The head of Microsoft has been discussing the next gen Xbox’s launch, but does he mean new games or just those available via Game Pass?
That’s a hell of quote for anyone to make but also a dangerous one, because it immediately sounds like Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is being economical with the truth.
Microsoft has already said that Halo Infinite will be the only first party game available at launch, and while they could’ve changed their mind since, it seems hard to imagine they’d go from that to the multiple titles needed to break any kind of launch record.
Instead, what Nadella seems to be referring to is Xbox Game Pass and backwards compatibility, a combination of which would indeed give the Xbox Series X a huge launch line-up – even if they are all existing Xbox One, and older, games.
‘In content we are delivering differentiated first and third party content to attract and retain gamers’, said Nadella during an earnings call with investors, as reported by VGC. ‘Xbox Series X will launch this fall with the largest launch line-up for any console ever.’
Thanks to the coronavirus, Nadella described the last three months as ‘a breakthrough quarter for gaming’.
‘We saw record engagement and monetisation led by strength on and off console as people everywhere turned to gaming to connect, socialise and play with others,’ he added.
According to Nadella there are now nearly 100 million Xbox Live players around the world, despite the fact that Xbox One console sales (which Microsoft refuses to report) are estimated to be less than 50 million.
Although brief, his comments give a good indication of how the rest of Microsoft sees the Xbox division and how the Xbox Series X might be pitched: not as a traditional new console format but merely a new member of the Xbox family, whose roots date back almost two decades.
Considering Xbox Live and other services are much more profitable than hardware (which is often sold at a loss) Microsoft’s approach does make plenty of sense, although recent rumours suggest that Xbox Live itself may be phased out in the next gen, in favour of Game Pass and xCloud.
So while Xbox Series X will probably end up having less new games than most console launches, Nadella’s comments are still technically correct.
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