The world of streaming has taken the film and TV industry by storm, and has subsequently enticed many of the big name companies in the video games industry to follow suit. We all know Netflix’s model for streaming: get as much content out there as possible, frequently and consistently. And now it looks like Microsoft is following the same idea.
Earlier this week it was announced that Microsoft had bought Zenimax Media - the parent company of well known studio Bethesda among many others - for a massive $7.5 billion (that’s nearly twice as much that Disney paid for the Star Wars deal). This acquisition showed that Microsoft are planning to create their Netflix-style model of constant, frequent content for Xbox and PC players, and they’re not going to slow down apparently.
Obviously a big part of that is to do with the Xbox Game Pass, which MS keeps pushing as its success grows, and with the recent Zenimax acquisition will be bringing DOOM Eternal to the service soon. Microsoft is also dominating the games industry by focusing on both the Xbox consoles and PC, whereas their biggest competitor, Sony, is rather reluctant on the PC platform.
Then again, it now looks like Microsoft’s biggest competitor may not be Sony anymore, as Amazon just recently revealed their own cloud gaming service called Luna, which could explain the more aggressive push for their Game Pass service.
So with the streaming scene making it’s way over to the games industry, Microsoft is surely going to follow the same formula as the big companies like Netflix and Disney Plus, but in order to do that they would need a whole platter of studios under their belt. EA and Ubisoft tried to do the same thing, and whilst Ubisoft seems to be doing okay with their huge catalogue of famous titles and franchises (just like Disney Plus), all it takes is a dry couple of years with a more or less-than lukewarm reception, and look where that has gotten EA now as they get ready to bring their EA Play service to Game Pass as well.
But Microsoft’s success may be more likely due to their push for Game Pass and apparent Monopoly-style of buying up games studios. This would then allow them to come up with and release many big hitting titles throughout the year, even just once a quarter, which would then mean more customers to potentially buy into their service and get constant access to new games and updates. Microsoft could even control the release schedule of their big titles to make sure that the launches throughout a year would be consistent enough to keep people on their service.
If you’re interested, here’s a quick breakdown of all the studios that Microsoft currently owns:
- 343 Industries
- Compulsions Games
- Double Fine Productions
- inXile Entertainment
- Mojang Studios
- Ninja Theory
- Obsidian Entertainment
- Playground Games
- The Coalition
- Turn 10 Studios
- Undead Labs
- World's Edge
Zenimax Media - (gets it's own category thanks to how many studios Zenimax encompasses under its name)
- Alpha Dog
- Bethesda Game Studios
- Bethesda Softworks
- id Software
- Roundhouse Studios
- Tango Gameworks
- ZeniMax Online Studios
So with all that, it looks like Microsoft might be slowly becoming the Netflix of gaming, but is that a good thing? How will this affect the games industry overall? Back when Netflix came out we all thought it wasn’t going to be that big (okay, maybe a little, but definitely not as big as it has gotten), but look at us now, almost everyone has access to some sort of streaming service to watch their favorite movies and TV shows. So will a Netflix model for gaming turn out the same way?
What do you think? Will the Netflix model for gaming work for Microsoft? How will that model affect the games industry overall? Is this the next step for gaming? And who is Microsoft’s biggest competitor now? Sony, or Amazon? Let’s debate!