His name is Bond. Sarah Bond. If Phil Spencer embodies the paternal vision of the Xbox brand, Sarah Bond could be the maternal incarnation. Vice President of the group and in charge of the division responsible for the Xbox ecosystem as a whole, she gives a beautiful interview in which she gives her vision of things. A tale of the rare words of an important character in the brand’s universe.
In this interview with McKinsey & Company, an international strategy consulting firm, Sarah Bond looks back on her journey on the Xbox brand and how she sees the future of the Redmond company. In recent years, Microsoft has made a strategic shift from a traditional console maker to a global ecosystem; The Gaming Ecosystem Organization (GEO) division was created in 2020 and was entrusted to the talented Sarah Bond. This gives a glimpse of what the video game of tomorrow could be according to Xbox.
In this interview, she analyzes how video games fit into other entertainment industries and how they help bring people together, even beyond the boundaries imposed by the various players in the market (Sony, Nintendo, Stadia, Epic, etc.) made it one of Xbox’s priorities:
Our vision for the gaming industry is that anyone can play any game, anywhere. That’s not how the industry operates today. [Atualmente] the industry is divided by platform. It is broken down by game type. It’s not really possible to play perfectly on all devices. It’s more of a legacy of how the industry has always been. Now, especially with the advent of a cloud, with toolsets like game engines, it doesn’t have to be that way.
A culture of globalization that, always according to Bond, would go beyond the simple gaming platform. She explains that games must, in the long run, detach from their binary vision of “one console/one network” in order to evolve. In short, it is the vision of a completely dematerialized market where developers would have access to the same authoring tools to port their games not to consoles but to online platforms. That’s what she calls cross-network multiplayer:
It’s the ability for you and I to play together, even though we’re on different networks. You need to enable cross-save, so if I start playing my game on PC and I need to take my kid to soccer game, I can play a little game on my mobile and then my save game needs to be transferred across multiple devices like a console.
This is exactly what the company established with the development of Xbox Cloud Gaming. With the difference that Sarah Bond wants this system to be generalized, for everyone. This is how Xbox Game Pass became a “platform” when it was originally conceived as a “product” according to Bond’s confession.
The potential of this subscription service is therefore at the heart of the strategic shift at Xbox and reaffirms the desire to massively develop it to make it accessible to as many people as possible. Powered by cloud technology, it could even be the first step towards the future of the industry.