Microsoft will keep acquiring game studios to boost Xbox game pass

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Phil Spencer discusses why Microsoft’s acquisition of the game studios under the Bethesda Softworks umbrella won’t be the last.

Last month, Microsoft surprised the gaming world with the announcement that it had acquired Bethesda Softworks for the price of $7.5 billion. It seemed that the gauntlet had been thrown down in the upcoming console wars between the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5, which both launch in November.

In a recent interview, Phil Spencer, the current Executive Vice President of Gaming at Microsoft, revealed that the Bethesda acquisition won’t be the last for the company. Xbox is a service whose growth and sustainability are being actively pursued by Microsoft, and purchasing additional studios is integral to that plan.

Microsoft, said Spencer, “will constantly be in this mode of bringing more creators into the fold” in order to “feed” the Xbox Game Pass as it continues to grow. Acquiring Bethesda Softworks brought a number of renowned game studios under the Xbox wing in one fell swoop and with it a number of established franchises such as The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Wolfenstein, DOOM, Dishonored, Prey, and The Evil Within. This is enough to satisfy even the most discerning gamer for a while, but inevitably it will only make players expect a continuation of such great game offerings.

Already, a subscription to Xbox Game Pass provides gamers with access to a large number of titles, covering most genres and interests, and new content is constantly being added. From remasters of classic LucasArts titles like Grim Fandango to the addition of Ubisoft’s Rainbow Six Siege, Spencer has also stated that the service plans to add more casual and E-rated games in the future. These frequent additions offset somewhat the fact that titles are also removed from the service at regular intervals.

The appeal of Xbox Game Pass doesn’t stop with the variety of games provided, as the service offers or will offer other perks as well. One of the most well-known is xCloud, the Xbox streaming service that allows subscribers to play games on their Android phone or tablet. And although Apple has thus far not permitted game streaming services to be offered on the App Store, Microsoft has stated that an Xbox Game Pass app for iOS is planned for release sometime in 2021.

The xCloud service could also potentially come to the Xbox One, thereby allowing players to enjoy next-gen games on their current-gen consoles without investing in an Xbox Series X. And Spencer has even discussed the possibility that one day Xbox Game Pass might enable players to stream games directly to their TVs and bypass the need for a console altogether.

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