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Il Cortocircuito: si parla di Microsoft, Bethesda e Amazon Luna con Roberto Serranò

Guest of Il Cortocircuito: we talk about Microsoft, Bethesda and Amazon Luna

The editors of invited me to take part in the episode of "Il Corcocircuito" in September 25, 2020 to talk about the new Amazon Luna and the recent acquisition of Zenimax by Microsoft.

Starting at 4 pm Pierpaolo Greco, Alessio Pianesani and Francesco Serino of introduced on their Twitch channel the topics of the day and asked me questions about the likely scenarios following the recent news that has ignited the digital entertainment market:

  • MICROSOFT AND BETHESDA – an acquisition that changes EVERYTHING
  • AMAZON LUNA - The streaming service in satellite TV style

Following the acquisition of Zenimax Media Inc. (Alpha Dog Games, Arkane Studios, Bethesda Softworks, id Software, MachineGames, Roundhouse Studios, Tango Gameworks, ZeniMax Online Studios) by Microsoft Xbox, the recent rumor related to the Sony PlayStation's interest in acquiring Ubisoft and introducing Amazon Luna as a new on-demand Cloud Gaming solution, I set out the plausible short and long term scenarios.

The acquisition of Zenimax Media by Microsoft is something that has never happened before

After shelling out approximately $ 7.5 billion to acquire Zenimax Media and associated development studios, Microsoft will implement a business plan alignment until 2022 through an initial set of action items:

  • milestone planning based on the profit value of the new studios;
  • blocking of layoffs;
  • freezing of current agreements;
  • review of future agreements;
  • cost reduction.

Following this, there will be another series of action items always in line with the business plan which include:

  • not to renew exclusivity agreements with non-remunerative internal minor studios;
  • confirm the distribution of the franchises announced to be released also on other platforms other than Xbox (see PlayStation) preferring the Xbox platforms through temporal exclusivity and / or exclusive content;
  • lock up projects not yet announced and in development by the new Zenimax Media studios as Xbox exclusives;

Microsoft's acquisition of Zenimax Media did not have the effect of relaunching publicly traded shares on the market, almost as if to appear unprofitable.

It must be said that Microsoft was about to debut on the market with two next-gen consoles, Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, with the perception shared by many of not having titles to support the launch: the postponement of Halo Infinite and the announce that all new projects in development by Xbox Game Studios would come a long time later.

Having signed an acquisition of this magnitude, never happened before and then entered in history, has certainly reassured Xbox fans and laid the foundations for new scenarios.

Sony's answer cannot be similar to the Microsoft one, because the japanese corporate does not have the financial resources to be able to emulate a PlayStation service on the same level of Xbox Game Pass.

Sony does not have its own Cloud infrastructure but relies on Microsoft's Azure already for PlayStation Now.

There may be two scenarios in the near future.

  • Sony decides to continue to renew the agreements with Microsoft to maintain the current infrastructure by focusing only on the portfolio of its exclusives and third-party agreements for dedicated content
  • Sony makes an alliance with one of the two giants such as Amazon and Google already present on the market with their Cloud Gaming offer to give life to an offer never seen before, able not only to compete with the competition but give sustainability to the Company.

Amazon and Google have strong experience and are leaders in the management of complex and performing infrastructures, while Sony has the competence in managing the gaming market thanks to its in-house productions.

Amazon in particular has tried (and is still trying) to have its presence thanks to the opening of the Amazon Games studio, but the negative results do not give hope for anything good.

Google is still trying to find the compass after having sailed the seas of cloud gaming with Stadia, a product with a futuristic debut but still not able to hold its own in the gaming market.

A mid-life PS5 deal with Amazon or Google is the plausible scenario.

Nintendo doesn't need to compete with Sony and Microsoft. The Japanese company lives, just saying, a parallel market where only the turnover makes the companies closer than they really are; just think that in the recent Fiscal Year, Nintendo Switch surpassed Microsoft Xbox in terms of units distributed.

Nintendo does not need to play the cloud gaming card at the moment because, like Sony, it does not have a proprietary infrastructure and only wants to do so when it will be able to add value to its platform. 


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