Earlier this month we learned that we would soon be getting an Xbox Games Showcase on the 23rd of July. And, as the date has approached bits of information have been trickling out in the form of rumours and the occasional tweet from Microsoft higher-ups. Yesterday, however, Head of Xbox Phil Spencer reiterated Xbox’s stance going forward and even made an interesting announcement via the Xbox site in a post entitled: “You Are the Future of Gaming”.
While he stated Xbox’s commitment to inclusion and touted the upcoming Xbox Series X’s superiority, he also reiterated how the team is really pushing to become the ultimate consumer-friendly company. Once again, we were reminded that “all Xbox Game Studios titles launch into Xbox Game Pass the same day as their global release”, all games launching in the next couple of years on the Series X will also be playable on the Xbox One (and so upgrading consoles will be completely optional) and thanks to their already announced Smart Delivery feature, games will only need to be purchased once.
However, the big announcement came near the end of the article, where it was revealed that Project Cloud (the cloud-based service that will allow games to be played across several devices) would become part of Game Pass (Ultimate) at no extra cost. As explained by Spencer this means, for example, that “when Halo Infinite launches, you and your friends can play together and immerse yourselves in the Halo universe as Master Chief—anywhere you go and across devices.”
It’s a stunning offer. The closer we get to the launch of the new consoles the more distinct the different strategies employed by Sony and Microsoft become. Where Sony is relying on new first-party games and the apparent uniqueness that the PS5 will offer, Microsoft is (perhaps due to their last generation gaffs) taking a completely all-for-one/one-for-all ecosystem approach. Microsoft has a lot of ground to catch up, but their continued pro-consumer approach is no doubt making waves in PlayStation executive offices.