February 2024 Xbox Podcast - All major announcements on Microsoft's future plans

During the February 2024 Xbox Podcast, the executives revealed key details on four Xbox titles coming on rival platforms, Diablo IV being on Xbox Game Pass, next-gen Xbox consoles, and the future of gaming exclusivity.

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February 2024 Xbox Podcast - All major announcements on Microsoft's future plans

On a special edition of the February 2024 Xbox Podcast, Phil Spencer, Sarah Bond, and Matt Booty provided an update on Microsoft's plans to expand game accessibility globally, unveiling key details on new releases, exclusivity, Xbox hardware, and the Xbox Game Pass. They revealed that four Xbox titles are headed to competing platforms, Diablo IV will be the first Activision Blizzard game available on Xbox Game Pass. They also discussed the Xbox promise, the next generation of Xbox consoles, and the future of gaming exclusivity.

Overall, they gave the players access to a good deal of fresh information, and here's a breakdown of all the significant information shared during the February 2024 Xbox Podcast:

  • Microsoft's Move to Cross-Platform Gaming: Four unnamed Xbox exclusives will be made available on other platforms

  • Xbox CEO Phil Spencer confirmed that four undisclosed Xbox exclusives would be made available on rival platforms, including PlayStation 5 and Nintendo Switch.
  • The Verge has disclosed that the first two games to launch will be Hi-Fi Rush and Pentiment, and then we will have Sea of Thieves and Grounded. Both Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 5 will both receive these Xbox-exclusive games.
  • “I do have a fundamental belief that over the next five or ten years exclusive games, games that are exclusive to one piece of hardware, are going to be a smaller and smaller part of the game industry,” Spencer said during the February 2024 Xbox Podcast.
  • He said that there was "no promise beyond" those games arriving on competing platforms and that the four unnamed releases did not signify "a change to our fundamental exclusivity strategy."
  • Spencer announced that the PS5 games Starfield and Indiana Jones, which were formerly rumored to be in the works, will not be cross-platform.
  • The executive stated that he wouldn't completely rule out the prospect of these games coming to the PS5 in a future interview with The Verge. “I don’t think we should as an industry ever rule out a game going to any other platform,” he added.
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  • Diablo IV is coming on Xbox Game Pass on March 28th:

  • Sarah Bond announced that all Activision and Blizzard games would be joining Xbox Game Pass, with Diablo IV being the first to arrive on March 28th.
  • “And it’s all part of our commitment to make Xbox, the Xbox experience, and the games that we build as widely available as possible. So now the 34 million Game Pass members can all enjoy the fantastic experience of Diablo 4,” she said during the February 2024 Xbox Podcast.
  • The news also suggests that Call of Duty: Black Ops Gulf War, this year's game, may make its way to Game Pass. However, this is conditional upon Activision and PlayStation's ongoing advertising agreement.

  • Next-Gen Xbox Console Teasers and Clarification on Xbox Handheld

  • Microsoft teased its commitment to a groundbreaking next generation of Xbox consoles during the February 2024 Xbox Podcast.
  • Sarah Bond, the newly appointed Xbox President, mentioned that they are working on delivering the "largest technical leap" in hardware, promising a console that will revolutionize gaming experiences for both players and creators.
  • Sarah Bond said: “We’ve got more to come. There’s some exciting stuff coming out in hardware that we’re going to share this holiday. We’re also invested in the next-generation roadmap. What we’re really focused on there is delivering the largest technical leap you will have ever seen in a hardware generation, which makes it better for players and better for creators and the visions that they’re building.”
  • Phil Spencer also briefly addressed rumors about an Xbox handheld, stating there's nothing official to announce but said he’s a ‘big fan of handhelds’.
  • The official Xbox blog says that Xbox consoles "will continue to provide a flagship experience for players" as part of its outlook for the company.
  • It was emphasized that Microsoft and Xbox had a "robust and innovative" multi-year hardware roadmap planned.
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  • Xbox Game Pass Subscribers Update:

  • Microsoft has officially revealed the number of Xbox Game Pass users for the first time in the past two years during the February 2024 Xbox Podcast, stating that 34 million people are using the service.
  • The 34 million represent a 36% increase over the 25 million that the firm recently disclosed. Nevertheless, the corporation didn't anticipate these figures as it had aimed to achieve 100 million users by 2030.
  •  Spencer in an interview with The Verge said, “Our goal is not to make everybody a game pass subscriber. I’ve said many times that maybe 10-15 percent of our content and services revenue is subscriber revenue. It’s a good business for us today, Game Pass, but in no way is there a plan that says ‘Okay, everybody needs to become a Game Pass subscriber."
  • The player count represents fully paid subscribers and does not include players on free trials or promotional deals. Spencer clarified, “That’s fully paid,” thus, those aren't players for promotions. These are actual people—well-compensated subs.

Overall, the February 2024 Xbox Podcast revealed Microsoft's strategic moves toward cross-platform gaming, the inclusion of major titles in Xbox Game Pass, ambitious plans for the next-gen Xbox console, and a notable increase in Game Pass subscribers.

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