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The post-console future: where Xbox is looking for its next big hit

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M icrosoft has been in the video game business for over 20 years, but its Xbox console has been the perpetual runner-up. 2020’s Xbox Series S/X console is being significantly outsold by Sony’s PlayStation 5 – in keeping with its predecessor, 2013’s Xbox One, which was outsold more than 2:1 by the PlayStation 4.

It’s currently suffering from a lack of big-ticket exclusive games, and its most recent, Redfall, was a critical disappointment.

What’s more, its huge $70bn merger with Activision Blizzard, a deal that would go a long way towards solving its content problem by buying it Call of Duty and much more, is currently being held up by UK regulators.Looking rather downtrodden on a recent episode of gaming show Xcast, Xbox boss Phil Spencer said that he was “not in the business of out-consoling Sony or out-consoling Nintendo”, intimating that the long-running console war between Xbox, Nintendo and PlayStation was a losing battle for Microsoft.

Instead of touting Xbox sales figures, for the past few years the company has presented its subscription service Game Pass as its metric for success: how many games it has, how many subscribers, how many hours they have played.

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