Head of Xbox Phil Spencer said that Microsoft sees Amazon and Google as its primary competition. He explained that the company has a “ton of respect” for Sony and Nintendo, but these companies are not Microsoft's main competitors going forward.
Spencer has an interesting reason, citing both the advances that Google and Amazon have made in their cloud service offerings with Google Cloud and AWS. Microsoft has their own cloud service, Microsoft Azure, that is primarily used by large companies for tech software (such as Microsoft Dynamics 365) and web hosting. Taking that into account, it would be easy to see how and why Microsoft considers Google and Amazon to be the primary competitors. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the department of Xbox, Spencer’s department, should discount Sony or even Nintendo out of the future console wars.
Spencer pointed out that Microsoft has “invested tens of billions of dollars in cloud over the years,” (meaning their Azure system), and therefore, it has a head start when it comes to cloud gaming services. He nodded toward Google Stadia next, since Microsoft already has a cloud gaming service. Sony has been kicking around PlayStation Now for awhile now, which, despite what Spencer says about Sony being “somewhat out of position” when it comes to cloud services, is a competitor to a streaming service that Microsoft hasn’t even LAUNCHED yet. And no, I’m not talking about Xbox Game Pass.
Microsoft can puff out their proverbial chest all it wants, but the fact remains that the Xbox is not the preferred console of this generation. Sony stomped it right out the gate and remained on top until the Nintendo Switch slowly grew to the massive force that it currently is.
Here’s another thing Spencer appears to have “forgotten.” Microsoft can boast all of this amazing technology and streaming services all it wants, but without the games to back it up, no one will care. I’m specifically talking about console EXCLUSIVE games, and exclusive games at launch. So many exclusives were promised at launch of the Xbox One, and, well, we all remember how that went. I’m still not over the cancellation of Scalebound, which was one reason why I purchased the console at all.
Microsoft, you hands down controlled the last generation of gaming with the Xbox 360. But you lost the current generation. You aren’t even making a comeback. There is absolutely no reason to think that you’re going to take back your title with the X series. There’s even less of a reason to dismiss Sony entirely. There’s not even a good reason to dismiss Nintendo, especially since Nintendo is now getting several multi-platform titles from the past, present, and future.
Does Microsoft have a leg up on cloud technology? Absolutely. Does it have a leg up on cloud gaming? As a strong service, perhaps. Xbox Game Pass has been its beta test, if you will, for its true cloud gaming service, xCloud. Does it have the capability to get its games into 7 billion hands at once? Sure. But are these games worth buying into versus PlayStation Now or other cloud services? That’s going to be the real test.
Perhaps Microsoft should put its money where its mouth is before it has to pry its foot out of its mouth.