Mike Blank, senior vice president at Electronic Arts, which put its games such as the Madden NFL and FIFA soccer franchises on Game Pass in 2020, said there were “initial concerns” about subscription services. But the company is happy with the results and “the players are responding positively,” he said.
Microsoft also spent a lot on game development to expand the Game Pass offering by buying studios, including a $ 7.5 billion acquisition of ZeniMax Media in September and adding hundreds of games to the service. This year, consideration was also given to purchasing the Discord messaging app, which players can chat with while playing the game.
Diversification continued in late 2019 when Microsoft released a cloud gaming service that hosts games in a company’s data centers and broadcasts them to devices. The Xbox Cloud Gaming or xCloud service means users don’t have to install games or use expensive hardware.
The idea of a cloud gaming service crystallized for Mr. Spencer this year while he was sitting on a bus in Nairobi, Kenya and connected to Wi-Fi. He found out that he could stream a game from Microsoft’s London data center to his phone.
“It was literally the same saved game I had in Redmond, Washington,” he said. “It just drives how you can really make gaming global.”
On Thursday, Microsoft announced that it is working with television manufacturers to bring its games to televisions without the need for an Xbox. It added that it would soon bring cloud streaming to the console as well.
At the moment, cloud gaming is still hampered by faulty gameplay and requires a strong internet connection. Xbox Cloud Gaming is still in the testing phase and Apple has banned the app from iPhones because it contains a catalog of games. Apple requires separate apps for each game as part of the app review process.