What you need to know
- Xbox head Phil Spencer sat down on the Decoder podcast to talk about the new Xbox launch.
- The conversation also landed on Xbox's relationship with Apple and its App Store rules.
Reported by The Verge, Microsoft's Phil Spencer sat down with Nilay Patel on the Decoder podcast to have a wide-ranging discussion around the launch of the new Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S consoles as well as the future of gaming. During the interview, the conversation landed on xCloud, Xbox's game streaming service, and its current predicament of not being offered on Apple's App Store.
Patel asked Spencer about Xbox's relationship with Apple, if they are still trying to get xCloud on the App Store, or just plan to bypass the store altogether and offer the service exclusively in the browser. Spencer said that Apple is still open to bringing its service to the App Store, but the browser remains the only option currently.
No, they actually remain open to the user experience we would like people to see. But we have this avenue of a browser that works for us that we will go and build out, which gives us access, frankly, to a lot of devices. If the device is capable of running a capable web browser, we're going to be able to bring games to it, which is pretty cool. You'll be able to bring all of your saved games and your friends and everything comes with you. It's just Xbox on this new screen with the games. Apple does remain open in the conversations that we have on this topic.
Spencer went on to say that they're open to working with Apple on some of the current roadblocks, like offering its own storefront within the xCloud app and ensuring user privacy.
I can understand their perspective from their position. I don't say I agree with it, but they have a competitive product in Apple Arcade that is competitive with Xbox Game Pass. I'm sure they like having Apple Arcade as the only game content subscription on their phone. We want access to at-scale compute devices that we think should have open access to services customers want. We're willing to work with them on safety and other things that people have come up with. We run a platform that takes safety and security very carefully. It is very important to us on Xbox, so that topic is not something that's foreign to us.
Patel also asked Spencer if he believes that Apple and Google's stance of equating their own app stores to Xbox and Playstation seemed fair. Spencer said that he doesn't believe that to be a fair comparison based on scale and the purpose of those devices.
If I can put Game Pass on iOS … if you just look at the scale, there are a billion mobile phones on the planet. Those are general compute platforms. A game console does one thing really; it plays video games. It's sold, for us, at a loss. Then you make money back by selling content and services on top. The model is just very, very different from something on the scale of Windows, or iOS, or Android.
I think there are 200 million game consoles that are sold in a generation across all of our platforms. That's less than a year of phone sales. It's just not even close. People say, well, the scale shouldn't matter. It actually does. When you start looking at how we look at open platforms and access, those things do matter. From a legal perspective, they matter. We know that at Microsoft. We had our DOJ time. I think as platforms get to scale, there's a responsibility there, absolutely.
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