Hot take: Big, established, mainsteam IPs are key to Game Pass and Halo, TES, Fallout and Minecraft are underused

Opinion: Big, mainstream IPs are key to Game Pass and that’s why Xbox should go all-out with Halo, Elder Scrolls, Fallout and Minecraft

Even though it’s a very different industry, it’s actually really interesting to observe the competition within the Video Streaming industry and the different philosophies and strategies at play.

It’s no secret that the growth of Disney+ has been staggering and has far exceeded the expectations (with 230-260 million suscribers expected by 2024 compared to 60-90 million by the initial forecasts). The service attracted a lot of subscribers with its legendary Star Wars and Marvel franchises and notable reliance on nostalgia, super brands and methodical IP building.

Disney Investor Day 2020

Although it’s important to note that Disney+ was generously helped by Hotstar (India’s largest streaming platform) which features the most-watched cricket and soccer tournaments in the world.

Meanwhile, rival streaming platforms (Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Apple TV+…) have had a different approach, banking more on original content to draw in subscribers. Especially Netflix.

All of these approaches seem to be successful but I believe that popular IP, while not being the sole element to success (Netflix is the market leader by a fair margin after all), is decisive. Having read this opinion from 2020, I think it’s still relevant:

It’s impossible to say exactly how much of Disney+'s success has to do with its IP as opposed to its back-catalog and the quality of its original content – those things can’t be separated. But there are a couple of very strong reasons to believe that IP is particularly important to Disney+'s success.

(…) Popular IP means being able to create new content with dedicated viewership built right in. It also means having a back-catalog that means something to super-fans – the sorts of people who are likely to watch and rewatch the same films in a way that people who liked, say, Green Book are a lot less likely to do. The power of Disney’s IP intersects with and builds on the power of its large store of existing content and its ability to generate high-quality new content.

Disney+ promotional with an emphasize on five clear funnels of content

Of course video games are an entirely different industry (plus Game Pass is actually a different model in the way it doesn’t rely on exclusive content) and trying to make a comparison is not the really the point.

Also, Xbox and Bethesda are heavily investing in new IPs (like Starfield, Avowed, Redfall, Contraband, Everwild, Grounded…) which is great and exciting. Balance, variety and novelty are good.

Starfield, Bethesda’s first new IP in 25 years
Redfall from Arkane Studios
Grounded, an original take on the survival genre by Obsidian

Nonetheless, I think that Game Pass would also benefit from doubling down on the most recognized and beloved IPs in the portfolio. Minecraft, Halo, The Elder Scrolls, Fallout: those are probably the big four. Massive dedicated and built-in fan bases, incredible legacies.

In this regard, I feel that these IPs are somewhat “underused” (Minecraft for different reasons). Or at least should I say that there is so much untapped potential when you look at it and let your imagination run wild.

Even though I totally understand the reasons (resources and teams are finite + things take a lot of time). And again, I’m not a developer, just an enthusiast and a big fan of those franchises.

Here are some thoughts that run through my mind.


It may sound strange to say that the Halo IP is “underused” with a massive game right around the corner. Still, Halo is probably one of the best Sci-Fi universes ever made and, 20 years later, there are still so many stories to tell and worlds to explore.


I’m convinced that an epic action RPG (similarly to Mass Effect and KOTOR), if well executed, would do wonders for the franchise.

The period after the events of Halo 3 and the post-Covenant War conflicts (especially the Blooding Years) would offer a great setting : political intrigues and multiple factions facing each other (the Swords of Sanghelios, the remants of the Covenant, the ONI, the insurrectionists…). Also, remember how great #HUNTtheTRUTH was ?

Hunt the Truth, propaganda

Definitely a lot of work, high risk, but high reward.

(Credits: Halo 5 / 343 Industries)


Halo Landfall

It’s now more than 12 years that Halo ODST has been released and it was an amazing standalone with a unique atmosphere, a much more grounded, realistic take on the Human-Covenant War.

I definitely think that ODST should return. It doesn’t center around a superhuman figure but it’s rather all about the untold stories and the ugly side of war. It managed to stand out distinctly from the other games in the franchise.

Personally, I would love a new installment taking place during the climax of Halo 3 on the Ark as there are conveniently several plotholes.

But you could also imagine some tactical 3rd-person co-op shooter with ODSTs during the invasion of Earth by the Covenant. Like Rainbow Six Vegas or The Division. See this concept below. Again, there are a lot of interesting possibilities.


(Credits: Halo Mythos)

Finish the Fight

Halo 3 was epic but more than that, it was a phenomenon. Unlike Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2, it didn’t receive a remaster in 2017 (which is understandable as 343 Industries was busy working on Halo Infinite).

However, I hope that Halo 3 Anniversary will happen at some point. That game still hold a special place in many, many people’s hearts. Plus Halo 2 Anniversary was fantastic, stunning graphics, incredible Blur cutscenes, even the soundtrack got remixed. One of the best remasters ever made. Hopefully for the 20th anniversary in 2027 ?


Something more niche but, as a big fan of those games, I hope that they don’t abandon the Halo Wars franchise (actually the first attempt at expanding the franchise into a new genre).

Unfortunately Halo Wars 2 launched at the wrong moment (Game Pass wasn’t a thing, Xbox One was struggling, no Steam release…) but I would love to see Halo Wars 3 happen once Infinite gets the series back on track.

(Old concept art either for additional Halo Wars 2 content or a Halo Wars 3 pitch involving space battles. Credits: Brad Wright)

The Creative Assembly did some astounding work with Halo Wars 2 and this is a fantastic foundation to build upon (and Ensemble Studios as well on the first game).

Halo Wars 2 poster



Morrowind is an old game. Next year will mark the 20th anniversary of this iconic RPG. I guess that a remake would require a fair amount of work.

Although when you look at the huge success of Final Fantasy VII Remake (and also at the amount of hype it generated), I think this would ultimately be worth it.

I’m gonna be honest, I’ve never played Morrowind (#TeamFallout here). I know it’s a great game, judging by how positive people are about it. But the game looks so “dated” now that it prevents me from wanting to play it. Personally, I would love to experience it for the first time on console with next-gen graphics and the inevitable Quality of Life improvements that a remake would have.

The Elder Scrolls VI is certainly taking all the resources available (and Starfield even more) but I hope that there won’t be another gap of 10 or 15 years between TES VI and TES VII (though it would be unfair to not consider The Elder Scrolls Online). Still, a Morrowind remake by another passionated team would be a great way to soften the wait for the fans (and to leverage the franchise).


The Elder Scrolls universe has so much depth and such an extensive history that it would certainly fit well into a strategy game.

I believe that a partnership with The Creative Assembly to make a The Elder Scrolls: Total War game (or something closer to Battle for the Middle-Earth from EA or Age of Empires / Age of Mythology) could lead to amazing things and this would be a great expansion of the franchise.

Or even a grand strategy game or a 4X game. There are tons of cool ideas, even though it’s true that the RTS genre isn’t as big as before unfortunately.

The Elder Scrolls Online art



Fallout 5… Well, this one is definitely happening. The question is rather: when ? With Bethesda Game Studios being extremely busy on Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI, it’s not impossible that the next mainline Fallout may not arrive before several long years (2025 ? 2027 ? or even 2028 ? Who knows).

In an ideal world, Fallout 5 would already be in pre-production but it’s likely that there is just no team available to do it (and Bethesda Game Studios Austin, the team supporting Fallout 76, seems also to be helping on Starfield). Plus Obsidian and inXile are busy with their own projects too.

I still hope that Xbox and Bethesda will find a way to prevent such a long wait as Fallout 5 is a highly, highly anticipated title.


I believe that Fallout would benefit from having small spin-offs, standalones between the mainline releases. Big enough that you can get lost in it for hours, but not so huge that it feels daunting. See Far Harbor which felt like a condensed version of Fallout 4. Or Blood & Wine in The Witcher 3.

This would be a great occasion to explore some unexpected locations of the Fallout universe, like London, Anchorage, the Midwest or even Hawaii.


Truth is… the game was rigged from the start

Fallout: New Vegas is one of my favorite games ever. I consider it as a masterpiece, but an unfinished masterpiece. You could also argue that the engine didn’t age well.

I admit I don’t know how much work a remaster or a remake would require but I firmly believe that this game deserves it. Especially if you decided to include some of the cut content or even some brand new content, new locations, new quests, an improved gameplay, dynamic weather and storms… The potential is definitely here for something exceptional.

The Glowing Sea during a radstorm in Fallout 4

Nostalgia is a powerful emotion and New Vegas is considered as one of the best entries in the Fallout franchise. Now that Bethesda, Obsidian and Xbox form one family, it would be the perfect time to celebrate New Vegas in a big way.


Fallout Shelter surpassed this year the impressive number of 180 million players.

With a Fallout TV show being in the works at Amazon Prime Video, I think this would be smart to launch alongside the series some sort of Fallout Shelter 2 Online (an improved combination of Fallout Shelter + Fallout Shelter Online which is actually a different game that released in certain countries in Asia). For both consoles/PC and mobiles.

I could imagine exclusive bonuses to Game Pass suscribers or some customization, multiplayer and social aspects (as building, social interactions and creative options have proven to be very popular features in Fallout 76 with incredible bases and shelters created by the players).

A shelter in Fallout 76


Vault-Boy became a sort of mascot for Fallout and Bethesda and is also one of the most recognizable faces in video games nowadays. What if you made a game just for him, Vault-Girl and Dogmeat ? In a stylized world, maybe more kid friendly, with Protectrons, Mister Gusty, Eyebots, Super Mutants, Ghouls…

2 different art styles


Minecraft is actually in a different situation.

The franchise is very well managed: constant updates for Minecraft (especially with Caves & Cliffs coming in the coming weeks and The Wild update next year), a successful spin-off Minecraft Dungeons that released in 2020, Mojang Studios also tried something with Minecraft Earth even though it didn’t pay off and seems they may have 2 new projects in the works.

However, despite its mainstream aura onto the global stage, it doesn’t feel like Minecraft is playing a big role in Game Pass’ growth (at least, that’s my impression, I may be wrong).

I wonder if Xbox is planning in the future to tie a little more Minecraft with Game Pass and the ecosystem or not. The main game is supported on many platforms and that’s the right move. Same for Minecraft Dungeons. Although it ultimately feels like a odd situation where the biggest franchise in your portfolio (and maybe the biggest in the whole industry) isn’t leveraging much your subscription service or isn’t really associated with it. Personally I don’t care, I’m just enjoying games, but I still find the whole situation kind of bizarre.

I mean, the simple fact it took so long for Minecraft to join Game Pass for console (2019) and Game Pass for PC (2021) is just weird.

Anyway, regarding the games themselves, I think that some Minecraft x LEGO adventure game would be a cool crossover.

I’m just throwing some ideas that sound cool on the paper but obviously all of these things aren’t possible simply because the resources aren’t always here (especially without sacrifying new IPs or the diversity and I don’t want that).

Still, I think that Xbox should leverage more their most recognized IPs if they plan to achieve fast growth for Game Pass. Especially in a world where big, established and popular franchises are mostly what’s drawing people beyond the core audience.

In part because there is just so much content available:

Hollywood studio Warner Bros. launched a research project [in 2018] (…) As it ran tests with audiences, a counter-intuitive pattern began to emerge. When presented with a dizzying array of hundreds of new movies and TV shows to watch, viewers tended to retreat to the programs that were most familiar to them.

(I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the same with video games honestly)

That’s also why I think having some licenced games is important (like the upcoming Indiana Jones game by Machinegames and Bethesda).

This gives you a familiar face or a familiar name that everyone knows about, including the mainstream and the people who aren’t much into video games.

Old Game Pass promotional

Also why I believe that, if Xbox has the desire to acquire more, they should focus on popular IPs first (like they did with Minecraft, The Elder Scrolls, DOOM, Fallout… and probably Starfield long-term). IP is king.

But as I said, all these things are still early and games take time, so wait and see. Exciting years ahead in any case.

(Also made an other thread about the specific topic of exclusive content on Game Pass which I think is an interesting point for the future of the service)


Love your thread, love the energy. I completely agree, and I think Xbox has realized that but are still in the steps to further augment their production capabilities for existing large ip’s and acquire and create new blockbuster ip’s. I think we’ll start seeing these moves in the near-to-mid future as they achieve their other primary objectives such as getting the PC space and XCloud in proper shape.

1 Like

My man woke up today and chose violence . I agree with everything you said .


Agreed, content is king and Microsoft this gen needs to establish some IPs to strengthen gamepass. Also I know this is a hot topic here, but it does show you how leveraging licensed content can help gamepass. I’m intrigued to see how Indana Jones will work


Its absolutely crucial that this gen Microsoft establish franchises. Literally just came out of the 7 year long Xbox One era with just Sea of Thieves essentially. It needs to end this console cycle with a handful of established ones to move forward with.


Ori Xboxonex GIF by Xbox

I agree with the rest of the comment tho.


Why would it be a hot take? It’s perfect sense. It’s more a financial and mainstream appeal thing than quality and creative thing though. Yes, more established IP should absolutely make the service bigger, and I would want that, but I’d like more original and creative content regardless of the IP appeal. I should let MS be concerned with how best to grow the service, I would love if that can be achieved with mostly new and original IP somehow.

1 Like

I don’t disagree with the argument put forward. Content is king for any subscription service & big tentpoles are essential to attract more people.

But I will say that I’m exhausted just looking at the 5 million upcoming Marvel & Star Wars projects on Disney + :sweat_smile: I’ll be lucky if I watch a quarter of that lineup. It’s too much man. It just loses me after a certain point.

That’s the beauty of these services though. There’s so much stuff that you can ignore a whole bunch of it, only engage with the few things that catch your interest & still get your money’s worth.

1 Like

I have been tracking Disney Plus closely and it might not be a good example to use.

There is more to their growth than meets the eye. Suffice to say that rhe Fox acquisition has paid massive dividenda foe them.

They are the poster child of why counties like India are shaping some subscriber numbers like Disney Plus, and why it is not about original IP but it is ALL about sports.


Great thread and totally agree. MS needs games available nowhere else except through Xbox ecosystem. Some big tentpoles games very well known & acclaimed by everyone.

We all know know what MS has to do next

hqdefault téléchargement



So far Bethesda might be able to do that for them with Starfield and hopefully Redfall. However they def need to have at least 5 new well made IPs this gen if they want this gamepass future to take off


Disney Plus growth is not about

But moslty about this


Don’t disagree. Buying Sega for example would move the needle slightly.

Buying Take Two would break it off.

AFAIC Microsoft should be looking at more publishers.


Amazing thread.

Add Banjo and we should be golden when thinking about major names in gaming.

Now Wbgames and a Japanese publisher like Capcom/Sega would do absolute wonders for the service as well.


Ok good to know. I didn’t watch this closely so I wasn’t aware of this.

As an European, I admit I tend to associate Disney+ with Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar and classic Disney first.

The games will come. They take time. Way more time than putting a Camera In peoples faces and doing a bit of editing here and there. You can film a movie or series in half a year easily if you have a good schedule and you can have about 50 odd studios doing it. Not in a million years you’re making even AA games in 6 months


This. Video game production pipelines are largely inconsistent and unpredictable for a timescale. Technology limitations is a big part of this if not the biggest. Movies don’t have a limited render and data allocations, and their scalability is ridiculously easy and not even at the production level.

1 Like

Good points made all around. The one thing that came to mind was episodic gaming content involving one of these tentpole franchises.

But then I realized that this is what Halo Infinite might achieve. That every 6 months or a year there would be a sizable content update to help keep fans clamouring for more.

I totally agree about Minecraft being underutilized. I would have expected that by now there would have been a Minecraft platformer. With its own level editor, of course. This time it would be a true Xbox/Game Pass exclusive.

Before Gears did Gears Tactics I thought Halo was ripe for that XCOM formula. A tower defense game where you fight off the Flood seems to make a ton of sense to me. I really think that Microsoft should milk Halo just like Nintendo does with Mario. No one is sick of Mario because of the diversity of game types and I think Halo could do that too.

This is why I like the idea of Microsoft acquiring small or mid-size teams, open to creating titles using licensed properties, to create these branded projects that don’t require a AAA budget but are using AAA IPs and the turnaround time for such a game would be 18 to 24 months instead of 3 to 5 years.


Ice cold take all around haha. Really good post and agree with most points :fire:

Minecraft in particular isn’t used for GP growth really: not being exclusive in any capacity (not even perks or spin-offs), make it way less effective.

1 Like