Microsoft’s new video game Starfield could be the catalyst for the tech giant to boost sales of its Xbox console and its monthly game subscription service.
SEATTLE — One small step by a team of intrepid space explorers of the 24th century could be a leap — or failure — for Microsoft as the Xbox maker launches its long-awaited video game. Starfield.
Players must fend off pirates, navigate strange moons, build outposts, and repair their own spacecraft in a space epic that’s coming to Xbox in September after years of development. and delay. Microsoft gave its most detailed look at the upcoming game at an event in Los Angeles on Sunday.
The release could be one of the most important in Xbox’s history as it looks to appeal to gamers with a title on par with Nintendo’s. Latest Zelda game and PlayStation’s upcoming Spider-Man 2, said Mat Piscatella, game industry analyst for market research firm Circana.
After months of seeing Nintendo’s Switch and Sony’s PlayStation gain momentum in a lagging market — with a boost from Hollywood movie adaptations Nintendo’s Super Mario and PlayStation exclusive Last of Us — Microsoft could use a blockbuster to boost sales of its Xbox console and its monthly game subscription service.
“Starfield could potentially be as big as or bigger than” popular games on rival platforms, said Piscatella, especially given the solid track record of the studio that created it. “But ‘may’ have a big one.”
Much of the prediction focuses on the past commercial successes of Microsoft-owned Bethesda Softworks, the studio behind long-running series like Doom, Elder Scrolls, and Fallout. Bethesda describes Starfield as “the first new universe in over 25 years”.
Bethesda is ready to develop it when Microsoft acquire the parent company ZeniMax Media for $7.5 billion in 2021. In fact, Bethesda first sought to trademark the Starfield name a decade ago and introduced the game in a short trailer five years later. that in 2018.
Now Starfield is caught up in another Microsoft takeover — by the producer of Call of Duty Activision Blizzard. Sony has filed antitrust objections to the $69 billion deal over concerns that Microsoft might make some of Activision’s best games exclusively for Xbox.
PlayStation has its own exclusive games—including the best-selling Last of Us, the Marvel Spider-Man game, and several Final Fantasy games. However, Sony has argued with UK and European antitrust regulators that Microsoft’s decision to make ZeniMax games like Starfield and Redfall exclusive to Xbox provides “more convincing evidence”. more about Microsoft’s ability and motivation to thwart competitors” for games it acquires through acquisitions.
UK and US antitrust authorities have sought to block the deal with Activision, although neither has mentioned the Starfield example as a concern. Other countries, including regulators representing the 27 countries of the European Union, approved the acquisition.
Microsoft’s ongoing battle to close the deal with Activision and rekindle enthusiasm for its existing stock of games is taking place during a period of sluggish game sales after interest spiked. at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Circana, consumer spending on video games and hardware in the US was $4.1 billion in April, down 5% from a year ago.
The 6% drop in game revenue was partially offset by a 7% increase in hardware sales, especially for the PlayStation 5 and Switch. It marks the best April for console sales since the pandemic caused sales to spike in 2020.