Shawn Layden was once the head of Sony Interactive Entertainment America, president of SCE Japan and president of world studios before leaving the company in 2019, and as he plans to re-enter the industry with Streamline Media Group, he has some skepticism around what many call “the best deal in gaming”, Xbox’s Game Pass.
“People don’t buy consoles because they want more steel and plastic in the living room,” Layden said in an interview with website GamesIndustry.Biz. “People buy consoles because they want access to content. If you can find a way to get content into people’s homes without a box, then yes, yes. Everyone has a streaming solution in one form or another. Most of it is limited by whether you have a decent internet connection. And they have not yet built the business model that works for that.”
The problem Layden sees is that he just doesn’t think it’s going to be sustainable in the long run. “It’s very hard to launch a $120 million game on a subscription service that charges $9.99 per month. If you do the math, you have to have 500 million subscribers to recoup your investment… If you only have 250 million consoles, you won’t get half a billion subscribers. So how do you circle that square? No one has realized that yet.”
While Layden isn’t exactly wrong about the permanence of a service like Game Pass, Microsoft just happens to be in a unique position where they can reasonably afford for Game Pass to be a loss leader for some time, and boss Phil Spencer clearly sees something in the service. and its value that Layden and many other players who are still baffled about how Game Pass works for Microsoft do not.
Source – [GamesIndustry.Biz]