Despite internal doubts, Xbox boss Phil Spencer firmly believed in Game Pass


One of the biggest changes to Xbox’s business model over the last few years was the introduction of the Xbox Game Pass. Xbox boss Phil Spencer was a big proponent of this idea from the start and was ultimately responsible for Microsoft getting involved with this new and experimental service. A Wall Street Journal article breaks down how Xbox Game Pass grew out of the success of Microsoft’s cloud services as a monthly gaming subscription model. It was never guaranteed that Microsoft would actually agree to this idea: “In meetings, Spencer staff have presented arguments as to why Game Pass can’t work – publishers won’t go along, or it won’t be sufficiently profitable.”, revealed longtime former collaborator Richard Irving. “[Phil Spencer] didn’t take no for an answer,” added Irving. Spencer was the main driving force behind moving the project forward. He is said to have always sought a way to make it work.”

Looking back, Spencer was right because Game Pass has been a hit with over 25 million subscribers. Unlike streaming movies or music, games can be downloaded locally to console or PC and played offline, while cloud gaming is still possible. Furthermore, first-party titles can be played directly at the release in Game Pass. In addition to his success with the subscription service, the Xbox boss has also made major acquisitions, such as ZeniMax and Activision Blizzard. Spencer receives the Lifetime Achievement Award for his achievements at Microsoft during the 25th DICE Awards.