The Xbox division has come under a lot of fire for the current state of their first parties. The floodgates opened after the cancellation of Scalebound, the third high profile cancellation from Microsoft this generation. People have started to wonder where the Xbox’s future lies in 2018 and beyond. Phil Spencer has confirmed that he and the Xbox division know of these concerns; he claims that the company’s focus has been on hardware recently and now they’re turning their sights onto first party games.
In an interview with Waypoint, Spencer had this to say about the situation:
When I started this job three years ago, hardware was a real focus for us because I thought we had more work to do there. Xbox One S shipped last year, the X is shipping this year, I love our hardware line. Xbox Live was something I wanted to focus, coming on Android, iOS, Windows PC because I really want people to play games on the place they want to go play.
Our first party is a critical part of that equation. Yesterday, I know people want to see what we’re investing in new.
We are investing in new things, we signed things just recently that I thought, ‘Hey, from a PR standpoint it would be really easy for me to put a trailer on screen’, but then I know the game is not coming for another two and half or three years, so I didn’t want to do that.
I understand some people would say, ‘Hey, that would give me confidence in the future of Xbox’…
This is a cheesy line, but I’ll just say, trust that this is important to us as a platform. From the top CEO of the company down, if you talked to Satya [Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO] he would say ‘I understand, we need to invest in content in the gaming space’.
That is important and we are going to invest. We have Sea of Thieves, Crackdown 3, State of Decay 2, Lucky’s Tale, Ori and the Will of the Wisps…But I know what you’re asking about. Big, triple A console games, I hear that and I’m committed to that. Today I wanted to talk about things that if you’re going to buy the console you will be able to play, but I’ll continue to work to deliver games. We did on hardware, we did on platform and [backward] compatibility and we will do this on first-party as well. It is critically important.
Perhaps the most interesting tidbit, is that it would’ve been good PR to announce some of these games early. Could that mean some of these titles are long awaited sequels? Microsoft owns quite a few franchises that people desperately want sequels for, so they’d have a lot of options to pick from if this was the case.
It’s clear that Spencer’s tenure so far at Xbox has been to shape the division into his vision; he most likely wasn’t happy with the Xbox One at launch and has been focusing on the Xbox One X since then, the console he would’ve launched had he been in power. One can only hope that this same vision and passion will come to new games in the coming years.