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Microsoft buys Bethesda for $7.5B - Part of their pivot gaming strategy

Updated: Sep 25, 2020

Back in June 2020, I did an opinion piece on how Microsoft is pivoting its gaming strategy from hardware to subscription-centric (link here). It's not a surprise that they bought over Bethesda. This is essentially the implementation of their long term strategy to increase market share.

These games will be appearing on Xbox's Game Pass. If you're not familiar with the Game Pass, just imagine Netflix, but for video games. Just like Netflix, it's device-agnostic. Meaning you have access to your subscription whether you're on PC or Xbox.

Knee-jerk reaction would be to assume they've take over pole-position in the console battle, but I'm of the opinion it is premature to assume this as a shift in wind direction.

Three probable reasons:

  • There is currently no dominant console in the market as both have pros and cons - Xbox had the infamous ring-of-death issue with the Xbox 360, while PS Now (PS's cloud gaming version of Game Pass) is hardware-exclusive to PS4.

  • Xbox Game Pass, in my opinion, targets certain segments of gamers. Hardcore PC or PS gamers are not going to be swayed by having more titles on Game Pass, or whether gives better bang-for-buck.

13 Nov Release

  • Based on historical trend, PS has exclusive titles that excite the gamer-base. To illustrate, Call of Duty: Black Ops Alpha-testing weekend was exclusively made available to ALL PS4 owners over last weekend.

Both Xbox and PS5 are releasing on Nov 10 and Nov 12 respectively. With Covid-19 taking over 2020, the battle between Microsoft and Sony gives gamers something to look forward to and considering the pre-order numbers on the announcement week, we have a battle on our hands. Personally for me, I'll be waiting to see whether they're any technical problems with either hardware before making the decision to purchase.

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