We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

Xbox says ‘our strategy is working’, and Palworld’s the proof

Xbox's long-term strategy has had lots of critics, but Xbox president Sarah Bond makes an example of Palworld to prove the doubters wrong.

Palworld Xbox: A green monster with a leaves and petals on its head surrounded by a vortex of leaves. A white and red Xbox logo is imposed on the top of the image

“We know it’s working” – that’s the emphatically strong and confident remark made by Xbox president Sarah Bond when discussing its overall gaming strategy during her recent Official Xbox Podcast appearance. Bond says that the options Xbox offers to game creators increases their chances of success, and that surprise sensation Palworld is a shining example.

There’s no doubt that Palworld’s popularity and inclusion on many best survival game lists has been unexpected – no one could have predicted that an early access, straight-to-Game-Pass experience made by a small team would rack up over 19 million sales, break player count records, and go down as one of the best Xbox games of the year already. But Bond says that this was achievable thanks to Xbox’s ‘play anywhere’ strategy, and that Xbox should work to make individual games a success, not the other way around.

“The things we do with our hardware and our platforms are all in service of making games bigger,” she says. “We think about that across all the investments we make. The consoles we build, the investments we do with things like cross-play and cross-progression, the things we’re doing with Cloud – how do we give more options to game creators so they can have the greatest success?”

If I were a betting man, I would’ve put a few bucks on Palworld being name-dropped at some stage, and it’s here where Bond would have made me a winner. She holds Pocketpair’s game up as a “fun recent example” of this strategy working.

“They were a game preview, they launched in Game Pass, and they simultaneously launched on Steam, and so [through] the combination of those things, Pocketpair was able to have this outside success. It was the largest third-party launch on Game Pass ever. And that’s all because we give creators options on how they can launch their games.”

YouTube Thumbnail

Bond then makes the statement that stood out to me the most – in fact, it was probably the most confident-sounding and self-assured statement I’ve heard from Xbox for a long while.

“When we step back and just look at the performance of our platform, all up, we know it’s working.” That’s one way to silence anyone doubting Xbox’s decision-making.

With Xbox recently giving extra support to Palworld to push out updates faster, and now this high-level namedrop during a very important moment for the business, the chance of Microsoft making some kind of move for Pocketpair feels increasingly likely. It could be another cash-splashing acquisition to own the whole thing outright. Or it could be simply fostering a beneficial, close relationship (similar to how Sony has with several developers, like Square Enix, to secure PS5 exclusives). Whatever it is, it feels like something significant is happening.

So, what else happened in this podcast? Well, Phil Spencer confirmed four Xbox exclusives would be heading to rival platforms, and while he wouldn’t say which ones, we’re not totally in the dark. We also found out Diablo 4 would be hitting Game Pass very soon. Oh, and Bond said that the next-gen Xbox would be an enormous “technical leap” compared to the Series X and S.