Microsoft Thought About Stopping Day One Releases On Game Pass

As revealed in an internal exchange between Matt Booty and Tim Stuart.

Story Highlights 

  • Microsoft has reportedly considered stopping “day one” releases on the Xbox Game Pass subscription service, as revealed in an old internal email between Matt Booty and Tim Stuart.
  • It considered reversing the idea of releasing its games on Game Pass on launch day, but Matt Booty was far from satisfied with the idea. The company did not move forward with it.
  • Microsoft also reportedly wanted to “go spend Sony out of business,” stating how it is the only competitor to stand in its way. It gave examples of Google and Amazon.
  • The FTC trials have also revealed that Sony seemingly uses 30 percent of the revenue produced from Microsoft titles on its PlayStation service to reduce Xbox’s survival in the game market.

Phil Spencer is currently busy battling to preserve the ABK acquisition in a legal battle with FTC in court, but the hearings have also caused many details to come to light for the gaming industry to witness. For instance, an internal email between Matt Booty and Tim Stuart appeared online, showing a conversation about the Xbox Game Pass. The email suggests that Microsoft has considered stoppingday one” titles on the service.

The discussion between the CVP and head of Xbox Game Studios and the general manager and CFO of Xbox is nearly four years old and notes potential strategies for the subscription service. 

If we reverse course on day and date, it’s going to be hard to convince folks that things like Mixer or Xcloud have much of a chance of surviving scrutiny either.”

The exchange gives us glimpses into how Microsoft once considered backpedaling with the thought of releasing its titles on the Game Pass on launch day, and Matt Booty was far from satisfied with the idea. The rest of the message chain in the internal emails has been redacted for the public. The giant company has since bought Bethesda for $7.5 billion and is toiling to close the in-progress $68.7 billion merger with Activision Blizzard.

The relevant internal email talking about the inimical Xbox Game Pass Strategy.
The relevant internal email talks about the inimical Xbox Game Pass Strategy.

Both the aforesaid acquisitions are a lot more massive than the $2 and $3 billion example deals mentioned in the email. It was always Microsoft’s preferred plan to buy studios to avoid a situation where any huge conglomerates could hoard most of the content. Microsoft also reportedly wanted to “go spend Sony out of business,” stating how it is the only competitor to stand in its way.

In games, Google is 3 to 4 years away from being able to have a studio up and running. Amazon has shown no ability to execute on game content. Content is the one moat that we have, in terms of a catalog that runs on current devices and capability to create new. Sony is really the only other player who could compete with Game Pass and we have a 2 year and 10 million subs lead.”

The FTC vs. Microsoft court hearings have been revealing the private strategies of Microsoft, as the conglomerate tries to defend the notable buyout with Activision Blizzard in the court. In the past, FTC issued a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction against Microsoft to stop the merger from going through. The Federal Trade Commission of the US is among the largest remaining obstacles standing in front of the ABK deal.

A slew of intriguing facts has come to light in the last few days since the court hearings began with the FTC, such as Microsoft’s unveiling that the next generation of consoles will start in 2028. We also learned that Microsoft purchased Bethesda to ensure Starfield does not become a PlayStation-only exclusive. Moreover, Sony uses 30 percent of the revenue produced from Xbox titles on its service to reduce its survival in the market.

All in all, we may see even more intriguing findings about Starfield or info on the other IPs as the court hearings continue the following days. It is riveting to consider how the Xbox Game Pass could have turned out to be different if Microsoft went with the strategy of not adhering to “day one,” which is among the biggest features that fans know and love. Regardless, it eventually decided not to roll forward with such an inimical strategy.

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Internal Emails

Shameer Sarfaraz is a Senior News Writer on eXputer who loves to keep up with the gaming and entertainment industries devoutly. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science and several years of experience reporting on games. Besides his passion for breaking news stories, Shahmeer loves spending his leisure time farming away in Stardew Valley. VGC, IGN, GameSpot, Game Rant, TheGamer, GamingBolt, The Verge, NME, Metro, Dot Esports, GameByte, Kotaku Australia, PC Gamer, and more have cited his articles.

Experience: 4+ Years || Education: Bachelor in Computer Science.

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