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Microsoft announces intent to expand Xbox Game Pass to PC

by: Jen -
More On: Xbox Game Pass

I know this headline is confusing, especially for those that have been playing State of Decay 2, Sea of Thieves and Forza Horizon 4 since they launched, but hear me out.  On the Microsoft earnings call yesterday, not only did the company tout the growth of Xbox revenues and subscription services, CEO Satya Nadella spent a couple minutes talking about gaming from the 12:00 minute mark through 13:20 with the transcript below:

We continue to broaden our reach with the more than 2 billion gamers worldwide and expand our opportunity – from the way games are distributed to how they are played and viewed.

We are investing in content, community and cloud services across every endpoint to expand usage and deepen engagement. First-party content is key to our approach, and we now have eleven game studios in our portfolio to deliver differentiated content for our fast-growing services like Xbox Game Pass. Xbox Live now has 57 million monthly active users, and Mixer user growth is accelerating. This loyal, high value community is our strongest asset, creating expanding opportunity for monetization of first and third-party games. Fortnite is a good example, and all up we are seeing record software and services revenue and engagement being driven on our platform.

Earlier this month we announced Project xCloud, a breakthrough game-streaming technology that puts gamers at the center of their gaming experience, enabling them to play games in high-fidelity wherever and whenever they want, on any device. And, it will empower game developers to scale to hundreds of millions of new users across devices. It’s early days, but I’m excited about our road map.

While this was a nice update on the gaming service, the real news came at the 38:24 mark, when Nadella answered a question from Barclays on Gaming and subscription service in the cloud.  The segment ends at 40:30, but at the 39:45 mark, Nadella states that "..obviously even bring the game pass to the PC is going to be a big element of that..." when talking about strengthening Microsoft's gaming foothold.

What this means and how this will play out is anybody's guess at this point, but a side-effect of the current Xbox Game Pass is that Play Anywhere titles are already free to subscribers through the Microsoft Store on Windows 10 PCs.  Could this be expanded to include all Xbox titles being ported, or Third Party titles that have PC version and are added to Game Pass be made available?  I don't know, but that would certainly be a nice addition.  We will likely need to wait for E3 or WWD in 2019 to find out, but it certainly appears that PC gamers will finally get some additional love from Microsoft in the near future.