Xbox Boss Phil Spencer Talks Activision, Exclusivity, AI, and More in New Interview Video

Published: February 28, 2023 2:09 PM /


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Today Microsoft released a new video featuring a rather extensive interview with Xbox gaming CEO Phil Spencer.

Spencer mentions that the focus for the Xbox team is currently on June's showcase. We also hear more about the proposed acquisition of Activision and Spencer believes that there is a lot of anticipation and excitement for it within the Xbox community. 

On the other hand, Spencer admits that it makes sense for the industry to ask questions about what the acquisition means for competition and consolidation. He's "very supportive" of thinking about the kind of remedies that can be put in place to make sure that healthy competition matters. He also added that he "cannot wait to get it done."

While people spend so much time talking about Call of Duty on PlayStation, Spencer clarifies that from the beginning the deal was never about that. Microsoft never considered pulling the franchise away from other platforms. 

The goal at Xbox is to build a gaming platform where the world's best creators can make games to reach gamers anywhere, whether they're playing on Microsoft's consoles, on PC, on smart TVs, or on their phones. They realized that they did not have capabilities on mobile. While it's a space that's foreign to Xbox, it's the largest gaming platform on the planet. 

As a consequence, the logic of the Activision Blizzard acquisition started from the goal to gain creative capabilities and users on mobile platforms. While it'll be great for people on Game Pass and Xbox, the real strategic angle was to become relevant on mobile, and Activision Blizzard King is the largest mobile publisher outside of China. 

Speaking of Call of Duty, Spencer mentions the agreements with Nintendo and Nvidia and makes the comparison with Minecraft, adding that obviously, you don't make the franchise bigger by taking it away from platforms.

At the moment, Microsoft has 58 games in its portfolio that are available on the PlayStation store. The plan is to keep providing the level of quality that PlayStation players expect, and the same goes for PC and Nintendo platforms. The goal is to make the best version of Call of Duty ever for every player on every platform. 

There won't be any exclusive content at all. Spencer brings up the example of the PlayStation-exclusive quest in Hogwarts Legend, and that's not the game Microsoft is trying to play. The same version of the game will be available on all platforms as it is for the Minecraft franchise. Spencer wants to make sure all players feel that they have a great experience on the platform they choose to play on. 

We hear that Microsoft wants to give Activision's teams as much creative freedom as possible to create amazing things. Different business models like Game Pass help both players and creators. 

Speaking of Bethesda, Spencer clarified that he never said that Starfield wouldn't be exclusive to Xbox. What he said is that exclusively would be considered on a case-by-case basis and games that are already active on other platforms wouldn't be pulled away. In fact, all content drops for Elder Scrolls Online arrive at the same time on all consoles. The same goes for Fallout 76

On the other hand, exclusive games are part of the console industry and everyone does it. Microsoft's competitors have a lot of exclusives themselves. That means that when new games are launched, there are certain games that will ship on Xbox and PC only. That being said, people playing more games across more devices is where the industry is going according to Spencer.

He loves creating consoles and wants that experience to be available forever. Hardware is very important but that doesn't mean that every piece of hardware needs to be completely closed or games need to be taken away from other players. That's not what Microsoft is doing.

Speaking of AI, Spencer the new tech will absolutely play a role in video games. AI always had. He's excited about the work some of the teams are doing. Creators are spending a lot of time with AI engineers thinking about how the tech can be an additive and positive force for the games that they're building. 

You can watch the full interview below.


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Author: | News Editor