Ex-Xbox Exec admits to passing game making him ‘nervous’

A group of video game characters, including Master Chief and Lara Croft, stand close to each other as they look left.

picture: Xbox / Microsoft

Ed Fries, Former Microsoft Vice President of Game Publishing who launched the original Xbox, recently appeared on a podcast where he discussed some of the concerns he has about Xbox Game Pass. Fries said he is “afraid” that the service will lead to a future in which people will stop buying games, and instead choose to pay a single monthly subscription fee to access everything. In his opinion, this is a similar scenario to what happened with Spotify and the move toward music streaming, an outcome he believes wasn’t great for musicians or record companies. He fears a similar future for the gaming industry will come.

Yesterday, french fries Featured on the Xbox Expansion podcast In an extended interview covering multiple topics including Hello, the exec’s involvement in Microsoft’s Xbox launch, the console’s difficulties in Japan, and current Xbox chief, Phil Spencer. Near the end of the interview, the host asked Fries if there were any changes or tweaks he would make to the current Xbox strategy. Although he didn’t provide specifics, he did describe Game Pass as the one thing the company was doing that made him “nervous”.

“The arcade of the game scares me,” Fries explained. “Because there was something a bit similar called Spotify that was created for the music sector. Wah… when Spotify took off it destroyed the music business. I mean, it literally halved the annual revenue of the music business and made people not buy songs anymore.”

“So we have to be careful that we are not creating the same system in gaming. I mean, these markets are more fragile than people realize,” Fries continued. “I saw the game industry destroy itself in the early ’80s. I saw the educational software business self-destruct in the mid ’90s. So Game Pass makes me nervous. As a customer, I love it. I love Spotify as a customer: I have all the songs I want… It’s a great deal as a customer.” But it’s not necessarily great for the industry.”

Kotaku Reached out to Microsoft for comment.

Fries also claimed that the rise of music streaming services like Spotify had convinced Apple to stop selling songs because, in his words, “nobody is buying them anymore.”

But, As I mentioned before VGCSome of the former Xbox exec’s claims are disputed by people in the music industry. One of the stats used to counter Fries’ claim that the industry was halved after the rise of live streaming was that when Spotify launched in 2011, the global record industry brought in about $15 billion in revenue. In 2021, after a decade of helping Spotify promote music streaming, the industry reported $25.9 billion in profits.

However, while the industry as a whole continued to grow, so did individual artists and smaller bands She mentioned that she makes very little through streaming services Because most famous people only pay a fraction of a penny per stream.

It should also be noted that while Apple Made changes to iTunes and its digital stores, you can still Buy songs and albums.

However, while some of Fries’ claims are debatable, it’s not that Game Pass has really changed the industry. With more than 25 million subscribers, Game Pass has become a major focus for Xbox and its chief Phil Spencer, as the company continues to bring big games And Popular indie titles service every month. Game Pass has been widely embraced by fans, as it lets people with less money play more games than ever before. Looks like Sony is PlayStation Plus Long Term Service Change To be more like Game Pass, adding more levels that offer larger libraries of new and old games, much like Microsoft offers.

While Game Pass has certainly changed how people buy and play games, it’s not all good news, especially for smaller developers.

indie studio Game bakers recently spoke to waypoint About the studio’s decision not to release a new update for immediately on Xbox because it didn’t sell well on the platform. According to the developers, on Xbox it has become very important to play mini-games via Game Pass or risk being left behind. And even when you release your indie game on Game Pass, as the studio did in 2021 HavenIt is not a guarantee that it will increase sales or profits.

A similar situation happened with the AAA shooter from Square Enix, OutridersAnd that have not yet made a profit A year after the launch of Microsoft’s subscription service.

Read more: After years of hype, Xbox Pass Burnout is here

It seems reasonable to imagine that as Xbox Game Pass continues to grow and more games are added at a faster rate, it may become difficult to stand out from the crowd and achieve success with the service. If PS Plus renewal from Sony Helping in attracting more subscribers, it is very likely that both these major companies as well as newcomers wanting to get a slice of this pie will continue to expand their gaming subscription services, which is also a concern for Fries.

Right now, Game Pass is still fairly small compared to Spotify, and most games are still released across multiple platforms rather than exclusively as part of some subscription services, a fact Fries admitted during the podcast.

“The percentage of all games on Game Pass is still small, and there are a lot of games,” Fries admitted, “200 games a week released on Steam, and more coming out on mobile, on iOS and Android.”

“So, you know, it’s something that I worry about in the future. But it’s something that I worry about.”


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