[REVIEW] : XBOX GAME PASS: NEW RUMORS ABOUT THE FAMILY SUBSCRIPTION
After looking askance at Xbox Game Pass for a long time, Sony Interactive Entertainment had to face the facts: the service offered by Microsoft on Xbox consoles and PC is a strong selling point. Suddenly, the Japanese manufacturer had no choice but to announce a new version of its PlayStation Plus supposed to compete with what the competition offers. If the Xbox Game Pass is popular for price reasons, oddly, it does not allow you to take out a family subscription, whereas this is the case elsewhere – Netflix, Deezer, Spotify, Apple Music, or even Nintendo Switch Online. And what’s even weirder is that there is indeed a Family option in Microsoft 365.
Indeed, the guy assured that the Xbox Game Pass Family would be launched by the end of the year. Today, it is the turn of journalist Brad Sams of Thurrott to go in the same direction as his colleague: Microsoft would have every intention of pressing the button next fall. However, he adds that this was the initial timing and that things may have changed since then.
Few details have filtered with these rumors, but the idea would be logical that one and the same household can benefit from five different accounts. It will be interesting to know how much you will have to pay to benefit from the offer, knowing that the operation will necessarily be less expensive than if you took out five separate subscriptions. Perhaps Microsoft will take advantage of the window usually dedicated to E3 – which will therefore not take place this year – to discuss the Family option of the Xbox Game Pass in a more official way. We will keep you informed, of course.
Microsoft reportedly looking to embed in-game ads in free Xbox games
Microsoft would aim to integrate advertisements directly into free-to-play games available on Xbox. The company would thus seek to support the development of free games on its platform.
This system would allow more developers to sell advertising space, and would therefore facilitate the development of free games. Thus, advertisements could be displayed on panels, as has been seen in racing games in the past. If other options are possible, such as including ads on cosmetic skins for characters or video ads in lobbies, nothing has been confirmed yet.
On the other hand, according to the report, Microsoft would not be interested in taking a share of advertising revenue from Xbox in-game ads. In effect, revenue would be split between the game developer and the ad placement company.
Microsoft: In-game ad placement is not a new concept
Several sources also say that Microsoft is concerned about the negative reactions that the insertion of in-game advertisements could cause. The company could therefore try to create a market where only selected and targeted brands could be inserted, ensuring that these do not disrupt gameplay.
However, this information has not been confirmed by Microsft. The company spokesperson said: “We are always looking for ways to improve the experience for players and developers.but we have nothing more to share at this time.“. The report, however, says the plan is expected to come to fruition later this year, in the third quarter of 2022.
Ads in console games are nothing new, the concept having even been tested in paid games mid to late 2000s. Around this time, EA Games partnered with Massive, allowing companies to place ads in franchises such as Madden NFL, Skate, NHL, and NASCAR, as well as Burnout Paradise.
How PlayStation is transforming to face the future?
So concretely, what has Sony bought lately? Jim Ryan, the big boss of Sony Interactive Entertainment, warned in July 2019 that content would be more important than ever in the industry. This was his guideline, his short and medium term objective. We remind you that the PlayStation segment is very important for Sony, since the turnover generated by the gaming brand represents almost 30% of what the whole company generates in the last quarterly results published. It is therefore normal to see the Japanese giant buy out development studios, because without them, it has no games, and therefore no money. Since 2019, there has been an acceleration of acquisitions at Sony. With Insomniac Games, Housemarque, Bluepoint Games, Valkyrie Entertainment, Nixxes Software, Bungie, and Haven, Jade Raymond’s studio, that’s 7 new studios acquired in just three years. Before that, the last studio acquired was Sucker Punch, the developers ofinFamous and of Ghost of Tsushima in 2011. And then, in just under two years, the Japanese giant also invested almost 1.5 billion in Epic Games, the parents of Fortnite and the creators of the ultra-popular game engine Unreal Engine. Finally, it is worth remembering that Sony bought out Crunchyroll, the juggernaut of Japanese anime, as well as EVO, the world-famous fighting game tournament. Finally, the Japanese company is accelerating the adaptation of its video game works on both the small and the big screen thanks to its Sony Pictures antennas, in order to transform its gaming licenses into cross-media licenses.
Microsoft would allow advertising in Xbox games in Free-to-Play
It is a fact, Xbox currently occupies the place of the “good guy” in the war of new gen consoles: Game Pass economic, powerful console, inclusive internal and external policy (controllers for handicaps, etc.) without forgetting a finally offensive strategy towards exclusivities (massive takeovers of studios). Opposite, Sony’s procrastination on the “break” with the old gen, first party games billed at 80 euros and the often perched declarations of jim ryan largely “played the game” (ah, ah) of Xbox’s new image positioning.
However, nothing can ever be taken for granted, and sometimes all it takes is certain borderline strategic choices to tarnish a patiently fashioned brand image. Thus, we have just learned that Microsoft would be working on a platform which would allow brands to place advertisements… in Xbox Free-to-Play games !, However, tempers by adding that the Redmond firm would be well aware of the risks of such a decision. Only a few hand-picked brands would ultimately be authorized to place advertising, in order to avoid ending up with uncontrolled advertising.
It should also be noted that Microsoft would not intend to recover its share of the advertising revenue generated, and instead would allow the game developers and the advertising platform to share the funds. Xbox is not being generous “for free” here: it is still and always a question of making Xbox and Game Pass essential as a gaming platform/service. free-to-play titles…
Finally, and this is perhaps the most important information: Microsoft would not use advertising data on its own account (for advertising targeting, for example). The first Xbox games with in-app ads could be available as early as the third quarter of this year. It will be recalled here that advertising in games is not new and that it has existed for many years in sports games (brand stickers on cars, edges of fields in football simulations or during NBA/NFL). This being the pub probably bothers the players less in these specific cases because it is quite simply a reflection of what is happening in the real world.