Microsoft to Continue Buying Studios, Series X/S Shortages To Continue Onto Next Year

Xbox’s CFO Tim Stuart gave a talk at the Jefferies Interactive Entertainment Virtual Conference on November 12, where some of his remarks sketch out the issues Xbox faces in shipping their newest consoles, the Microsoft entertainment division’s future plans for the Xbox Game Pass, and how Bethesda’s acquisition will prioritize Xbox’s platforms before all others.

Stuart pointed out that he expects Xbox will “continue to see supply shortages as we head into the post-holiday quarter, so Microsoft’s Q3, calendar Q1.” That’s another five months, at least, of supply shortages before the juggernaut begins “meeting the demand profile,” which is to say, before Xbox’s pieces of wire wrapped in plastic are widely available enough that anyone who wants to get one won’t have to spend days hunting them out in the wilds, or worse–pay a ridiculous mark-up on reselling sites (the price for a new Series X is anywhere between $999 and $1499 on ebay right now, which should tell you a little something about the nature of capitalism).

If you thought Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda wasn’t going to affect the way the publisher does business, Stuart’s words might come as a surprise. “When we think about Bethesda, it’s going to be the continuing to allow — I’ll say allow, but continue to sell their games on the platforms that…exist today.” All well and good and comforting if you’re a PS5 adopter without either a gaming PC or an Xbox console, right? Before you breathe out a sigh of relief, though, you’ll have to accept the distinct possibility that the experience you’ll have on a PS or a Nintendo console might be inferior in one way or another.

“But what we want,” Stuart continues, “is we want that content, in the long run, to be either first or better or best or pick your differentiated experience, on our platforms. We will want Bethesda content to show up the best…on our platforms.” Considering Microsoft’s $7.5 billion pay-out to Bethesda, this doesn’t come as any surprise.

And as for Xbox’s plans for the Game Pass? The short answer: “We’ll continue to look at content, we will continue to look at bolstering our first-party studios.” The division is thinking about adding free-to-play games to the service, as well: “So it’s up to us as a platform and the owners of Game Pass to create a reason where maybe we put a free-to-play game in Game Pass. Maybe you get a certain amount of in-game currency. You get a unique skin or a differentiated experience by being a Game Pass subscriber.” Sounds a lot like what you get if you’re a Twitch Prime Prime Gaming member–which you probably are, considering how embedded that service is with the rest of Amazon’s basket of goods.

The buzzword of the day? “Value”–Stuart sure loves it.

Hi, everyone! I decided it was time to try and keep up some more regular gaming content on the old blog! Bear with me as I test out different things and see what sticks.

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