Microsoft, and in that vein Xbox, are evolving their gaming presence on all fronts. This morning they announced yet another aspect of their evolving journey focusing on PC gaming.
Perhaps the most notable announcement this morning, is that Microsoft is reducing the cut they take from games on the Windows Store to 12% from 30%. This 18% reduction places a far greater amount of profit in developers’ pockets, and aligns with Epic Games who made the same decision last year. This broadens the challenge to Valve, which continues to take 30% via Steam. Courtesy of The Verge, Head of Xbox Studios Matt Booty offered the following statement:
“Game developers are at the heart of bringing great games to our players, and we want them to find success on our platforms,” says Matt Booty, head of Xbox Game Studios at Microsoft. “A clear, no-strings-attached revenue share means developers can bring more games to more players and find greater commercial success from doing so.”
Xbox also detailed how they continue to enhance their support for PC gamers including details on Halo Infinite’s launch later this year.
A big part of our role as a platform holder and game publisher is to connect players with games no matter where they play. Over the last 18 months we’ve launched games on PC like Age of Empires II and III DE, Gears Tactics, Wasteland 3, Minecraft Dungeons, and Microsoft Flight Simulator, many of which topped the Steam charts at launch. We’re looking forward to delivering more PC content, including Age of Empires IV, later this year. Whether they are new genres for established franchises, the next iteration of a classic favorite or the evolution of a storied PC brand, we’re making games that PC gamers love to play.
We know many of you play across more than just your PC, including on Xbox and mobile. That’s why we’re excited to announce Halo Infinite will support multiplayer cross-play and cross-progression when it releases later this year. That means if you’re playing on PC, you can play with your friends on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S. It also means that your multiplayer customization and progress will follow you across all platforms.
Xbox also discussed how they are empowering developers, and recognized they still have plenty of work to do. It’s widely acknowledged that the Windows Store for PC gaming is quite poor.
We’re proud to empower all developers with the platform and services they need to execute their vision and provide exceptional experiences on PC. We introduced DirectX 12 Ultimate to both Xbox Series X|S and PC; coupled with the newly announced DirectX 12 Agility SDK, this enables incredible graphics experiences, like ray tracing, for an even larger set of PC gamers. We’re taking the work we did with our Auto HDR technology on Xbox to PC gamers, which is currently being tested with over 1,000 DirectX-based games. We’re also bringing DirectStorage technology on Xbox to PC, which means vastly reduced load times and more expansive and detailed virtual worlds.
We know that we still have a lot of work to do, but based on the response from both PC gamers and PC game developers, we think that we’re headed in the right direction for this community with the investments we’re making. We have never been in a better position as an organization to deliver for PC gamers, with Xbox Game Studios and Bethesda developing content for both PC and Xbox, the Windows and DirectX teams creating technologies that empower developers and provide PC players with features that specifically take advantage of PC hardware, Xbox Game Pass for PC featuring games for every type of PC gamer with Xbox Game Studio games coming on day one, and the ongoing evolution of the Xbox app and Xbox Game Bar. We’ll continue listening to the community to ensure we’re delivering on our promises, and respecting how players choose to play. This is especially true as we head into the second half of 2021, when our work across the entire PC ecosystem has the potential to come together in a way that propels the industry forward and brings great games to more gamers around the world.
It’s clear that Microsoft/Xbox are focused on gaming from all angles and so these continued improvements to the full ecosystem are more than welcome. Halo Infinite has the potential to be the biggest launch of the year and the growing capability to play on PC or console with cross-play and cross-progression is fantastic. Keep it up Microsoft!