Phil Spencer talks about the future of the Xbox platform and teases new hardware
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Phil Spencer talks about the future of the Xbox platform and teases new hardware

Translation: machine translated

The CEO of Microsoft Gaming, Phil Spencer, reveals exciting information about the current status and future of the Xbox business in an interview.

Microsoft delivered one of the best gaming showcases in the company's history on Sunday. The company presented a damn strong line-up for consoles, PC and Game Pass. And this was sorely needed. Because in recent months, the company has mainly attracted attention with negative headlines due to studio closures and Playstation porting.

In an interview with Ryan McCaffrey from IGN, the CEO is now available to answer questions. Among other things, Spencer talks about Microsoft's multiplatform strategy, the recent studio closures and a possible Xbox Handeld.

More Xbox games on Playstation and Nintendo platforms

One of the games presented at the showcase was the "Doom" prequel "The Dark Ages". Aside from the phenomenal visuals, the announcement of the platforms also caused discussion in the gaming world. The Xbox game is also to be released on Playstation 5.

Spencer comments on the decision: "Doom is a special case. The games are available on so many platforms. I'm sure the game is running on a lawnmower somewhere". With this joking remark, the Xbox boss is referring to the "It Runs Doom" meme. Spencer continues: "It's a franchise that everyone should play. The development team themselves have said that they want to release the game on all platforms. [...] It's as simple as that".

Spencer has heard the concerns of the Xbox community. Many fans are wondering why they should invest in the Xbox ecosystem at all when many games are being released on other platforms anyway.

However, Spencer measures the value of being on Xbox differently: "People ask me: 'What does it mean to be an Xbox owner? With Xbox, you get all the games we showed [at the showcase] Day One in Game Pass. You get the game on PC and on consoles. And we'll make sure you can play the games and have access to them in the future." With the last statement, Spencer is hinting at the newly formed team at Microsoft that takes care of game preservation and forward compatibility.

In the same breath, the CEO confirmed that we should expect more formerly exclusive Xbox games on other consoles: "You will see even more Xbox games on other platforms. This will benefit the franchises and the players".

The studio closures were "tough, but necessary"

McCaffrey also asks Spencer about the recent studio closures. As a reminder, Xbox announced in May that it would be closing Bethesda studios Tango Gameworks, Arkane Austin, Alpha Dog Studios and Roundhouse Studios.

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The closure of Tango Gameworks in particular has shocked the Xbox community - after all, the studio's latest game, "Hi-Fi Rush", was hailed as a "great success" by critics and Microsoft alike.

Spencer skilfully avoids the question of the specific reasons for the closure: "Studio closures are tough. For the individuals and for the team. I haven't commented publicly yet because I'm focussing on the teams affected". Spencer continues: "At the end of the day, I have to run a sustainable business within the company, we have to grow. [...] Sometimes I have to make tough decisions. They are necessary to grow our business and to deliver shows like we just did."

Changes following the Activision-Blizzard takeover

When asked whether Microsoft's gaming division has changed as a result of the 70 billion dollar takeover of Activision Blizzard, Spencer said: "Our CEO Satya Nadella still gives us a lot of freedom in terms of how we want to organise our business". Not much has changed. His team has always challenged itself to do things differently and take risks anyway.

For example, with the introduction of Game Pass or the decision to also publish Xbox games on PC. According to Spencer, these risks have paid off: "Today we have more console gamers than we have ever had in the history of Xbox". According to Spencer, the expensive acquisition will only ensure that Microsoft's gaming division has to be even more innovative, for example in the area of cloud gaming.

With the Activision-Blizzard-King takeover, Microsoft's gaming division has grown considerably.
With the Activision-Blizzard-King takeover, Microsoft's gaming division has grown considerably.
Source: Microsoft

According to Spencer, the acquisition has had a positive impact on the platform's game catalogue: "We used to only have four games on Xbox: 'Fable', 'Forza', 'Gears' and 'Halo'. We always released the same games every four years. Now we have an exceptional portfolio with many talented teams. [...] I have a bigger responsibility". Spencer continues: "We need to continue to take risks as a collective [to release innovative games like 'Hellblade 2' and 'South of Midnight']. This will drive us in the future".

An Xbox handheld coming soon?

In the run-up to Microsoft's Xbox Game Showcase, rumours were circulating about the presentation of a new Xbox handheld. However, this was not unveiled at the showcase. Instead, there were only new colour and storage variants of the Xbox Series X and S:

McCaffrey suggests that a mobile console would fit in perfectly with Microsoft's vision - after all, the company wants to make its games available on as many screens as possible. To which Spencer replies: "I also think we should have a handheld".

More Spencer teases: "The future of Xbox hardware is fantastic. I'm excited about the work our hardware team is doing, with different form factors and different ways to play." However, the Xbox Showcase was not the right time to announce anything: "[The showcase] was about games. We'll find time to talk more about the hardware".

McAfferey wants to know whether a hypothetical Xbox handheld would be "just" a streaming handheld like the Playstation Portal or whether the hardware could also be used to play games locally. Spencer sidesteps the question and says that he is a big fan of the ROG Ally, the Steam Deck and the Legion Go. He adds: "I think the ability to play games locally is really important."

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My love of video games was unleashed at the tender age of five by the original Gameboy. Over the years, it's grown in leaps and bounds.

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