Will the Xbox Game Pass service for PC succeed?
Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass service has grown very popular among gamers, primarily due to its expanding collection of titles. If Microsoft shows the same level of commitment to the PC game pass, there is no reason the service shouldn’t be equally successful on the PC.
PC gaming holds massive potential, and currently, PC gamers need a service like the Xbox Game Pass. Though Steam offers access to PC games and is the market leader, it lacks a subscription option. EA’s $4.99 / month Origin Access offers 75 EA games and some third-party titles.
With over 100 games, Microsoft’s Game Pass could outperform EA’s service, provided users get the best of games at the same $10 a month. Microsoft will also have to ensure a healthy selection of games from third parties right from the start. A road map that tells users about the future games that will be added to service would help boost confidence and encourage more to sign up for the service.
It will be interesting to see how the other services react to Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass for PCs. Steam could come up with a similar service, and EA could make its offering more competitive.
Microsoft recently announced the Xbox Game Pass app for smartphones. The app allows gamers to manage their Game Pass catalog and install games to their Xbox One from their mobile.
Impressive Q1 numbers
On Wednesday Microsoft reported better-than-expected earnings results for the first fiscal quarter. The company’s earnings came in at $1.14 per share compared to the 96 cents per share analysts had expected. Quarterly revenue was $29.08 billion, well above analysts’ expectations of $27.9 billion. Revenue was up 19% year over year.
Microsoft continues to benefit from public cloud adoption. Microsoft’s Azure division, which includes several elements of the its cloud computing platform, registered a 76% growth rate. However, the company noted that the cloud growth came at a price as its capital expenditures included a $4.3 billion expense which was partly used to support cloud operations.
Further, Microsoft’s Intelligent Cloud segment grew 24% to $8.6 billion, while the Productivity and Business Processes division reported $9.8 billion in revenue. Revenue from the gaming division grew 44% to $2.74 billion, while LinkedIn recorded $1.53 billion revenue, a growth rate of 33%.
For the second fiscal quarter, Microsoft expects revenue to be between $31.9 billion to $32.7 billion. The revenue figure includes a contribution from GitHub. Analysts are expecting revenue of $32.25 billion.