Microsoft and Xbox have been pushing hard in terms of services as we enter a new generation of consoles. One of the major selling points has always been that of Xbox Game Pass. The premium subscription service gives access to many games for a flat fee, and is cross-platform to boot. This has predictably led to questions of why does a consumer need to get new hardware if a PC would do. Xbox Game Pass is undoubtedly a great service, but it is also a gamble. That said, it is the same situation for developers and studios. Questions of how they get paid, or how the games get on the service, have not been clearly explained. Xbox chief Phil Spencer may be busy promoting the Xbox Series X and S, but he also made it a point to share more.
In an interview with The Verge, Spencer revealed that different deals are in place for Xbox Game Pass. It all depends on what the studio and developers need at the time. A smaller studio may require a lump sum payment in return for the game to be part of the service. In other cases, Microsoft may also pony up the full production costs of the game. This way, the developers can also sell the game on other platforms like Steam and even PlayStation.
Games that are more or less done can also get on Xbox Game Pass. It is a more straightforward transaction in this case with money changing hands. Even the ways the games are monetized or measured in popularity are also part of the conversation. Suffice to say, there are many options on the table when it comes to discussions.
Thinking for the future
The gaming industry is definitely home to a wide range of products. These can require small to multi-million dollar budgets that offer different experiences. With Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft is showing its willingness to dig deep into its pockets and take a risk with developers.
On the other hand, developers will also have to weigh up options. A revenue-sharing plan could be more palatable for the bigger players, while the smaller ones can look forward to not worrying about money just yet.
In any case, it is a fascinating business model for sure. It is clearly no longer about hardware, but an entire ecosystem where everyone can stand to benefit. Microsoft and Xbox get the games, developers are compensated, and players have more to enjoy. That is certainly something we can get behind.