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Phil Spencer on exclusivity, monetisation and game development

Njocky

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Aug 10, 2020
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Demonetize if old: https://www.gamereactor.eu/phil-spencer-on-exclusivity-monetisation-and-game-development/


Xbox Series Launch Titles

At this point in time, it's hard to imagine Xbox without Phil Spencer. After all, he has, in a few short years at the top, shaped the brand, the platform, in such a way that it's quite unrecognisable next to the Xbox One that Don Mattrick introduced in May 2013. It's equally hard not to give Spencer credit, regardless of one's perspective and platform allegiance, seeing as Xbox Game Pass is a runaway hit for consumers across the globe, xCloud is presenting a convenient and consumer-friendly cloud solution to players on Android (and perhaps soon iOS), and there's a renewed focus on software through a number of studio acquisitions.

Rosy words, sure, but credit where credit is due, Spencer and his global team has worked hard to turn the ship around in recent years, and through the launch of Xbox Series X, and Series S, as well as the plan to acquire Zenimax, his vision for the brand, is coming full circle.

But what about the future? Well, we recently had a chat with the man himself about first-party games, monetisation, development pipelines, and much, much more, and you can take a look at that interview below.

If you, however, fancy some reading, below is a slightly edited version of our interesting conversation, where we got to know more about his thoughts surrounding some of the more pressing topics on gamer's minds today.



Before the first round of purchasing studios - what made you get up one morning and say; "we need more studios, we need more first-party games"?

If I think back during the early Xbox One years and even late in the 360 years, at this time we as a company didn't invest enough in our creative capabilities with our studios, and it showed. Now, the thing with game production is that it takes a lot of time, so if you underinvest it actually doesn't show up next year or even in the next two years. It's maybe three, four, or five years down the road.

I had this feeling or belief that we were underinvesting and I was head of first-party, so I felt it directly. I wanted to invest more, and we weren't able to. So when I got into this job, I needed to put the business in a good space while getting the support of the company. And then we built a business model that prioritised investing in content knowing that we would have to invest early and wait a while for those investments to pay off.

But there wasn't kind of a "one morning." It was something that I felt, as I said through the late 360 and early Xbox One years, it just took us a little time to get into a position to find the right partners and get the support from the company. But I'm incredibly excited. Now with ZeniMax we're coming up on 23 first-party studios and an amazing line-up. So I'm feeling very good with the support we have.
Microsoft



Are you content with the current line-up now, or is there a chink in the armor somewhere? A certain genre, a certain type of studio that you feel is still missing?
If we look at what people are playing on Xbox, what Game Pass subscribers are playing, I think what is missing from our portfolio is casual content with a broad appeal. E-rated content (to use an ESRB rating) is not a strength for us. We obviously have Minecraft and we have some other franchises. But when I think about expanding the creative palette that our teams have, I think that is critically important.

Teams that can build new franchises, tell new stories, those are always sought after. That's why I'm excited about projects like Starfield and the next Compulsion game because I like teams that think about new creations. And frankly, as Game Pass continues to grow, we need to continue to feed that subscription. So, with the growth that we are seeing, I expect we will constantly be in this mode of bringing more creators into the fold.



You recently said that it no longer makes sense to release Xbox first-party games on Switch - has your stance on software on Xbox platforms (and Windows PC) changed over the years?

If I start at the highest level, I believe great games should be able to be played by as many people as possible. I believe that in my core. I love this art form of video games, the interactivity, and the community around it. Both the social discussions, the camaraderie that you and I might feel as we are doing a Destiny strike together, and so on. I love the fact that games can bridge political lines, geographical lines, socioeconomic lines, and religious lines. Online I'm just P3 playing on Xbox Live, you might be whatever you are, and I think that is an awesome, awesome thing about gaming. That is not an Xbox thing, that is true of our industry. So, when I think about games, I want games to be played by as many people as possible, that is part of our strategy at Xbox.

The question that we get then is sometimes, what about this specific closed platform? And that I really mean there is we're either kind of all in or not all in on one of these closed platforms. I don't think its healthy where for every first-party game that comes out I have to get the question, is that coming to Switch or is that coming to Switch, and it not because, I love Nintendo and our relationship with what we are doing, that want us to be all in or not, and there is this expectation from customers like there is now on PC, where people don't really question - there might be some timing things, on when certain things happen - but if we are shipping a first-party game it's coming to PC. If we are shipping a first-party game on PC it's coming to Steam and our own store. Like we built an expectation from our customers. That's my goal, and then there will be, as you said, maybe little anomalies every so often and because of relationships and certain developers that want to do certain things, but my goal is: make games as playable by as many people as possible so that this art form continues to grow. And I wanna be all in on the places where Xbox is, so a customer of those platforms can have an expectation that I'm gonna get to go play. And I feel good about the games that we are building, and I feel good about that on PC. You know if I rewind five years ago, I would say over and over, that we are committed to PC and then get a bunch of eye rolls, and rightfully so for we weren't doing much. But I think now when you look at what our standing is on Steam and Game Pass on PC, we have shown that our commitment over time has paid off. PC customers may or may not love what we do, but they know that when we are shipping things, we're gonna do our best effort on PC as well as on Xbox.



In terms of exclusivity, how do you view it in general? Aren't there certain perks or advantages for studios to work solely on one or two platforms, and providing value for said platforms?

In the short term, there is. But I think in the long term, that camaraderie very quickly turns into weaponising of exclusive games, of mine versus yours. And I think exclusive games for closed platforms are a marketing tool to drive adoption of those closed platforms. And do they work? There is data that says they do, and data that says they don't. Clearly, as you said, they are good at driving excitement. Let's take this holiday, obviously, PlayStation and Xbox are shipping new consoles. We are both going to ship as many consoles as we can, and I am going to predict that we are both going to sell every console we build in 2020. And if I had another exclusive game, all I could do would be to sell out more quickly, right.

The excitement for gaming is bigger than the excitement for exclusive games. Especially right now with Covid-19 and a high level of engagement in our business due to people being stuck at home and not physically socialising in the way they are used to. From an exclusivity standpoint, they are great marketing vehicles and they can lead to some great games. But if we take a higher-level view, is gaming better if more people get to play more of the great games in our ecosystem? I think that is true. And that is why we ship our game on Xbox, we ship our game on PC, and if you have an Android phone you can play our games too.

The fact that we sell our games on PC does undermine one of the value propositions in that it doesn't force somebody to go buy our console. Our high-level goal inside of our team, of how we measure ourselves, is how many people are playing on Xbox. And when we say 'playing on Xbox' it doesn't mean an Xbox console. It means somebody who is logging in and playing a part of our ecosystem, whether first-party or third-party. And it could be on an Android phone. It could be on a Switch. It could be on a PC. That's how we think about it.



So the Bethesda deal was monumental and took most of us by surprise. What do you hope to gain from this long-term, and I'm talking more broadly here than simply Bethesda titles making it to Game Pass on launch day?

First of all, I would like to say that we haven't acquired ZeniMax. We have announced our intention to acquire ZeniMax. It is going through regulatory approval and we don't see any issues there. We expect early in 2021 the deal will close. But I say that because I want people to know, I'm not sitting down with Todd Howard and Robert Altman and planning their future. Because I'm currently not allowed to do that, that would be illegal. Your question is completely inbound, but I get a lot of questions right now: "is this game exclusive? Is this game exclusive?" And right now, that is not my job in regards to ZeniMax. My job is not to sit down and go through their portfolio and dictate what happens.

In terms of what I want long term. I want those amazing studious to create the best games they ever created. That's when Todd and I sat down and had a discussion. Todd and I have known each other for years and years, and we talked about this partnership. We looked each other in the eyes and we said, 'okay, what are we really gonna do here?' And he said, 'I wanna build the best games that I've ever built and I want the support of Microsoft to be able to do that.' And I say the same thing about the studios at Arkane and id Software and Machine Games. I want them to do the most amazing work and support them in doing that.



Monetisation is becoming an increasingly important topic for consumers across the globe. With a renewed focus on strong first-party titles, is there a certain strategy you deploy for how these studios should handle monetisation?

We don't dictate at all the business model behind the games that are built, but I will say, I think that a healthy games industry, the more business models works for video games. So I think retail is an important part of video games, I mean I'm buying my games and I want that to continue to flourish. We've seen growth in subscriptions like Game Pass, free-to-play is obviously a huge business model for video games. I think there's other business models we could potentially bring into video games that could help, but the diversity of business models should be a strength for us as an industry. So for first-party, I would like us to kind of experiment with the different models, because I don't think we want to be beholden, as an industry, to one model to rule them all, if we were everything would be free-to-play, because free-to-play is clearly the biggest business model on the planet today, not even close. But I don't think we want one business model, I think we want gamers to have choice in how they engage and pay for the games that they're playing.



The same can be said for games with an inherent online focus, or even Live Service titles. Do you have a certain strategy as to how many projects at any given times are strictly single-player, or strictly multiplayer, or is it more fluid than that?

Yeah, it's totally up to each studio, and I know some people that, when they've looked at the model around Game Pass, have assumed that Game Pass is actually a better model, if there's more Games-as-a-Service games in the subscription. I actually argue the opposite and believe the opposite. The last thing I want in Game Pass is that there's one game that everybody is playing forever, that's not a gaming content subscription, that's a one-game subscription, that's WoW, right? So for us, having games in the subscription that have a beginning, middle, and end, and then they go on to play the next game, maybe those are single-player narrative-driven games, I just finished Tell Me Why, an amazing game from DontNod, those games can be really strong for us in the subscription. In many ways, they're actually better than one or two games that are soaking up all the engagement in the subscription. I want a long tail of a lot of games that people are playing, and I think the diversity of online multiplayer versus single-player, we have to support the diversity there, and that's my goal. If anything I'd like to see more single-player games from our first-party, just because that over time we've kind of grown organically to be more multiplayer-driven as an organisation.



Game Pass has become a fundamental part of Microsoft's identity going forward, and it's become a huge success on Android devices (through xCloud) and Windows 10 PC. Do you want to see it expand to Nintendo and PlayStation platforms? Is it "them" that is keeping the service from launching there, or are there any other challenges in regards to that?

I think for us it's all about priority, and reaching more players. So we went to PC first after Xbox, because there's just so many players there, globally, that don't own an Xbox, that we could go reach. We went to mobile next because there's a billion Android phones on the planet. It's significantly larger than any console player base. We still have iOS to go after, we will come to iOS at some point. We're still working on some of our technology on PC for larger screens in terms of streaming, and getting to iOS, and I think once we get through that, we look at what the other options are. There's smart TV's out there, there's Chromebooks out there, there's FireTV out there, there's a lot of discussions we would have, we would prioritize it based on where we would find the most new players, that we could naturally bring content to. I love the Switch, I love PlayStation, honestly, I think they've done an amazing job as being a part of this industry. I'm not sure that those are the next big set of users for us, but we could be open to those discussions.



In terms of consoles not being outpaced by PC development, are you planning for console life cycles to be shorter in future, or is there a value in having the same basic development pipeline for a long period of time?

It's a trade-off, and I think you hit it. Stable platforms for longer periods of time, means developers get more familiar and comfortable with engines and the technology. It's why we have the same core gaming platform across Series S and Series X, and frankly, we've moved that onto PC as well, so that developers now can look at more consistent development platforms across our devices. Because previously you built a Win32 game, if you were on PC you built something called an ERA game - so we're bringing those technologies together in something called GameCore that can help developers build more easily across broader platforms.

I don't think the development platform has to preclude underlying hardware from improving. We've seen that on PC. So, I think there's a slight difference between, "does your development platform grow and stabilise", and "will every individual piece of hardware underneath that platform also stabilize over years", in order for developers to get the most out of them. I think the software layer is more important.

I don't think we'll get to a world where we see console life cycles mimic what we see on say graphics cards, where it seems like every year there's something new that comes out. Because with graphics cards you're changing one component of a device that's in your home. Whereas a console tends to get installed into your rack, under your TV, and you just want it to work. You want it to be there, you want it to turn on. I think there will be a difference. Maybe the cycle will upgrade a little bit more than in previous years. But we are still supporting Xbox One. Frankly, we still have millions of people that log into Xbox Live on Xbox 360. We in the industry can get involved in this new, new, new, but we still have a lot of customers who are happy with their launch day Xbox One, and I want them to be happy for years to come.



What kind of lessons have you taken away from this year's "summer of announcements"? Has a year without E3, Gamescom, etc worked better than you thought?

It has worked better than we thought. Like going into it, everything starting in February and March, and looking at the summer, we had no idea, we hadn't trained in dealing with a global pandemic and what that was gonna mean. So I think when we look at the engagement numbers that we see, if we just go for the metrics standpoint, we feel pretty good about how the summer went with all the different announcements. There are always learnings, but I feel good with the reach that we had.

The thing I miss most is the gamer community coming together. And that is something that we haven't really replicated on any of the platforms yet. That is not a shot, that is just us as an industry. I'm on the board of the ESA who runs E3, and we talk about that. Sony, Nintendo, EA, Activision, they are all on the board as well, Ubisoft and Take 2, so we are all kind of thinking through these issues. That's the thing I miss.

I'm a comic book nut so I love Comic-Con, I love people going and experiencing the kind of physicality of what it is. It's not safe to do that now, so I'm not questioning the decision that was made. But I think we can do both. I think we can have strong digital platforms where we reach tens of millions if not hundreds of millions of viewers, but I also like that physical community, I think it's a healthy thing for our industry, and I like to see us continue to work in how we celebrate gaming together as fans of this art form. And that's an area I like us to see continue focusing on.

Oh, and one more thing...


Without going into too much detail, which first-party studio's currently unannounced game are you most excited for the public to see?

I'm gonna give you two if that is okay? One of them is Compulsion. When I first saw We Happy Few, there was an art style and a setting that I thought was really unique. It's a young studio and they are still growing and learning the craft of what they are as a team. But looking at what they're gonna do next, I love their ability to create new worlds and unique settings. That is always something that is fun. So without saying too much that is one of them.

The other one I would say is The Initiative. Which is our studio in Santa Monica. I've played what they are doing next. Just the talent we have been able to bring into that studio led by Darryl Gallagher is amazing, especially when you bring such an amazing group of creators together, and create such a culture that Darryl is working to create there.

I'm incredibly excited both to be able to form a new studio, to attract the talent we have, and the game that they are working on will be fun to get to announce.
 
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More Acquisitions:

And frankly, as Game Pass continues to grow, we need to continue to feed that subscription. So, with the growth that we are seeing, I expect we will constantly be in this mode of bringing more creators into the fold.

Bethesda exclusivity:

First of all, I would like to say that we haven't acquired ZeniMax. We have announced our intention to acquire ZeniMax. It is going through regulatory approval and we don't see any issues there. We expect early in 2021 the deal will close. But I say that because I want people to know, I'm not sitting down with Todd Howard and Robert Altman and planning their future. Because I'm currently not allowed to do that, that would be illegal. Your question is completely inbound, but I get a lot of questions right now: "is this game exclusive? Is this game exclusive?" And right now, that is not my job in regards to ZeniMax. My job is not to sit down and go through their portfolio and dictate what happens.

Monetisation:

We don't dictate at all the business model behind the games that are built, but I will say, I think that a healthy games industry, the more business models works for video games. So I think retail is an important part of video games, I mean I'm buying my games and I want that to continue to flourish. We've seen growth in subscriptions like Game Pass, free-to-play is obviously a huge business model for video games. I think there's other business models we could potentially bring into video games that could help, but the diversity of business models should be a strength for us as an industry. So for first-party, I would like us to kind of experiment with the different models, because I don't think we want to be beholden, as an industry, to one model to rule them all, if we were everything would be free-to-play, because free-to-play is clearly the biggest business model on the planet today, not even close. But I don't think we want one business model, I think we want gamers to have choice in how they engage and pay for the games that they're playing.

Investing in first party games:

I had this feeling or belief that we were underinvesting and I was head of first-party, so I felt it directly. I wanted to invest more, and we weren't able to. So when I got into this job, I needed to put the business in a good space while getting the support of the company. And then we built a business model that prioritised investing in content knowing that we would have to invest early and wait a while for those investments to pay off.

First party excitement:

I'm gonna give you two if that is okay? One of them is Compulsion. When I first saw We Happy Few, there was an art style and a setting that I thought was really unique. It's a young studio and they are still growing and learning the craft of what they are as a team. But looking at what they're gonna do next, I love their ability to create new worlds and unique settings. That is always something that is fun. So without saying too much that is one of them.

The other one I would say is The Initiative. Which is our studio in Santa Monica. I've played what they are doing next. Just the talent we have been able to bring into that studio led by Darryl Gallagher is amazing, especially when you bring such an amazing group of creators together, and create such a culture that Darryl is working to create there.

 

quest

Not Banned from OT
Jul 17, 2004
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Some people going to hate this interview phil shitting on GAAS narrative for gamepass lol.

" I actually argue the opposite and believe the opposite. The last thing I want in Game Pass is that there's one game that everybody is playing forever, that's not a gaming content subscription, that's a one-game subscription, that's WoW, right? So for us, having games in the subscription that have a beginning, middle, and end, and then they go on to play the next game, maybe those are single-player narrative-driven games, I just finished Tell Me Why, an amazing game from DontNod, those games can be really strong for us in the subscription. In many ways, they're actually better than one or two games that are soaking up all the engagement in the subscription"
 

Jagz

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Feb 13, 2018
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"but if we are shipping a first-party game it's coming to PC. If we are shipping a first-party game on PC it's coming to Steam and our own store."

Hell yeah. I knew PC-Xbox games were coming to Steam day and date, but it's always good to hear that confirmation from Phil.
 

REDRZA MWS

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Screw the haters, MS has evolved beyond just a set too box (I’ll ALWAYS be a console gamer first). That’s why I laugh when I read PlayStation fanboys talk about “console sales). MS has completely trumped Aony in install base with PC alone. Also, do NOT get this twisted, I LOVE my PlayStation’s. Every PS released I’ve got DAY 1. Have two PS5’s on pre order. All this negativity is really depressing. Even if year 1 is cross gen games, or upgrade patches, I’m FINE with that. The Zen 2 CPU’s and SSD’s alone are a major major upgrade. Cant wait to play all my digital games day 1 on those speedy zen2’s and rdna 2 gpu’s. With the SSD’s things will load fast and be SNAPPY. I can’t wait for both machines.
 

Sethbacca

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Jun 20, 2013
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Not really at all people can play on xbox. PC or cloud most people possible. Just doesn't include giving Sony 30% and losing money.

Then by definition you don't believe in making the game available to as many people as possible. He should just say that their games will be playable anywhere XBox is is and stick to that instead of talking out both sides of his ass.
 

martino

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Apr 25, 2013
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Some people going to hate this interview phil shitting on GAAS narrative for gamepass lol.

" I actually argue the opposite and believe the opposite. The last thing I want in Game Pass is that there's one game that everybody is playing forever, that's not a gaming content subscription, that's a one-game subscription, that's WoW, right? So for us, having games in the subscription that have a beginning, middle, and end, and then they go on to play the next game, maybe those are single-player narrative-driven games, I just finished Tell Me Why, an amazing game from DontNod, those games can be really strong for us in the subscription. In many ways, they're actually better than one or two games that are soaking up all the engagement in the subscription"
you don't need the contentf to be gaas when accessing to it is the service
and since you have option to get that access everybody win.
 
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Away with the fairies
I'm not sitting down with Todd Howard and Robert Altman and planning their future. Because I'm currently not allowed to do that, that would be illegal.
And right now, that is not my job in regards to ZeniMax. My job is not to sit down and go through their portfolio and dictate what happens.
That's when Todd and I sat down and had a discussion. Todd and I have known each other for years and years, and we talked about this partnership. We looked each other in the eyes and we said, 'okay, what are we really gonna do here?

I want to believe Spencer, i really do. I just find him so hard to trust. When he drops shit like this as well, even if it's an innocent mistake, it just jars me mentally.
 

FunkMiller

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“Our high-level goal inside of our team, of how we measure ourselves, is how many people are playing on Xbox. And when we say 'playing on Xbox' it doesn't mean an Xbox console. It means somebody who is logging in and playing a part of our ecosystem, whether first-party or third-party. And it could be on an Android phone. It could be on a Switch. It could be on a PC. That's how we think about it.”

I do wish they’d give the whole eco system a different name, because this philosophy clearly shafts actual console hardware sales.
 

FunkMiller

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"We believe in exclusives, but also that the most people should be playing the game as possible" - what a non answer that was.

If Bethesda games were definitely never coming to PlayStation, he’d say it. No equivocation.

I still think they haven’t made up their minds yet, and won’t do until hardware and software sales for this gen are established... which makes perfect and correct business sense.
 
Apr 19, 2019
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Away with the fairies
You do see there's a difference between them talking about long term company goals and him mandating them to shift developments to certain platforms right?
He said sitting down with Todd would be illegal, then sat down with Todd.

Instead of saying "the deal will be finalised in January, and when it is, do we have some exciting news to share". But instead he waffles on, presupposing that the reader/listener/viewer has an idea of how corporations and business partnerships work.

Just tell me about the goddamn games. Make me feel good as an xbox fan. Make me look forward to something beyond the launch droubt.

Sorry for the thread derail, it wasn't my intention. I just really, really dislike 'corporate' xbox, when it has failed longer than 'good guy xbox' succeeded.
 
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Sethbacca

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If Bethesda games were definitely never coming to PlayStation, he’d say it. No equivocation.

I still think they haven’t made up their minds yet, and won’t do until hardware and software sales for this gen are established... which makes perfect and correct business sense.

I don't disagree. I mean, as someone who has a gaming PC but is a console primary player I'll play Fallout 5 or whatever when it comes out. They're actually shooting themselves in the foot and will get less money out of me buy going Xclusive though. I'll buy a single month of gamepass for PC and run through it instead of giving them $60($70?) for a new disc and the DLC I usually buy on top of that.
 
Apr 19, 2019
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Away with the fairies
If Bethesda games were definitely never coming to PlayStation, he’d say it. No equivocation.

I still think they haven’t made up their minds yet, and won’t do until hardware and software sales for this gen are established... which makes perfect and correct business sense.
Bethesda games are coming to Playstation. PS fans will be bank-rolling gamepass.
 

Bergoglio

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I love the Switch, I love PlayStation, honestly, I think they've done an amazing job as being a part of this industry. I'm not sure that those are the next big set of users for us, but we could be open to those discussions.

How to say goodbye to the PlayStation community around the world with Bethesda titles.
 

Andodalf

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He said sitting down with Todd would be illegal, then sat down with Todd.

Instead of saying "the deal will be finalised in January, and when it is, do we have some exciting news to share". But instead he waffles on, presupposing that the reader/listener/viewer has an idea of how corporations and business partnerships work.

Just tell me about the goddamn games. Make me feel good as an xbox fan. Make me look forward to something beyond the launch droubt.

Sorry for the thread derail, it wasn't my intention. I just really, really dislike 'corporate' xbox, when it has failed longer than 'good guy xbox' succeeded.


He never said he couldn’t sit down with Todd. He said he couldn’t sit down and plan their future, ie, tell them what platforms to make their games for right now
 

martino

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If Bethesda games were definitely never coming to PlayStation, he’d say it. No equivocation.

I still think they haven’t made up their minds yet, and won’t do until hardware and software sales for this gen are established... which makes perfect and correct business sense.
He is saying he can't say what will happen when the deal is not sealed
SO impossble to deduce anything
 
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Gavon West

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Still vague on if zenimax games will be exclusive or not and , more studio acquisitions for microsoft to run into the ground and eventually lay off. What a future for this industry.
He wasnt vague. He said he cant dictate what Bethesda do with their studios because the deal wont be final until early next year. But he's also quite clear that the only way Sony or Nintendo see any games from Bethesda in the future is if they are willing to put GP on their systems - which we all know wont happen. He's quite clear in fact.
 
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The same can be said for games with an inherent online focus, or even Live Service titles. Do you have a certain strategy as to how many projects at any given times are strictly single-player, or strictly multiplayer, or is it more fluid than that?
Yeah, it's totally up to each studio, and I know some people that, when they've looked at the model around Game Pass, have assumed that Game Pass is actually a better model, if there's more Games-as-a-Service games in the subscription. I actually argue the opposite and believe the opposite. The last thing I want in Game Pass is that there's one game that everybody is playing forever, that's not a gaming content subscription, that's a one-game subscription, that's WoW, right? So for us, having games in the subscription that have a beginning, middle, and end, and then they go on to play the next game, maybe those are single-player narrative-driven games, I just finished Tell Me Why, an amazing game from DontNod, those games can be really strong for us in the subscription. In many ways, they're actually better than one or two games that are soaking up all the engagement in the subscription. I want a long tail of a lot of games that people are playing, and I think the diversity of online multiplayer versus single-player, we have to support the diversity there, and that's my goal. If anything I'd like to see more single-player games from our first-party, just because that over time we've kind of grown organically to be more multiplayer-driven as an organisation.

This was a concern of mine. MS seeing their userbase drop significantly and reacting by carving a niche (GaaS/online multiplayer/subscription services) and try to monetize this on several platforms. Playstation is known for their diverse lineup and I'm glad MS is not shying away from going in that direction.

Along with his stance on E rated games it seems MS is trying to compete with Sony more than they're leading on. Which is good for everyone.
 

Dabaus

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He wasnt vague. He said he cant dictate what Bethesda do with their studios because the deal wont be final until early next year. But he's also quite clear that the only way Sony or Nintendo see any games from Bethesda in the future is if they are willing to put GP on their systems - which we all know wont happen. He's quite clear in fact.

He is not clear.
 
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He never said he couldn’t sit down with Todd. He said he couldn’t sit down and plan their future, ie, tell them what platforms to make their games for right now
Yet then sat down with him and discussed how the portfolio would move forward. Needless corporate waffle.

I give Spencer the benefit of the doubt because the One X, Elite pad and Gamepass are stonkingly good. The rest though, needs some work


He wasnt vague. He said he cant dictate what Bethesda do with their studios because the deal wont be final until early next year. But he's also quite clear that the only way Sony or Nintendo see any games from Bethesda in the future is if they are willing to put GP on their systems - which we all know wont happen. He's quite clear in fact.


Bethesda games will end up on Sony and Nintendo and neither will take GP
 

Gavon West

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Yet then sat down with him and discussed how the portfolio would move forward. Needless corporate waffle.

I give Spencer the benefit of the doubt because the One X, Elite pad and Gamepass are stonkingly good. The rest though, needs some work





Bethesda games will end up on Sony and Nintendo and neither will take GP
I'll take that bet. Once the deal is sealed next year, I can guarantee Sony wont see squat from the deal other than the two they paid for. Elders Scroll, Doom, Starfield etc, will all be exclusive to Xbox and GP. Nintendo - maybe. I can assure you Sony wont.
 
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I'll take that bet. Once the deal is sealed next year, I can guarantee Sony wont see squat from the deal other than the two they paid for. Elders Scroll, Doom, Starfield etc, will all be exclusive to Xbox and GP. Nintendo - maybe. I can assure you Sony wont.
It's a bet then.

Microsoft wouldn't throw away a shit load of revenue over console wars. It would be the smarter decision to put the games on PS5, take a chunk of the profit to pay for more games on gamepass.

Want to buy TES6 for £70? Buy a ps5, want it for free? Get an xbox.

Like you say, we will see. It's fun speculation for now.
 
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Bladed Thesis

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If Bethesda games were definitely never coming to PlayStation, he’d say it. No equivocation.

I still think they haven’t made up their minds yet, and won’t do until hardware and software sales for this gen are established... which makes perfect and correct business sense.
The exact opposite. Though there is a purchase agreement, it would be illegal for them to talk about future products release schedules and systems before the purchase is finalized.
 

Andodalf

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It's a bet then.

Microsoft wouldn't throw away a shit load of revenue over console wars. It would be the smarter decision to put the games on PS5, take a chunk of the profit to pay for more games on gamepass.

Want to buy TES6 for £70? Buy a ps5, want it for free? Get an xbox.

Like you say, we will see. It's fun speculation for now.

Why would this be true for TES and not Halo, Gears, Forza, Fable and so on?
 

Hix

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It's a bet then.

Microsoft wouldn't throw away a shit load of revenue over console wars. It would be the smarter decision to put the games on PS5, take a chunk of the profit to pay for more games on gamepass.

Want to buy TES6 for £70? Buy a ps5, want it for free? Get an xbox.

Like you say, we will see. It's fun speculation for now.

This same argument would apply to any first party exclusive, for any system, including Xbox's other IPs.

It's been said time and time again these games will be exclusive. Your theory that Microsoft spent 7.5 billion for a Game Pass deal is ridiculous, especially when they got such a deal with EA Play for much, much less.

The only reason MS spent this money was to make Zenimax IPs exclusive. It's not even an argument anymore.
 

FunkMiller

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He is saying he can't say what will happen when the deal is not sealed
SO impossble to deduce anything

I think you're conflating two distinct elements to the conversation, to be honest with you. He can't go into details about the way the two specific companies will be working together, but nothing is stopping him making a general remark about how Microsoft owned studio games will be exclusive or not.

Also, it's extremely SMART not to rule out Bethesda games on Playstaion, because it makes business sense not to at this stage. Spencer gets a lot of flak about what he says a lot of the time, but keeping things nice and open, for future consideration is the right play here. He doesn't know how the landscape will lie in the next few years.
 

ChuckeRearmed

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If we look at what people are playing on Xbox, what Game Pass subscribers are playing, I think what is missing from our portfolio is casual content with a broad appeal. E-rated content (to use an ESRB rating) is not a strength for us. We obviously have Minecraft and we have some other franchises. But when I think about expanding the creative palette that our teams have, I think that is critically important.
Deal with Disney would be nice.

Also all the talk about PC, store, Steam gives the impression that MS will buy Steam eventually.
 
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Why would this be true for TES and not Halo, Gears, Forza, Fable and so on?
Good question. I believe because Gears, Forza, Halo, Fable are known to be exclusives. Letting them go to another console, diminishes the 'value' of that product. If Halo can be played on any console, it becomes less special, because it used to be a 'rare' (only on one console) product.

The opposite is true with TES. The value proposition is; "well, you can pay full price for it on our competitor console, who make you pay full price, but buy gamepass and you can have it for free!".

See, the big criticism of GP is that free games = shit, because we are all made to believe that something that is more expensive is better (the apple model), and that getting anything for free or cheap, means that the product is shit or cheap. Having games like TES on 2 platforms (especially when the other platform has almost double the customers) means that the game will still look valuable - it being sold for £70 - while adding value to gamepass, because you're getting the game for 'free' from MS.

I base that on thoughts i've pulled from my arse.
 

Danjin44

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This same argument would apply to any first party exclusive, for any system, including Xbox's other IPs.

It's been said time and time again these games will be exclusive. Your theory that Microsoft spent 7.5 billion for a Game Pass deal is ridiculous, especially when they got such a deal with EA Play for much, much less.

The only reason MS spent this money was to make Zenimax IPs exclusive. It's not even an argument anymore.
It was never an argument, always a discussion.

I see your theory and raise you Minecraft.
 

ChuckeRearmed

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If Bethesda games were definitely never coming to PlayStation, he’d say it. No equivocation.

I still think they haven’t made up their minds yet, and won’t do until hardware and software sales for this gen are established... which makes perfect and correct business sense.
We'll see on E3 at least. Before the deal is done and before the sales start they won't tell anything and will provide only vague statements. That is obvious.
 
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Hix

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It was never an argument, always a discussion.

I see your theory and raise you Minecraft.

I see your Minecraft and raise you Jeremy Hinton, head of Xbox Asia;


"Minecraft" is a little special case, and I think it should be considered separately from the platform called Xbox. The idea is that "Minecraft" is itself a platform. It's also used in educational institutions, and by the time we acquired Mojang, it was already on various platforms. "Minecraft" is a unique platform, and it is a sample of how to create a community, and in the TGS presentation, we showed a video focusing on the "Minecraft" community. Xbox has a slightly different idea from "Minecraft". Since Game Streaming and Game Pass are already compatible with mobiles and PCs, I feel that there is not much need to support other devices.

I love that last little sentence there too. So very final.
 
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Gavon West

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It's a bet then.

Microsoft wouldn't throw away a shit load of revenue over console wars. It would be the smarter decision to put the games on PS5, take a chunk of the profit to pay for more games on gamepass.

Want to buy TES6 for £70? Buy a ps5, want it for free? Get an xbox.

Like you say, we will see. It's fun speculation for now.
People keep coming back to this short-term perspective when it comes to this acquistion. Phil already said they can make the deal work without leaning on Sony's fanbase for it. They literally have consoles, PC, Steam and Android devices with potential GP sticks in the near future. This isnt a short term, hurry-up-and-make-the-money-back-as-soon-as-possible investment. Its $7.5 billion dollars. This is long term. They lose money and subs by giving their games to Sony without GamePass. What you're suggesting isnt going to happen. Read the interview... Seriously.
 

ChuckeRearmed

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Microsoft wouldn't throw away a shit load of revenue over console wars. It would be the smarter decision to put the games on PS5, take a chunk of the profit to pay for more games on gamepass.Want to buy TES6 for £70? Buy a ps5, want it for free? Get an xbox.
The goal is to bring more GP subscribers. You won't get them by selling the games on PS. In fact - as you can see - a lot of PS owners still believe that games will come to PS eventually so they keep their PS. And the best way to make people join GP is not to give the games to PS. That's how you do it - some of the people will buy GP subscription due to that.

Long term subscribers will generate more profit. Not to mention - there is PC, so unlike Netflix there is an additional revenue stream anyway.
 
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