Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer has made some notable announcements about his potential exit from the gaming business. The information was obtained during a hearing held by the Federal Trade Commission as part of its investigation into Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
The FTC lawyer showed an internal slide of Xbox Game Pass and asked Phil Spencer if he agreed with projections that show the subscription will exceed 100 million users between fiscal years 2029 and 2030, largely due to the growth of the PC and cloud market?
Spencer made it clear that Microsoft could exit the gaming business if it fails to achieve its goals. The company needs its PC and cloud segments to become much larger and faster-growing by fiscal 2027, or it could abandon the business altogether.
“I can say with confidence that if we don’t make more progress outside of consoles, we will leave the gaming business. If the result had been like that, we would… I don’t think we would still be in this business.”
There is reason to believe that Spencer exaggerated a bit. Throughout the FTC investigation and later in federal court, Microsoft emphasized that the Activision Blizzard acquisition was critical to its plan to grow in the mobile and cloud markets. Otherwise, she may leave the gaming business. At the same time, Microsoft is preparing the next generation Xbox console, which will be released in 2028. Microsoft invested heavily in the gaming market between its acquisition of ZeniMax and its attempted acquisition of Activision Blizzard. So it’s unlikely that she’ll simply walk away before getting a chance to see those investments bear fruit. Still, Spencer’s words underscore how important it is for Microsoft to expand beyond consoles with Game Pass.