Phil Spencer thinks Sony's rumored Game Pass equivalent is a good idea

Phil Spencer
(Image credit: Christian Petersen (Getty Images))

A Bloomberg report in December 2021 claimed that Sony is currently working on its own version of Game Pass, a combination of PlayStation Plus and PlayStation Now that it intends to launch in the spring. There's been no official word from Sonyyet, but one high-profile industry luminary thinks it's a very good idea: Xbox boss Phil Spencer.

"I don't mean it to sound like we've got it all figured out, but I think the right answer is allowing your customers to play the games they wanna play, where they wanna play them, and giving them choice about how they build their library, and being transparent with them about what our plans are in terms of our PC initiatives and our cross-gen initiatives and other things," Spencer told IGN.

"So when I hear others doing things like Game Pass or coming to PC, it makes sense to me because I think that's the right answer."

Spencer said that he doesn't see Sony's reported pursuit of a Game Pass-style strategy as "validation" of Microsoft's approach, but simply "an inevitability."

"We should continue to innovate, continue to compete, because the things that we're doing might be advantages that we have in the market today, but they're just based on us going first, not that we've created something that no one else can go create," Spencer said.

The Game Pass program has been a big success for Microsoft—so big that the company used the annual Game Awards showcase to announce that the PC version, previously called Xbox Game Pass for PC, had been renamed to the much more sensible PC Game Pass.

It's pretty clear that Microsoft wants to maximize the visibility of the program, which to be fair is a hell of a good deal: More than 100 games (including a pile of unlisted stuff) for just $12 per month. But it's not aiming to supplant conventional game purchases entirely: Spencer said in a recent interview with the New York Times that the regular retail market "continues to be very strong and grow," and that he wants to "make sure we offer our customers choice between subscriptions and transactions."

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.