Phil Spencer, head of the gaming division of Microsoft, has quickly become a mouthpiece for Microsoft in a good way. His insistence on accessibility and a welcoming gaming environment has been welcomed by many. What hasn’t been so well-received is console fans criticizing the Xbox brand for a lack of powerful and attractive exclusive games. And with the impending launch of the Xbox Series X, the strategy that Microsoft takes with its console gaming brand is becoming ever-more important. And according to new statements, a part of that strategy looks to be focusing on more inclusive experiences and innovation, rather than exclusive games.
Speaking in an interview with Gamertag Radio, Spencer said that the future of Microsoft in the gaming space was predicated on their innovation, not just the strength of their exclusive library. The company wants to offer an entertainment platform that augments Windows, not competes with it. This approach is further augmented by reports that the new console could integrate with the likes of the Epic Games Store and Steam, offering support for some previously PC-exclusive titles.
“Obviously we built our strategy with Series X, we started with that in mind – we wanted to go build a gaming console that was going to be the absolute best that we could deliver on a television, and deliver unique capability to creators that they could use to go create the best games.”
Spencer also communicated that the future of Xbox, with the Series X and beyond, lies in part with their relationship to third-party developers. The Xbox division doesn’t want its attempts at innovation to alienate or hamstring development. “But you don’t want to do that to the exclusion of everybody else and you also want to do that hand-in-hand with developers because developers want to find the widest audience possible. And yes, there are always trade-offs.”
It will be very intriguing to see how this all plays out for the Xbox division of Microsoft. The Xbox One is the clear third-place finisher in the current console generation, having been overtaken in hardware sales by the Nintendo Switch in the last few months. One could definitely argue that the “trade-offs” Spencer is talking about might reference the Kinect. This ill-fated hardware accessory was shoehorned into many games and across two hardware generations, and many gamers absolutely hated it.
Going further, Phil Spencer iterated that Microsoft would be a little less forgiving and hands-off in 2020 and beyond saying, “I’m not gonna dictate to every third-party studio what they have to support, but what we see in today’s world is that gamers want to go and play games with their friends regardless of what device those friends are on, people want to have the largest selection of games open to them”