Halo Studio Head explained that Xbox is thriving thanks to 3 strategic pillars


In the Xbox One era Microsoft didn’t have as many studios as they do today and some third-party bets didn’t work well. Thus, the company remodeled itself and decided to hold the reins of its own destiny. To explain what has changed, the studio head at 343 Industries, Bonnie Ross, explained well at a roundtable with former Xbox execs today.

“For us, [a iniciativa do Xbox] it’s really about having a diverse set of content, finding players where they are and taking those experiences forward,” Ross explained to the moderator and former president of Nintendo of America Reggie Fils-Aime. “I really try to place the player first.”

Note that the strategy is no longer worked on a single point. Microsoft seeks to find the player as the main point, whether on consoles, PCs or with the cloud.

“How are we going to find the player where he is?” she asked. “It’s not just about the console anymore. It’s really thinking about how to make sure the games they want to play… are there for them to play. ”

The three pillars of Microsoft’s new strategy according to Ross are the following:

1. Xbox is reaching players wherever they are

Microsoft wants a big audience, it’s targeting the giant consumer market and it’s worth remembering there are over a billion players, and they’re split not just on consoles but on PC and smartphone, and that’s why the cloud is important to find them.

Forza Horizon 5 is proof that this is working. This game has had 10 million players since its release on November 5th. Microsoft has probably not even sold 10 million Xbox Series X/S consoles yet. But that doesn’t matter because the game is in the cloud via Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, Xbox One, and Steam. Whoever played had to pay somehow.

That doesn’t mean Microsoft is forgetting about Xbox hardware. Rather, it means the Xbox Series X/S is part of a broader ecosystem that is thriving, building on the success of Forza Horizon 5. It’s obviously working.

2. Xbox is investing in variety

Ross also mentioned the need for diversity, and she means it in a multifaceted way. It means diversity in terms of the experiences creators choose to center. But she also means it in terms of a variety of content that appeals to different types of people.

“When you think about Halo and then the other games in our portfolio, it’s also about making sure you have a diverse world and a diverse set of characters,” said Ross. “And we’ve done a lot of studio acquisitions – I think we have 23 – which is really to try and have content for everyone.”

While these 23 studios continue to grow, Microsoft has relied on third-party partners to bring a variety of releases to its Xbox Game Pass service.

3. Xbox is investing in quality

Since July, Xbox Game Studios has released Microsoft Flight Simulator (Xbox console), Psychonauts 2, Deathloop, Forza Horizon 5 and Halo Infinite multiplayer. The top three were nominated for awards at The Game Awards, and Halo dropped out after the eligibility period. Forza Horizon 5, despite not being a GOTY nominee, was the only game of 2021 that surpassed the 90+ on Metacritic.

Xbox quality can’t come from a single game release — or even a good year. The company needs to show a consistent commitment to excellence. But that’s exactly what it showed with its 2021 releases. After acquiring Double Fine and Arkane (through Bethesda/Zenimax), Microsoft paid for and provided support to upgrade Psychonauts 2 and Deathloop. That’s in addition to delaying Halo Infinite an entire year to do the same thing with that game.

Quality is the second name of Xbox. Of course, grades do justice or injustice, but in a way it’s a parameter used in the gaming industry.

And if 10 million showed up for Forza Horizon 5 in a little over a week, how many will show up for Starfield, Avowed, Fable, Hellblade 2, Elder Scrolls 6, Indiana Jones or Perfect Dark?

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