Microsoft’s Xbox boss Phil Spencer is confident in the dive to make the Xbox Series X a must-buy for gamers, and believes that the Xbox All Access cell phone-like payment plan will help them pay for it.
In a Game Lab Live opening speech today, Spencer answered a question from interviewer Seth Schiesel about what kind of experiences he hoped to highlight the power of the Xbox X-Series.
“This is always a difficult question because I know that people are looking for one, two or three technologies that only appear on a certain platform or only become possible on a certain platform,” Spencer said. “And I think it’s just a matter of degrees. It has been for a while.”
Spencer said there were clearer differences in the type of games that new hardware could create in previous generational shifts, noting that the jump from 2D games to 3D games is an obvious difference for gamers.
“Now we are at a point, with immersion, with the tools we have and the ability to calculate, that the deltas will be smaller due to a visual impact …”
“I think we are now at a point, with immersion, with the tools we have and the ability to calculate, that the deltas will be smaller due to a visual impact, or that feature X was never possible before and now it is.” And that may sound depressing to some, but what I would say is that the advantage side of what I see now is really the immersive nature of the content that is being created. “
Spencer said the benefits will be more clearly felt in mitigating long load times and low or inconsistent frame rates that he believes harm the player’s immersion.
“Today we can get almost realistic graphics, even in the current generation in certain cases,” said Spencer. “But when you take that and mix it up with a very high frame rate, a solid frame rate, very little input latency and the ability of game storytellers to really drive the excitement and story that they’re trying to overcome their game, through the screen, through the controller and inside of you? That’s something I feel in games now that it’s a dramatic step.
“I don’t know if it goes from X to Y in terms of functionality, but definitely in terms of the feeling of immersion in the content that is being created right now, I think we are going to reach a great future where stories will still have more feeling and impact. “
Of course, that dive will come at a cost. And while Microsoft has yet to announce a price for the Xbox Series X, at least one analyst expects it to be in the $ 450 to $ 500 range.
“Xbox All Access will be critical to both our Xbox Series X launch and the general generation”
In light of that high cost of entry, Schiesel asked Spencer about plans for the Xbox All Access payment program, which mirrors that of many cell phone manufacturers. Microsoft launched the plan in 2018, offering gamers an Xbox One S or Xbox One X console and Xbox Game Pass and Live Gold at no upfront cost but with a two-year subscription period.
While Microsoft has expanded its testing of the All Access program, it is not available worldwide and has not been a focus of Microsoft’s attention in the same way that Game Pass has been. According to Spencer’s comments, that could change soon.
“Xbox All Access will be critical to both our launch of Xbox Series X and the general generation,” said Spencer.
He added: “The response we have seen in the places where we tested All Access has been excellent, but as you said, it has been limited in terms of the market. So you will see a much broader market and retail support for All Access. And as you said, it matches a model that customers use for many other devices they buy. And if you have services connected to those devices that people love, it becomes an easier way to bring a great product to customers. “
With rising unemployment rates due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there may also be fewer people with the means to buy a console, games and accessories in the traditional way.
“We should also understand the global economic situation that we will see this year,” Spencer said. “We’re looking at it today. And I think having more pricing options for consumers is, frankly, something that we should consider as an industry.”