Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella took to the stand yesterday in the FTC v. Microsoft court case, and made some… slightly odd statements regarding the Xbox gaming division. The strangest point by far was that he would “love to get rid of the entire exclusives on consoles,” but that it’s Sony’s fault for Xbox having exclusive games.
When asked about Microsoft’s policy and stance on exclusive games, Nadella said:
If it was up to me I would love to get rid of the entire exclusives on consoles, but that’s not for me to define especially as a low share player in the console market. The dominant player there has defined market competition using exclusives, so that’s the world we live in. I have no love for that world.
This feels like a statement that pins the decision to make Bethesda games like Redfall, Hi-Fi Rush and Starfield into Xbox exclusives firmly on Sony’s doorstep. PlayStation’s popularity is in large part down to the strength of their exclusive games, and so Microsoft is building their own exclusive portfolio.
But if he doesn’t like exclusives, why not just freewheel it and put Xbox games on PlayStation? They’ve already brought Xbox games to Steam, they’re signing partnerships with GeForce Now and other streaming service rivals, so why not just slap the next Gears game on PS5?
His point comes in relation to how Microsoft has approached other markets with products like Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams, where they’re broadly available across Windows, macOS, iOS and Android. Additionally, he noted the importance of the Azure cloud for the company and gaming in general, though defined game streaming as just a small part of the cloud alongside the more general use of online infrastructure for Xbox Live.
As we’ve seen through recent years, really since the launch of Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft is leaning heavily on engagement as opposed to outright sales of games or consoles. Cloud gaming is one way that they can bring Xbox games to people with Samsung TVs, smartphones, underpowered laptops and tablet, and thus they can increase that engagement. It also ties users into the Xbox ecosystem with subscription fees, just as with other Microsoft services.
It seems that this is the hidden meaning behind Nadella’s seemingly odd statement. He wants to put Xbox Game Pass on PlayStation, but Sony won’t let him.
via The Verge