Phil Spencer: Lack of AAA Exclusives in 2022 for Xbox Was a 'Disaster' - NewsWilliam D'Angelo , posted on 19 September 2023 / 3,303 Views
Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer in an email sent in May 2022 to a number of executives at Microsoft and Xbox discussed the big gap between AAA exclusives on Xbox and they need to build a plan so it doesn't happen again. The email and other documents were left unredacted in a newly published FTC document.
"With the news that Starfield is going to miss Holiday...still not a ton of clarity on the launch date of Redfall and Stalker 2 development impacted by the war in Ukraine I feel we are in a huge hole with our games lineup both for platform marketing/differentiation and our Game Pass content," reads the email from Spencer.
"We keep talking about a bit AAA a quarter in the service and it feels like we are likely to go through a gap of almost 16 months between big exclusive launches on our platform. Halo Infinite being our last on December 8, 2021. This is really a disaster situation for us given all we've invested in content across studios at our GP content fund. We need to learn from this and build a plan going forward.
"In terms of learning, I think we need to get much better at overall portfolio planning on our games with real honesty on dates. Doing this from memory, from summer 2021 through Dec '21 we had an amazing lineup of games with Flight Sim to console, Psychonauts 2, Age [of Empires] 4, Forza Horizon 5, and Halo [Infinite].
"There were good 3P [third-party] games in that timeframe as well like Back 4 Blood. We set a very high bar in 2021 on quality and pacing of content which was awesome to see. But to come off of that year with no big exclusives launching in 2022 is a portfolio planning miss that we can't afford. If we need to delay launches (understanding there is a financial impact of that) to create more regular beats for us we need to do that. We have to all understand that the situation we are in now is a failure of our planning and production execution."
Following the launches of Forza Horizon 5 and Halo Infinite in Holiday 2021 there were no big releases from Xbox in 2022, while this year the big exclusives includes Starfield and Forza Motorsport.
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 and taking over the hardware estimates in 2017. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel. You can contact the author on Twitter @TrunksWD.