With the holidays around the corner Microsoft (MSFT) is gearing up to give consumers another way to spend money: game gifting via the Xbox One Store.
Currently consumers can’t purchase a Xbox One game as a gift for someone else, but since it's one of the most highly requested features from its gaming customers, the Redmond, Washington software company is responding, revealing in a tweet the capability will be coming soon. Mike Ybarra, corporate vice president of Xbox and Windows gaming platform said via Twitter the ability to give the gift of a game is not far out.
— Mike Ybarra (@XboxQwik) July 6, 2017
It’s not clear how the service will work, but The Verge speculated that with Gamescom, the European gaming trade fair, slated for August, users should be hearing more about it soon. (See more: Microsoft Tests Chat Transcription for XBox One.)
The ability to gift games is not only a much-desired feature – one that got close to 5,000 votes on Microsoft’s feedback website – but it’s also a way to generate more money for the company, which is gearing up to launch a new version of its popular game console. Last month it announced the Xbox One X game console, which will be available on Nov. 7. The device will feature a UHD Blu-ray player, 4K resolution gaming capabilities, 12 gigabytes (GB) of ram and 6 teraflops of graphics processing power, making it 40% more powerful than any other console, says Microsoft. Aside from being extremely powerful, the new Xbox is also the smallest one yet, which means it's the most advanced console the gaming industry has ever seen. There’s speculation Microsoft could expand the gifting to the Windows Store as well ahead of the fall rush for video games and the holiday selling season. (See also: Video Game Stocks Rise to Top of S&P 500: Morgan Stanley)
Allowing consumers to gift games is a logical next step for the software giant that has been shifting its game business to the digital world as more gamers prefer digital downloads over purchasing physical DVDs. According to market research company Super Data, in May the worldwide digital video games market increased 9% from a year ago to $7.8 billion. In the U.S., digital revenue from games increased with gamers spending more than $1 billion across all of the different gaming platforms in May. Microsoft is embracing digital, rolling out its Netflix-style streaming service dubbed Game Pass for Xbox video game on June 1. The new gaming platform went live in 31 markets with a catalog of more than 100 games. The service costs $9.99 a month.