Microsoft Chases Creator Economy with Forza Horizon 5

Posted on June 13, 2021 by Brad Sams in Games with 4 Comments

Microsoft took to the virtual stage on Sunday and announced a slew of games headed to Game Pass and showed off a few others like Halo Infinite and the next generation Battlefield title. But one title is taking a slightly different approach with this generation and it’s Forza Horizon 5.

Yes, the game is going to stick to a familiar formula that worked for the first few titles in the series but with this version, the company is introducing Horizon Event Labs. This new tool, and it’s very much a tool, is designed to let users get creative with the components of the game and build new scenarios for Horizon gamers.

One of the aspects of the gaming world that Microsoft has been trying to tap into is the creator economy. This type of experience inside of a game can help significantly extend the longevity of a title and make the title sticky with its fans.

An example of this is Minecraft. Because the Minecraft community is consistently creating new types of games, challenges, and maps, the title has become a cornerstone of Microsoft’s gaming portfolio. With Horizon 5, the company is hoping to replicate this style of success with the racing game.

Formulating Minecraft style tool inside of Horizon does not guarantee success nor does it mean that Horizon 5 will have a shelf life longer than other Forza titles. But it’s a look at how Microsoft wants future titles to think about gaming: create a core experience that attracts gamers, give them tools to build their own scenarios, and eventually (when possible) monetize the new economy for both Microsoft and the creators.

This isn’t a shift in how Microsoft is building out content for its Game Pass subscription service but is simply an extension of an existing model. Games take many years to develop and by creating additional assets that can extend their shelf-life, that’s a big win for the studios and Microsoft.

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Comments (4)

4 responses to “Microsoft Chases Creator Economy with Forza Horizon 5”

  1. demileto

    One tiny little problem with "significantly extend the longevity of a title and make the title sticky with its fans", Brad: licensing. Wasn't their expiration what led them to remove Horizon 1, 2 and 3 from the digital store?

  2. spacein_vader

    This approach works well enough for the Trackmania series, can't see why it wouldn't work for Forza as well.

  3. mattbg

    Time to remaster Stunts (1990)!

  4. solomonrex

    They always had custom, user created, cloud-based challenges, and add in the ability to build track, basically, in the sky last year. So this really just builds on their always-online, perpetually refreshed game. FH4 has had so much added to it and was so constantly changing (new challenges every week, new cars etc) I sometimes wondered if they needed a new version, or they could just release expansions/map packs forever. Well, maybe next time.

    Honestly, with Windows 10 ending, I'm so disappointed that MS couldn't figure out the always online, continually refreshed, one-version-forever software future - that is Apple's present. And Minecraft's present. And Fortnite's present, and Google's, etc.