In light of strong growth in video games, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced plans to expand its popular video game subscription service, Xbox Game Pass, to PC.
In a call with investors today Nadella announced that a big part of Microsoft's future gaming plans includes "bringing Game Pass to the PC." Though details are sparse, this presumably means that Microsoft wants to deliver a service where players can play select games for an unlimited amount of time so long as they subscribe to a monthly fee. This is how the service works currently on Xbox.
Xbox Game Pass allows players to pay $9.99 a month and have access to a library of games to download and play on Xbox One and Xbox One X. First-party Microsoft games like Sea of Thieves and Forza Horizon 4 are also a part of Game Pass and are available on the same day as retail, making it Game Pass an affordable way to play Microsoft exclusives.
Microsoft is already planning a more freeform gaming strategy with the announcement of xCloud, a video game streaming service set to begin testing in 2019. Cloud gaming competitors already exist in Sony PlayStation Now, GeForce Now, and more recently Google.
Microsoft also announced plans to leverage hardware for streaming with at least one upcoming Scarlett console reportedly designed to be a streaming-only. This upcoming hardware could take advantage of both xCloud and Game Pass, cutting out the need for physical game purchases altogether.
Microsoft posted strong growth in its Xbox sector today during its Q1 2019 fiscal report. Revenue is up 44 percent in gaming, and hardware jumped 94 percent thanks to the Xbox One X. Software revenue also grew 36 percent driven by third-party games, but Microsoft recently acquired studios like Ninja Theory and Playground Games to develop more first-party titles.