Head of Xbox Phil Spencer recently commented on information regarding the growth of Xbox Game Pass and its ecosystem, making a drastic claim about its development. When an FTC lawyer, James Weingarten, presented him with projected growth metrics revolving around Xbox Game Pass subscribers, Spencer claimed that the projections were far below reasonable expectations for the company (via Wccftech).
These growth metrics showed the service reaching 100 million subscribers between fiscal year 2029 and 2030, but Spencer is not a fan of these predictions. In fact, he does not "believe that is what the future Xbox business would look like." He then proceeded to say "if this were the outcome, we would -- I don't think we'd still be in the business." He believes the company needs to be in that position by fiscal year 2026 to 2027, or "we'd have to make a difference decision with the business."
Is Xbox truly going to exit gaming?
If you're anything like me, your first instinct upon reading Spencer's quotes is to thrust yourself into panic mode. Are our video games safe? Is Xbox Game Pass going to perish? What about all of our digital media? Will the three gaming titans shrink down to two and revolve around only Nintendo and PlayStation?
But there's a reason why that one part of the quote is being highlighted by the media, as the full context of the situation is not given a proper spotlight. Spencer's comments on the growth of Xbox do not come from a place of uncertainty and fear; it's a result of him believing that there's no way that would happen.
His quote begins with him saying that he does not think Xbox will reach only 100 million subscribers by fiscal year 2029 to 2030, and instead he expects projections should be there by 2026 to 2027. When he says "I don't believe we'd still be in the business," he's taking an extreme regarding the ridiculousness of those estimates.
Spencer is likely suggesting that those aforementioned estimates are so absurd that if they were true, Xbox would not be able to continue this business model. Spencer also sent a separate tweet plainly stating "so much has changed" and that they will share "the real plans" when they are ready.
We've seen the conversation around old emails and documents. It is hard to see our team's work shared in this way because so much has changed and there's so much to be excited about right now, and in the future. We will share the real plans when we are ready.September 19, 2023
From the way I read those quotes, in no way did it seem like Spencer was implying that Xbox is in so much danger that they could go out of business by 2027. Instead, it reads as someone countering projections that no longer hold up to the reality anymore. We might not know for sure until Spencer clarifies, but I'm somewhat certain this is not the case.
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Self-described art critic and unabashedly pretentious, Momo finds joy in impassioned ramblings about her closeness to video games. She has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism & Media Studies from Brooklyn College and five years of experience in entertainment journalism. Momo is a stalwart defender of the importance found in subjectivity and spends most days overwhelmed with excitement for the past, present and future of gaming. When she isn't writing or playing Dark Souls, she can be found eating chicken fettuccine alfredo and watching anime.