Xbox boss Phil Spencer yesterday spoke to BBC’s Click programme about how the current pandemic could impact the launch of the upcoming Xbox Series X console. Touching upon how he believes Microsoft is well positioned to adapt to any change in consumer behaviour.
Spencer acknowledged that it’s not an ideal time to be launching a new console. “It looks like we’re moving into a period of of massive economic uncertainty…The thing I’m probably focused on the most is the macro-economic environment… we are a leisure activity. We’re not a requirement. We’re not food. We’re not shelter.”
But he’s positive that Xbox will be able to provide options for consumers: “How can we make it as affordable as possible? How can we give buyers choice?” And he makes a strong argument with two existing programmes that Microsoft is running.
“We’ve got an Xbox All Access subscription programme that allows people to buy their next console by paying a monthly charge,” he says, effectively confirming that the programme, (which has allowed consumers to buy a current-gen Xbox, alongside a Xbox Gold and Game Pass subscriptions, at a discounted monthly price) will be extended to the Xbox Series X.
“Price is going to be important… But our strategy is centred around the player, not the device.”
“And if now is not the time for you to buy a new console, and you’re going to stay with the console you have, we’re going to keep supporting that console.” he notes, in reference to Xbox’s stated first-party support for current hardware for the foreseeable future, as we reported earlier in the year.
“And through technologies like smart delivery, you can buy your games and know that when you buy the next console, your games will move with you, to allow consumers to make the choice that’s right for them,” he adds, further dispelling concerns for those not yet ready to upgrade.
And looking back Spencer is convinced that gaming will be resilient to the upcoming economic downturn: “Even when we went back and looked at 2008-09, in that recession, to see what the impact was on gaming – gaming did OK. It was durable.
“We want to make sure we’re providing the right value to customers… Price is going to be important… But our strategy is centred around the player, not the device.”