Samsung recently lifted the curtain on its newest flagship smartphones and tablets, unveiling the Galaxy Note 20, Note 20 Ultra, Galaxy Tab S7, and Tab S7 Plus. Importantly, Samsung also strengthened its ties with Microsoft and the Xbox business. Microsoft has a history of teaming up with Samsung, previously promoting the latter’s QLED televisions as the best displays to play in 4K. With Microsoft preparing to launch its xCloud game streaming platform on September 15th as part of its Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription, the companies have once again aligned their interests, expanding on a partnership that was first teased in February.
Samsung is offering a pre-order for a bundle attached to its Note 20 that includes a three-month Game Pass Ultimate subscription and a new PowerA Moga XP5-X controller. Microsoft will also develop a special version of the Game Pass app specifically for Samsung devices as part of the deal. This version of Game Pass will differ from the Google Play Store version, enabling players to purchase microtransactions and other DLC on the device. Moreover, as The Verge points out, Microsoft and Samsung are working together in ways that extend beyond gaming, positioning the companies to challenge Apple and its walled garden approach.
For now, Apple is not allowing xCloud or Google Stadia onto the iOS platform, citing its App Store guidelines which ban “thin clients for cloud-based apps.” Moreover, Microsoft’s partnership with Samsung makes a lot of sense given the cross-ownership that Interpret has observed. According to Interpret’s NMM: Global ProfilesÒ, 67% of Xbox One owners also own an Android device, compared with 55% who own an iOS device. Additionally, in the U.S. New Media Measure® shows that Samsung controls 50% of the Android market. In the long run, Microsoft will need iOS users as well for its cloud ambitions to be fully realized, but Samsung’s alliance could go a long way towards accelerating adoption of Xbox Game Pass and xCloud among mobile players.