Microsoft’s strategy of offering a wide catalogue of digital games for a low monthly fee through the Game Pass platform has been celebrated by the fans, but perhaps we might be just about to see a generally negative response from the other side of the industry: The retailers that play an essential role in providing the public with consoles, accessories, and physical games.
In a move that could get Microsoft in trouble if it’s adopted by a large number of businesses, the Austrian company Gameware KG has decided to stop selling any Xbox One consoles, including the new Xbox One X, as a way to show Microsoft their discomfort at the progress of their Game Pass service, which encourages players to skip completely the physical market, and adopt the digital platform instead.
And just so their stance is hear clear and loud, they have publicly denounced Microsoft, asking that why would any retailer want to sell Xbox One consoles “which bring zero merit and only expenditure, if Microsoft afterwards wants to profit from the marketing of the software only.” And they also have some hard words directly to the Redmond company: “Who wants to do business alone, should do the work alone.” The comments were made in German to MediaBiz.
Indeed, if we check out the Xbox One section on the Gameware KG website we’ll see that they are still selling Xbox One games and accessories, but there are no signs of Xbox One consoles. It is worth noting that Xbox One’s market share is minimal in Austria and other European countries compared to Sony’s PS4 or even the new Nintendo Switch, so this decision is not likely to make a significant impact on Gameware’s business, but it is a clear sign that Microsoft is losing the support from retailers.
This move comes in the aftermath of Microsoft’s announcement that it will make their new first-party titles available through Game Pass the same day they are released. Which means that games like Sea of Thieves, Crackdown 3, or even the upcoming Halo 6 will be available on day one for only $9.99 a month. We noted that this move has made Microsoft’s strategy totally clear, as it is a definitive step of the company towards building the videogame equivalent to a Netflix-like subscription platform for the Xbox catalogue.