Microsoft Corporation maybe one of the world’s largest software companies, but it has failed to crack Sony Corporation’s dominance in the gaming industry. But Microsoft wants to change all that and consequently be crowned the undisputed gaming industry giant.
The company recently acquired Xamarin, a mobile apps developer, an acquisition most pundits agree is meant to help it gain a foothold in mobile gaming.
So far, Sony is the market leader in gaming consoles, but Microsoft could leverage on its rich history in PC gaming to influence consumers to purchase its offerings. Microsoft’s strategy here is to encourage the development of games that can be used on any platform such as PC, console or mobile.
Microsoft Wants to Unify all Gaming Platforms
This means that Microsoft wants to unify all platforms into what is known as the Universal Windows Platform that is being fronted by its innovative Windows 10 operating system.
Once operational, it is envisaged that you will be able to access what you currently enjoy on your laptop, PC or your console on a mobile device. However, it isn’t just any mobile device, but one which has Microsoft’s cross-platform operating system, Windows 10.
This cross-platform feature is a novel idea in the gaming industry. The industry has been divided into two segments; console gaming and PC gaming. Even online gaming is itself different from its two cousins. However, Microsoft wants you to be able to play the same game on your tablet, PC, Xbox or smartphone.
The move won’t come easy, as challenges abound. The first one is to convince games developers to develop, or redevelop, games that are compatible on the cross-platform OS. The purchase of Xamarin may be one of the strategies considered to solve this headache.
Still, it is also difficult for Microsoft to easily win over independent developers and firms that are wary of the risks involved with an apparently open, though closed proprietary system like the Universal Windows Platform.
Mobile Devices to Pose the Biggest Headache
Should Microsoft solve this puzzle, it will be possible to create games that are available on all devices, whether mobile, tablet, console or PC. This is mainly due to the limitations of mobile devices that prevent them from running graphics-heavy games.
It is noteworthy that the global gaming industry is worth $91.5 billion, and is forecasted to expand at 9% per year over the next few years. The global gaming market is dominated by the U.S. and China, with Sony and Microsoft taking the lead. China’s Tencent is third in the list, which means given the immense opportunities that abound with the growth in the industry, no company is ready to consider itself spent yet.
Microsoft’s strategy to floor down its rivals involves building a closed environment in the PC games market and become the dominant player, and also to develop technology whose capabilities will never be fully matched by any console-based gaming system.
Users will then troop to the company that offers the best services. Sony reported tremendous increase in sales when it developed a mobile gaming console – -the PS Vita series, and Microsoft appears to have considered this by including mobile gaming as one of the key drivers of its growth.