Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A scary thought about the new Xbox and PC Gaming

The new Xbox One is going to run a version of Windows. Good news for PC gaming? Surely that means that new AAA games will be easily ported to PC from the Console version.

Well yes but it could also mean that you will only be able to buy those games from Microsoft's own App store. If that happens then say bye bye to the fierce competition between digital retailers that has led to so many PC gaming bargains in recent years.

I have no doubt that Microsoft have long looked with envy on Apple's App store model where the only place to buy software is from themselves and they get the retail mark-up on everything that goes on the device. Microsoft could do that on their new console but I don't think they will for a few years yet because a lot of consoles still aren't  connected to the internet and bricks and mortar retailers still sell a heck of a lot of console games.

In the PC world bricks and mortar retail is already dead. The vast majority of PC game buyers are buying games from digital retailers like Steam, Amazon, Gamers gate etc. PC gamers are used to buying games online so why not force them to buy them from Microsoft directly? Microsoft wouldn't even have to force the issue. All they have to do is provide development tools that make it very easy to port an Xbox game to Windows as long as it uses the Microsoft store. I think that could result in a lot of "Microsoft Store" exclusives especially for new AAA games.

EDIT: According to this Kokatu article the Xbox One will need an internet connection at least once per day.  That is another nail in the coffin for Gamestop and other bricks and mortar games retailers but I don't think Microsoft will abandon them just yet even though I strongly suspect there is an end game plan that will do just that as soon as they can woo a sufficient number of their customers onto digital purchases. 

EDIT: The evidence keeps mounting up: Xbox  marketplace is becoming a one stop shop for all games.  I think you can sell any remaining shares you hold in Gamestop now.

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