It was 2013, when Microsoft Gaming President Don Mattrick, announced Xbox One with it’s focus on TV, entertainment and Kinect, gaming fans silently knew, there was a larger problem at hand, which was, Microsoft showed off a Gaming console, without previewing any Games.
To make matters worse, the original Xbox One in 2013, required a continuous Internet Connection to periodically validate the authenticity of games being played on the Console, leaving behind users with no internet connection.
To add insult to the injury, when a reporter questioned Don Mattrick as to how would the users without an internet connection by able to play on the console, he replied to instead buy the previous generation Xbox 360 instead, which contrarily resulted in users flogging to it's much famous and powerful opponent Playstation 4.
Turn the clock to 2020, Phil Spencer has taken over the Gaming Division at Microsoft and reversed all of Microsoft’s Xbox One Launch Mistakes in the past. Today, Xbox Brand is stronger than ever and the division has been successful in creating new assets as-well for Microsoft such as the immensely popular Xbox Game Pass which Sony is not even close to.
But with the next generation here in 2020, Phil knew, a new console wouldn’t be sufficient to win this Gaming Generation.
From saving the Xbox division between 2013 to 2017 to winning next generation console wars, Microsoft has put up a lot of strategies in place simultaneously, and the enemy is not Sony Playstation or Google Stadia, it is none other than Microsoft themselves.
For this generation, Microsoft is focused razor sharp on gamers and it intends to capture a broad majority of the market share through multiple strategies:
1.Xbox Series X Console: For meeting a Powerful Gaming Console as per it’s fans Needs, Microsoft is introducing a Powerful PC structured gaming console, that would give the most powerful PCs on the market today a run for their Money. This Console is going to be the most powerful gaming console ever introduced and would be primarily for the hardcore gamers who have been the core gaming audience for AAA gaming and multiplayer titles.
2.Xbox Series S (Rumoured as the Budget Console - Codename Lockhart): Most Probably, this console would be coming either at the same time or within 6-12 months of Series X launch. This console would target to capture people who enjoy gaming but can’t enter the market at a high end price point and don't care much about the highest resolution 4k or 8k resolutions and graphics. With this console, Microsoft probably will have a moderately specced console and target Xbox One S price segment consumers.
3.Microsoft Xcloud - This is a crucial strategic piece for acquiring audiences that are probably first time gamers including those who are not convinced to invest in a console but still do enjoy gaming. Through Microsoft Xcloud game streaming, the idea is to straight away allow these new category of gamers to quickly jump on gaming sessions with their Mobiles, PCs or tablets through a monthly nominal subscription fees. The objective here is create an easy and fast entry point, with the least amount of steps involved.
4.Xbox Game Pass Ultimate - While Xbox Game Pass was introduced in 2017, Microsoft has been making this subscription service stronger than ever and is making it a complete value for money deal for anybody who wants to get into gaming and trying a highly curated library of 100 + games without the hassle of paying huge dollars upfront for some quality AAA games. With Game Pass Ultimate, Microsoft is adding increased value by extending it's Xbox Game Pass to Windows for a nominal increased fee. While Windows Gaming is something Microsoft has always struggled with specially after it's colossal failure with "Games for Windows Live" launched in 2007, when Microsoft tried to charge $50 per month for online gaming on Windows, which used to be free anyways, this time, Microsoft is adding a lot more value for money by bundling high quality games with it.
5.Play Anywhere Platform - Microsoft literally wants it's gamers to play anywhere on any platform be it Windows, iOS, Android, Xbox Consoles as long as people are paying Microsoft for their subscription services. Microsoft knows, that there is a huge untapped market in Asia, where gamers who cannot afford to splurge $400 upwards for a console, would still be attracted towards gaming for a monthly nominal subscription fee, if it offered the same gaming experience on their own devices. This is the reason, they are trying to expand on as many platforms as possible while reducing the entry bottlenecks. It won't be surprising, if Microsoft has plans to introduce xCloud and other suite of Xbox Gaming Services on Edge Browser or Fire stick devices as-well in future.
When Satya Nadella took over Microsoft, he questioned the existence of Xbox Division and how does it add value to it's consumers, the society and the company altogether.
While Phil Spencer might have saved the Xbox Division from going the Nokia route, this is the Phil Spencer's best chance to prove, that gaming can not only be profitable but create a leading example as-well for other hardware products within Microsoft, when challenged by mighty alternatives such as Google Stadia and Sony Playstation.