Following the broadcast of the 2023 Xbox Game Showcase and Starfield Direct, Xbox leadership conducted an in-person panel in Los Angeles, where it share several statistics and insights into its strategy moving forward. Among them was a desire to release at least four first-party games per year – meaning games from its wholly-owned studios like Bethesda Softworks (Starfield), Playground Games (Fable, Forza Horizon), Obsidian Entertainment (Avowed, Pentiment), Double Fine (Psychonauts 2), and several others.
The comments are likely a response to a relatively slow year for the company in 2022, where it released no big titles, compared to its 2021 slate which included Psychonauts 2, Forza Horizon 5 and Halo Infinite. However, this isn’t a deviation from what the company has already been doing.
Xbox actually released a total of four new titles during 2022 – As Dusk Falls, Grounded, Age of Empires IV: Anniversary Edition, and Pentiment – and even though they were mostly smaller-scale projects, they were all very well received.
Elsewhere in the panel, the company confirmed it observed a 46% increase in PC games being played on its Xbox Game Pass subscription service year-on-year, and announced that it would be allowing select PC games from the Game Pass Library to be streamed through Nvidia’s GeForce NOW cloud streaming service.
The company’s ongoing push to share its content on rival cloud services is likely in response to concerns made by the UK CMA, which blocked the company’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard over reasons related to the future of cloud streaming.
Elsewhere, the company confirmed that its revenue from Game Pass subscriptions reached ‘nearly US $1 billion’ in the Jan-Mar 2023 quarter, and its ID@Xbox independent game program has paid out over US $4 billion to 5,000 developers.
During the Xbox showcase, a new Xbox Series S console was also revealed – one with a black finish that features a larger storage capacity of 1TB. The company explained that ‘more than half of players who purchased a Series S last year were new to Xbox’.
You can now catch up on all the announcements from the 2023 Xbox Game Showcase and Starfield Direct, which includes reveals of several new original games from its first-party developers, and a 45-minute deep dive into Bethesda’s upcoming RPG, Starfield.