Phil Spencer: Game Pass Growth Means We Will Constantly be in the Mode of Acquiring More Studios - NewsWilliam D'Angelo , posted on 01 November 2020 / 1,276 Views
Head of Xbox Phil Spencer in an interview with GameReactor says that with the growth of Xbox Game Pass they are seeing he expects team Xbox will constantly be in the mode of acquiring new studios to expand the lineup of games in the subscription service.
"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," Spencer said. "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."
Spencer talked about the later years of the Xbox 360 and early years of the Xbox One and he felt the team didn't invest enough into the creative capabilities of their own studios. He says as head of first-party at the time he believed they were underinvesting. The growth seen in Xbox Game Studios in the last few years didn't happen overnight as it took time to get into the right position to find good partners.
"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."
Right now Microsoft is in the process of acquiring Bethesda parent company ZeniMax and he expects the deal to close in early 2021 after regulatory approval. Right now he can't sit down with Todd Howard and Robert Altman to plan the future of ZeniMax games as that would be illegal until the deal is finalized.
"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 studios 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."
The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S will launch worldwide on November 10.
A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel dedicated to gaming Let's Plays and tutorials. You can contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @TrunksWD.