“On gaming, gaming has been a pretty big success case. Gaming you think about in two pieces. There’s a traditional Xbox console business, where we compete with Sony. And there we’ve had probably the best year we’ve ever had for Xbox. And it’s on the back of the greatest games lineup in Xbox history. So if you like to game, this is the year to get an Xbox. We have Halo 5 launching. We have Minecraft on Xbox. We have Gears of War, Tomb Raider. The best lineup; next year will also be the best lineup. That’s led to really a great success on it.”
He’s right. 2015 has been a strong year for the Xbox One platform. It won’t be strong enough to ever top Sony and the PlayStation 4. But from where it was at launch to now? It’s a damn good turnaround.
Mehdi’s comments continue to hammer the new philosophy from the Xbox team. Games are the focus. 2015 brought us excellent titles from Ori and the Blind Forest to Halo 5: Guardians and Forza Motorsport 6. And, this focus will also begin to shift towards PC.
“But the other interesting thing is now we’re bringing that Xbox gaming value prop to other devices, in particular the PC. So we’ve have an Xbox app that ships with Windows 10 that lets you see your social graph of Xbox while you’re not on your PC. You can now stream Xbox games from your console straight to your Pc. So if your family is in the living room watching a movie, you can be quietly in the office playing Halo and being very productive. So you’ve got that. That’s a very powerful capability,” says Mehdi.
Streaming is one area. But some Xbox One exclusives are also coming to PC. The Coalition’s Rod Fergusson revealed Gears of War: Ultimate Edition is coming to PC at the PC Gaming Show during the summer. He was coy about Gears of War 4.
Halo Wars 2 is also coming to Windows 10 next Fall.
I love it. Now we just need Halo 6 on PC. Yeah, I know I’m dreaming. You can see a pattern with the Xbox One games to PC. It’s never the mainline game. Gears of War 4? It wouldn’t surprise me to see it eventually on PC. But same day? I don’t see it. Same goes for Halo 6 and the Forza Motorsport series. Forza Horizon is interesting, though. I could see it making the move over to PC with the next installment.
Mehdi wrapped up most of the Xbox talk with comments about Xbox Live.
“And then you have the ability to effectively now start to get Xbox Live and all these games that you’re using, whether it be Solitaire or Minecraft, and now what we see is we have almost the same number of Xbox Live monthly actives on Windows as we do on the console. And to be fair, not the same, console user Xbox Live Gold paying subscribers, these are free customers. But the ability to build a subscription business on the back of that now, you can start to see some light for that opportunity.”
With 2015 almost in the books, let’s take a quick look at what Microsoft has cooking for 2016. Gears of War 4, Halo Wars 2, Crackdown 3, Scalebound and Quantum Break are the obvious heavy hitters. I’m also pumped to get my hands on Below, Sea of Thieves, Recore and Cuphead. And that’s just Xbox. 2016 is shaping up to be another embarrassment of riches for all platforms.