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Will Microsoft be able to integrate cryptocurrency into Xbox?


Recently leaked documents from Microsoft from late 2023 revealed a plan to integrate crypto wallets into Xbox. The news has riled up the crypto community, which looks forward to its mainstream adoption.

The confidential documents, which were disclosed inadvertently due to FTC’s legal action against Microsoft, were first shared on the gaming forum ResetEra. It indicates the Xbox development roadmap in May 2022 included crypto wallet support.

The next-gen Xbox and its surrounding ecosystem, according to the document, would offer players various ways to spend money. This includes an in-game economy and a crypto wallet feature. The feature would allow players to trade their assets across different platforms in a secure way.

Another interesting thing to note is that the wallet will be an “Xbox/Microsoft solution”, rather than an “industry solution.” This insinuates that Microsoft itself may develop it in-house. Other options would be simply to opt for integration with other existing crypto wallets such as Coinbase or MetaMask. 

With blockchain gaming being a significant opportunity, it’s not a surprise that gaming leaders like Microsoft are eyeing development in this direction. Various breakthroughs are created each day with blockchain technology, such as players being able to use Ethereum in a casino.

Still, fans may have to wait for the next generation of Xbox control to be released, which likely will not happen until 2028. 

Remarks on the leak

Head of Xbox Phil Spencer, who acknowledged the leak, noted that plans may have evolved since then. Spencer said, “It is hard to see our team’s work shared in this way because so much has changed, and there’s so much to be excited about right now and in the future.”

According to Spencer, the leak happened due to FTC’s opposition to the $69 million Activision Blizzard acquisition. During the legal proceedings, Microsoft unintentionally included leaked documents within their submissions. 

Reports showed that the leaked documents revealed other confidential information. This includes key communications between Xbox executives regarding plans for a new disc-less Xbox Series X.

Other leaked plans include a gyro controller, and even a next-gen hybrid Xbox in 2028.

Still, despite the uncertainty, the crypto community received the news with optimism. The news has sparked speculations about the potential use of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin in the Xbox ecosystem. 

The cofounder of the Gemini cryptocurrency exchange Tyler Winklevoss joined in on the discussion. He remarked that the crypto ecosystem will benefit from the potential collaboration, given the size of the gaming industry. 

“Crypto is gamer money, and gaming is a bigger industry than Hollywood and the music industry combined,” Winklevoss said.

Xbox’s history with crypto and blockchain

As Microsoft sets its eyes on further development, its collaboration with blockchain technology and the crypto sector remains strong. In August last year, the enterprise announced a collaboration with Aptos Labs, the layer1 blockchain network Aptos (APT) developer. The partnership aims to further develop the capabilities of the web3 ecosystem.

Back in 2020, Xbox also collaborated with EY on blockchain implementation. This is due to problems in its legacy system, which accounts for securing and managing royalty processing. The system faces challenges such as lengthy processing times and efficiency issues. 

With EY, Microsoft implemented a transparent blockchain network. This allows publishers, creators, and asset owners to interact within the ecosystem. The solution addresses major pain points, such as royalty processing and operational hours. On top of it, it also provides near real-time access to transaction details. 

According to EY, smart contracts were also vital in encoding the intellectual property rights of game creators. With the decentralized ledger capacity, Xbox provided a more trusted system. This resulted in simplified contracts and settlement management. Creators can focus more on their craft with less emphasis on administrative tasks.

Luke Fewel, the general manager of global finance operations at Microsoft, delineated the project’s impact. He said, “By implementing a blockchain-based network and streamlined royalty processing, game publishers and Xbox benefit from a more trusted, transparent, and connected system from contract creation through to royalty settlements.”