The Sun (Malaysia)
Microsoft bets big on Hollywood-style video game
“Starfield”, one of the mostanticipated video games in years, launches worldwide tomorrow with the hype – and production standards – of a Hollywood blockbuster.
And Microsoft has billions riding on its success. The ever-evolving game is the tech giant’s bid to lock players into its Xbox subscription service after some enormous investments in the gaming sector, which is worth RM$200 billion (RM933 billion) globally.
A universe-spanning role-playing sci-fi game, “Starfield” is made by US studio Bethesda, which Microsoft bought as part of a US$7.5 billion deal in 2020 to boost Xbox’s appeal over Sony’s PlayStation.
Microsoft is currently trying to purchase another studio, Activision Blizzard – the makers of “Call of Duty” – for US$75 billion.
The excitement for “Starfield” has been driven by a high rating of 87 out of 100 on review-aggregator Metacritic, based on early play-throughs by critics and gamers.
Reviews praise its epic scale, multitude of interactive stories, engrossing first-person combat and the way it conjured ersatz interactive versions of movie franchises Star Trek, Star Wars and Blade Runner.
Its appeal underscores growing fascination with games that have become increasingly cinematic, complete with nuanced acting, storytelling involving moral dilemmas and big-budget, multi-year evolving storylines.
Those qualities mean they are essentially “interactive movies”, said Simon Little, head of Video Games Europe, an umbrella organisation representing European games developers.