Xbox’s Phil Spencer opposed to a “one model to rule them all” approach to games monetisation

With the ubiquity of Xbox Game Pass, both in Xbox’s marketing messaging and in the industry’s discussion of the future of games. It would be easy to think that Microsoft was dead set upon the subscription model being the be all and end all of everything. But not so says Phil Spencer in a recent interview with GameReactor

Spencer was clear in that he thinks the games industry is healthier with a variety of business models, saying: “the diversity of business models should be a strength for us as an industry.”

He went on to specifically point out retail: “So I think retail is an important part of video games, I mean I’m buying my games and I want that to continue to flourish.” Something that we’ve seen recently in Microsoft’s deal with GameStop for instance. 

He did being up Game Pass of course, saying that they’ve seen growth there, but notes that “free-to-play is obviously a huge business model for video games,” and one that Microsoft isn’t overly involved in from a first-party point of view, but hugely profits from when it comes to its cut from many, many titles. 

Speaking specifically on Microsoft Studios he noted: “So for first-party, I would like us to kind of experiment with the different models, because I don’t think we want to be beholden, as an industry, to one model to rule them all…”

And he continues, noting that if there were such a model, it would be free-to-play, not subscription that would take that role: “Everything would be free-to-play, because free-to-play is clearly the biggest business model on the planet today, not even close. But I don’t think we want one business model, I think we want gamers to have choice in how they engage and pay for the games that they’re playing.”

And he notes that there are others that haven’t been considered: “I think there’s other business models we could potentially bring into video games that could help.

About Seth Barton

Seth Barton is the editor of MCV – which covers every aspect of the industry: development, publishing, marketing and much more. Before that Seth toiled in games retail at Electronics Boutique, studied film at university, published console and PC games for the BBC, and spent many years working in tech journalism. Living in South East London, he divides his little free time between board games, video games, beer and family. You can find him tweeting @sethbarton1.

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