Xbox Series X (opens in new tab) is about to launch into the market right against PS5 (opens in new tab) when they both arrive in time for the holidays this year, but Xbox boss Phil Spencer says his company already has two much bigger competitors to worry about: Amazon and Google.
For years, Microsoft has been positioning Xbox as not just a console and an associated set of games, but a way to play games in general. While Spencer sees Sony as strong competition in that traditional space of console gaming - Nintendo too - he doesn't seem very worried about them challenging Xbox's longer term strategy. He explained why in an interview with the new tech outlet Protocol (opens in new tab).
"When you talk about Nintendo and Sony, we have a ton of respect for them, but we see Amazon and Google as the main competitors going forward," Spencer said. "That's not to disrespect Nintendo and Sony, but the traditional gaming companies are somewhat out of position. I guess they could try to re-create Azure, but we've invested tens of billions of dollars in cloud over the years."
This could also be why Microsoft has been so open to collaboration with what would have traditionally been considered its gaming rivals, signing off on everything from cross-console multiplayer to the appearance of Banjo and Kazooie (its wholly owned intellectual property) in Nintendo's flagship fighting game Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (opens in new tab).
"I don't want to be in a fight over format wars with those guys while Amazon and Google are focusing on how to get gaming to 7 billion people around the world," Spencer added. "Ultimately, that's the goal."
Microsoft's gaming efforts are in a strong place right now. Xbox Series X is looking like a powerful new system, tons of new internal studios are working on platform-exclusive games, and Xbox Game Pass (opens in new tab) is one of the best values in the gaming medium. That said, it's still far from self-sustaining. Hopefully Spencer can keep focusing on making Xbox a great place to play now even as he looks toward future battles.
See what you could play on Microsoft's new console with our look ahead to upcoming Xbox Series X games (opens in new tab).