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What does the Gaming Industry and Access Control have in common?

Lee Odess

It is interesting to look at other industries to understand trends. If you have not heard, some new gaming consoles are coming out this year. Some estimates have it around $45B this year in revenue.

I recently read an article about gaming and how Microsoft looks at hardware and service/software. It resonated with me as it relates to our industry. Why? As our industry evolves, we sometimes look at this as a zero-sum game versus an additive one. This story is an excellent example of how a different sector looks at the gaming industry's evolution as an additive. There are examples all over the place, just like this one, that we can learn from. We can reflect on them, apply best practices, and ignore the parts that are not relevant. All in all, we need to know we are not alone.

I hope that some of you will use this as a different way to introduce the change that is happening around us. It is coming at us fast and from every angle. It is exciting, but if we use the same processes and mindsets that have gotten us to this point, we will miss the massive opportunity in front of us.

It makes me also think...what else can we glean from the gaming industry?

I bolded the two areas that stood out to me the most. You? Let me know what you think.

Craddock: We've seen that even more recently, with products like Office and Adobe's suite of creativity apps transitioning from traditional boxed software to subscriptions. It comes down to the willingness of manufacturers to decide whether to keep doing things the way they've always been done, or try something new. Obviously, Microsoft still manufactures consoles; customers will be able to buy an Xbox Series X or Series S. But setting that aside, was the transition to putting a larger focus on a service and less on moving hardware units—which, again, is obviously still important—a hard sell within Microsoft?

Spencer: Yeah, but Microsoft was in the games business before we were in the console business. The internal discussion wasn't that challenging. I think we still kind of battle, but we still have the more public discussion surrounding that. Even this holiday, people are going to want to look at how many PS5s were sold versus how many Xbox Series S and Series Xs were sold and say, "Okay, there's a winner and there's a loser."

I just disregard that. Frankly, this holiday, supply is going to dictate how many consoles are sold more than demand. That battle is not going to be a reflection of demand. It'll be a reflection of supply. But also it's really about finding more players, and any business that's growing to scale, whether you're in the games business or not right now, in the consumer space is how do you go reach more and more customers? There are about 200 million console households on the planet, whether they have an Xbox or a PlayStation or some combination of those. That's the total addressable market for console players.

There are three billion play people who play video games. The biggest gaming platforms on the planet are Android and iOS. They're the ones that make the most money from video games. More than Xbox does, more than say PlayStation does. So for us, when we pitched the strategy internally around putting the player first and meeting them on the devices they're on, it was really a player-centered point of view that resonated with the company because of, as you said, things like Office 365 that were more customer centered than device or platform centered.

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