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Phil Spencer - Microsoft EVP of Gaming joins Yahoo Finance's On The Move panel to break down what gamers can expect from the Xbox Series X and S consoles, launching later this year.
PHIL SPENCER: Gaming is seeing a real boom right now with so many people stuck at home and looking for entertainment options in their houses, and gaming is just-- like, it's-- we're seeing a-- a lot of engagement across the services. So feeling really good about demand this holiday. We just got to make sure we have supply to feed it all.
DAN HOWLEY: Hey, Phil, this is Dan here. I-- you know, big gamer. Got a-- a Xbox One X next to all my other consoles. I-- I want to ask you in terms of performance, we have the-- the X and the S, what does that do for-- for gamers? Does it cause a stratification of gaming? Will it be similar to a kind of high-end PC or a mid-range PC? Will you get the same experience across both systems? How is that going to work?
PHIL SPENCER: Yeah, you nailed it. That's exactly right. And, you know, I think you've seen, even like the Nvidia cards that came out this week, there's different performance levels for what-- how big of a role gaming plays in someone's life. And we have the Xbox Series X, which is the most powerful next-gen console from anyone in the market-- feel great about that-- for 4K gaming for people who want premium, and then the affordable series S option for people who look at kind of 10 ADP or 1440p.
But it still has-- at even the affordable price, it still has the next-gen SSD and all of the CPU work and the-- the kind of high performance work that's in the upper level device. It just had a different resolution. We think giving gamers choice about how they enter gaming, especially at a time right now with some economic uncertainty in the market, is really critical.
DAN HOWLEY: And you guys offer Xbox Game Pass with xCloud, or Project xCloud, your cloud gaming service. That's $14.99 a month. That's still in beta. But that seems to be where gamers and game companies want to go. So I guess when you look at something like that-- and Microsoft is, I mean, you know, you could say objectively it's been the most successful as far as getting this off the ground and not having issues with third-party publishers as much.
Where do you see then consoles like the Series X and series S down the line? Do you think once we get this cloud gaming going that we'll see another generation of hardware, or will it all be kind of a conduit for cloud gaming in the future?
PHIL SPENCER: Yeah, you know, we're about putting the player at the center. It's not about the device in the middle anymore, and you see that in every other form of media. My TV is with me wherever I go. My music is with me wherever I go. I'm in control of the experience, and I think gaming is going through that same transformation. Which is why, as you say, if you're a Game Pass subscriber, you can now play your great games on our Xbox console, on your PC, or now on your Android phone via streaming.
One subscription gives you access to your catalog and your community wherever you go, giving players real choice. In terms of future hardware, absolutely, I think we're going to see more console hardware down the road. Just like in-- in video, just like in music, it's not that streaming has cut off device innovation. I think we'll continue to see that, and that's absolutely what we're planning for.
DAN HOWLEY: OK, and I got to ask you about you guys recently acquired ZeniMax Media. They're the parent company of the storied studio Bethesda. They've made some games that I probably have spent way too much time with, "Elder Scrolls," "Fallout," "Fallout 3," one of my favorite games ever. I guess, you know, $7.5 billion. Microsoft has been sucking up studios, producing its own first-party games.
Two questions. One, what does this mean for Microsoft in the future as far as becoming an even heavier hitter when it comes to first-party studios? And two-- and this is probably the question that a lot of people are wondering-- what does it mean for first-party exclusives for something like an "Elder Scrolls"? Will we only see that on Microsoft systems, or will it go across other systems similar to what Microsoft has done with "Minecraft"?
PHIL SPENCER: Yeah, really excited about the announcement this week that we intend to acquire ZeniMax. Amazing studios there. Takes our overall first-party studio organization to 23 creative studios. Just a real big investment in content. And really for us, Xbox Game Pass is the flywheel that we're feeding there. We have over 15 million subscribers now for Game Pass, and it-- it continues to grow across console, PC, and-- and now with streaming to phones. And we want to make sure that subscribers to Game Pass feel like they have a consistent set of games to go play.
In terms of where games will show up, our commitment is that our games will show up in Game Pass and on PC and on console and be available in xCloud. In terms of other platforms, I think we'll take it on a case by case basis. But as the Xbox community, what they should feel is this is a huge investment in the experiences that they're going to go have-- that they're going to have in the Xbox ecosystem. And we want the Xbox ecosystem to be absolutely the best place to play, and we think game availability is absolutely part of that.
JULIE HYMAN: All right, Phil Spencer, Microsoft Executive Vice President of Gaming, thanks so much. Appreciate it.
PHIL SPENCER: Thank you.