Acquiring Studios Isn’t the Solution for Game Pass

Xbox’s ambitious strategy to bolster its Game Pass service by acquiring game studios seemed like a promising move on paper. However, as recent events unfold, it’s becoming increasingly evident that this approach may not be yielding the desired results. Instead of investing heavily in developing exclusive titles in-house, Xbox should have focused more on striking deals with developers and publishers to diversify its Game Pass library.

The fundamental flaw in Xbox’s approach lies in the sheer magnitude of resources invested in acquiring and maintaining studios. Pouring millions into acquiring studios only to have them work for years on a handful of titles for Game Pass doesn’t align with the dynamic nature of the industry. Releasing games solely on Game Pass limits their revenue potential, as the subscription model alone may not recoup the production costs.

The recent closures of Tango Gameworks and Arkane Austin underscore Xbox’s apparent reluctance to nurture unique titles in favor of established IPs. This focus on churning out game after game for Game Pass risks diluting the quality and diversity of the service’s offerings.

Xbox could have gleaned valuable lessons from its competitors, who rely on signing deals with developers and publishers to enrich their subscription services. Services like Blacknut and Utomik have successfully curated libraries of quality third-party games by leveraging strategic partnerships.

Moreover, rumors suggesting Xbox’s uncertainty in handling franchises like Call of Duty on Game Pass highlights a broader strategic misalignment. While owning content may seem advantageous, it doesn’t necessarily translate to quality or strategic fit within the Game Pass ecosystem.

How to remedy this?

A more prudent approach for Xbox would have been to emulate the success of streaming giants like Netflix and Prime Video, which have relied on licensing agreements to populate their content libraries. Rather than acquiring studios outright, Xbox could have opted for temporary collaborations to develop second-party titles, akin to Nintendo’s partnership model with studios like Monolith Soft and Retro Studios.

Ultimately, Xbox’s fixation on ownership has hampered its ability to produce content that aligns with its overarching strategy. By recalibrating its approach to prioritize partnerships over acquisitions, Xbox could foster a more robust and sustainable ecosystem for Game Pass. One that thrives on diversity and innovation rather than consolidation.

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Marxally is a freelance graphic designer who enjoys playing video games and writing about them. A Nintendo fan at heart that enjoys the benefits of cloud gaming and loves its amazing community. Marxally covers news and review games at Cloud Dosage. Like what he does? Buy Marxally a Pizza!

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