Let’s take a moment to go back in time, at least in our minds. Can you remember what it was like before Netflix was pioneering the online streaming world? It’s hard to imagine, isn’t it? There used to be a time when you couldn’t expect to have a huge library of new and old movies at your fingertips awaiting the click of a button. You used to have to actually go to a rental store in order to get what you wanted to watch that night. Now, let’s flash back forward to the present. Phil Spencer, the head chief of Xbox, is looking at that business model and pondering — where is our option for video games?
Phil Spencer is a former video game developer himself who has been tasked with heading one of the largest video game enterprises on the planet. As the chief of Xbox, Spencer has a very serious and specific focal point for his work: “We put the gamer at the center of everything” and that phrase is more than just a string of words. Spencer knows that you need quality content to keep gamers happy, but you also need innovation. Innovation for Spencer could lead to a Netflix-lite for video game enthusiasts.
Now before you scar yourself scratching your head, yes this is a new concept. Right now we do have some measure of ‘on demand’ video game service with streamlined DLC packs, constant online updates, and even games-on-demand via Xbox Live. This still isn’t there and it still isn’t quite the mark that Spencer wants to hit on. Spencer is actually surprisingly, or non surprisingly depending on your view of Xbox, in tune with the current trends and problems that plague the gaming experience.
For example, Spencer knows that multi-player games that rely on ‘season packs’ and DLC are currently the rage. In fact, these games are such the rage that single player experiences with a definitive end are dying as a medium. He believe that a digital and on demand service, much like Netflix, could be the cure to these woes. He’s kicking around the idea, at least publicly, where the future of gaming could survive around a subscription service not unlike what Netflix is offering for the world of TV and movies. Will it work? Who knows.