Microsoft is revoking the complimentary Xbox Game Pass Ultimate perk for the majority of its 238,000-strong workforce, a move that has led to dissatisfaction among some of the employees.
In a move that seems to defy the very essence of corporate generosity, Microsoft, the tech titan (that recently shelled out an eye-watering $69 billion for Activision Blizzard), has reportedly decided to snatch away the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate from the grasp of its own employees.
Tom Warren from the Verge posted for all to see: the digital rug is being pulled from under the very feet of those who help lay it down, except, of course, for those specifically working in the Xbox division.
The Verge broke the news that come January 2024, most Microsoft workers will bid farewell to their free pass. The irony hits hard when considering Xbox staffers remain nestled comfortably with their gaming perk intact, while their colleagues across the Microsoft business must now deal with a 'discounted' annual subscription from the company store.
Now, this isn't about the monetary value of the subscription—let's face it, we're not talking about a company that's counting pennies. This is about the message it sends when a corporation whose valuation stretches into the stratosphere, decides that a freebie—a drop in the ocean of their vast revenue—is too much for its own workforce. It's the principle, the gesture, and, quite frankly, it's a bit of a slap in the face.
Per VideogamesChronicle, Xbox boss Phil Spencer, reportedly caught off-guard by this decision, has been thrust into the role of corporate firefighter, promising to look into the matter as discontent murmurs through the ranks. Yet one has to wonder how such a decision sailed through without the captain of the Xbox division at the helm.
In the interim, Microsoft has been hiking prices left and right—Xbox Game Pass Ultimate now digs deeper into consumers' pockets at $16.99 per month, and let's not forget the Xbox Series X's price getting a boost in most markets. Meanwhile, Game Pass boasts a whopping 25 million subscribers as of the last count. The service is clearly not lacking in appeal or financial success, so why the sudden pinch on internal perks?
Even more peculiar is the timing. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was just last week cheering on Starfield setting new records for Game Pass subscriptions. With such a triumphant backdrop, this move strikes an odd, discordant note.
So, here we stand, witnessing a move that feels less like savvy business and more like corporate desperation. In the grand scale of Microsoft’s business, the cost of extending this courtesy to their entire team is negligible. Yet, the cost of rescinding it? Well, that just might be a price measured in morale and public perception, far costlier than the subscription itself.
In essence, this decision is not just about access to games or perks—it's about how a company values its people. It's about the difference between being a faceless entity in corporate machinery or a valued member of a team that's respected and rewarded for their contribution. Microsoft might have just pressed the wrong button on this one, and the game is far from over.