Microsoft’s Phil Spencer has penned an interesting editorial explaining his firm’s strategy for the future of gaming. And it’s all about you. Literally. But it’s also a not-so-subtle rebuke to market leader Sony, which is making a break with the past with the PlayStation 5.
“At Xbox, we listen to what you—players, game developers, and content creators—tell us you want from the future of gaming,” he says. “Based on your feedback, we’re building a future where you and your friends can play the deepest, most immersive[,] and interactive games ever created across your Xbox console, PC, and mobile devices. At the dawn of the next generation, it’s important to be clear about what you can expect from the future of Xbox. [And] our vision has one hero at the heart of it all: You.”
Spencer promises that gamers can expect the following commitments when it comes to gaming on Microsoft’s next-generation Xbox consoles:
You will always be welcome. Microsoft wants to make the Xbox community safe, accessible, and welcoming for everyone, Spencer says, a place where you can have fun. And it is bringing new technology to market that it says will reduce hate speech and toxicity.
Your games will look and play best on Xbox Series X. Spencer says that all games will look and play best on Xbox Series X, so backward compatibility titles will always provide the best experience on the new console.
You play new games day one with Xbox Game Pass. All Xbox Game Studios titles will continue to launch into Xbox Game Pass on the same day as their global release. The Xbox Game Studios franchises that will launch into Game Pass day one of release include Halo, Forza, Age of Empires, Gears of War, Minecraft, Hellblade, The Outer Worlds, Psychonauts, Microsoft Flight Simulator, State of Decay, Wasteland, Minecraft Dungeons, and Sea of Thieves, with more new franchises in early development.
You won’t be forced into the next generation. Xbox Game Studios titles releasing in the next couple of years—including Halo Infinite—will be available on both Xbox Series X and Xbox One. “We won’t force you to upgrade to Xbox Series X at launch to play Xbox exclusives,” Spencer says in a jab at Sony.
Your games will not be left behind. Thanks to backward compatibility, gamers will be able to play four generations of games on Xbox Series X on day one. “It’s our intent for all Xbox One games that do not require Kinect to play on Xbox Series X at the launch of the console,” Spencer says, in another jab at Sony.
Your Xbox One gaming accessories come forward too. Xbox One peripherals like the Xbox Elite Controller and Xbox Adaptive Controller all work on Xbox Series X, so gamers won’t need to purchase new controllers. Yes, yet another jab at Sony: “Unlike others, we believe that your investments in gaming should move with you into the next generation.”
You can buy games once at no added cost. Unlike with the PlayStation, Xbox gamers won’t need to buy the same game twice, once for the current console generation and once for the next generation. Instead, if you own a title that supports Smart Delivery—like Destiny 2, Gears 5, and Halo Infinite—you will automatically have access to the version that plays best on your Xbox console. Third-party games like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Cyberpunk 2077, Marvel’s Avengers and more have already committed to supporting Smart Delivery and more will be announced soon, Spencer says.
You choose how to jump into the next generation of gaming. Thanks to Xbox All Access, gamers can get Xbox Series X and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for a low monthly price with no up-front costs, no finance charges, and no hidden fees. “You get to enjoy an instant library of over 100 high-quality games, join friends with online multiplayer, and experience new Xbox Game Studios titles the day they release, including Halo Infinite, on the fastest, most powerful Xbox ever,” Spencer says. For parents, guardians, and caregivers, the new Xbox Family Settings app for iOS and Android also provides a way to create child accounts, customize family settings, and ensure that your kids have access to gaming that you feel is appropriate.
You will get more from your Xbox Game Pass Ultimate membership. This September, Microsoft is bringing Xbox Game Pass and Project xCloud together at no additional cost for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members (in supported countries). “With cloud gaming in Game Pass Ultimate, you will be able to play over 100 Xbox Game Pass titles on your phone or tablet,” Spencer says. “And because Xbox Live connects all across devices, you can play along with the nearly 100 million Xbox Live players around the world. So when Halo Infinite launches, you and your friends can play together and immerse yourselves in the Halo universe as Master Chief—anywhere you go and across devices.”
Finally, Spencer also promises that next week’s Xbox Games Showcase (on Thursday, July 23) will provide the first look at the Halo Infinite Campaign.