Xbox exec explains the challenges of launching PC Game Pass in the Philippines

PC Game Pass launched in the Philippines last year, and recently Xbox Asia's Business Director shared with us the challenges of the launch.

PC Game Pass launched in the Philippines last year, and recently Xbox Asia’s Business Director Jeremy Hinton shared with us during our recent interview the challenges that they ran into over 12 months ago.

While PC services such as Steam has been available in the country officially for years now, the big three console brands (PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo) have yet to release their online/subscription services in the country officially. This means Pinoy players have to create accounts that are based in other regions to sign up.

Though last year, Xbox finally brought its Game Pass service to the Philippines officially; at least on PC. But at least most (if not all) games on Xbox consoles are also released on PC.

So, how did Xbox launch in the country? Especially when other services have yet to officially arrive in the PH? Well, Hinton revealed that integrating payment channels and regulatory considerations are big challenges when expanding a gaming service to a new country.

He explained:

“There are just a lot of interdependencies in bringing new products or services to new places.

There are considerations such as content partners as with Game Pass, it’s not all Microsoft content. So, you need to agree with all of the publishers that are also on the service to expand with you to make their products available in that part of the world. Thankfully, we had very enthusiastic responses from the publishers that we partner with as we expanded into Southeast Asia.

There are also often challenges around payment instruments. At times, you may not have either local processing or appropriate local payment instruments to enable people to pay you. This is certainly a challenge.

And then, there may be legal or regulatory challenges that people need to work through in order to legally offer the products or ensure that they’re meeting the right local regulations with regard to content or services when operating in that part of the world.”

Given these challenges, Hinton said that it took a global effort to launch the service in the country. This meant both Microsoft’s head office in cooperation with the company’s Asia and Philippines offices worked together to bring the service to the country.

“I would say that, like anything that happens at Microsoft, it’s always a global virtual team getting the work done, said Hinton. “We certainly had folks in our head office in the US doing a lot of the engineering work. And we had our teams located through Asia that all the work broadly on our business in Asia. And although they may live in different countries, they’re also working in other parts of the region at any point in time. We certainly also have a local team in the Philippines as well who help support this.

But I’d say the really helpful part of this process that we found most beneficial is that we opened the service up for testing, community testing, and so from memory, it was a very low cost to come in to help us test at the start. It was basically to help test that the payment instrument was actually processing payments and was working.”

Aside from explaining the challenges of the PC Game Pass launch in the Philippines, Hinton also shared other interesting insights on the Xbox playerbase in Asia. Read more about them in our full interview here:

Full Interview: Xbox Asia Business Director Jeremy Hinton on PC Game Pass’ anniversary in SEA