With the Xbox One not exactly wooing hardcore gamers, Microsoft has already started a campaign to show gamers Microsoft is committed to being more than just a way of enhancing your TV experience. Phil Spencer and Don Mattrick spoke with Official Xbox Magazine UK about the development of first-party titles for the upcoming console. Microsoft’s strategy is a big one, and while it looks mainly TV focused, they are assuring their stakeholders, developers and gamers alike that they have money and time set aside for their next console.
Both were a lot more candid about their experience of doing a live reveal and what they were most concerned about. “We ran through our script and counted the number of exclusives and looked at the amount of money that we’re spending and the deals that we have.” This included “exclusive Windows” titles and things that were meant to create a good fixture on different demographics for the upcoming console generation. Mattrick himself believes after the reveal that most of the press has been ” under-indexing” what their console could truly bring to the next generation.
Microsoft admitted that while the Xbox One reveal was light on games, their E3 presentation would be focused on what makes good consoles great, which is exclusives. They also made sure to note during their reveal that they had a good amount of exclusives ready to go. 15 exclusive games in the first year, and this includes 8 original IPs from different developers, such as Remedy’s Quantum Break and Forza 5. The two Microsoft executives even noted big core studios such as ” 343 Studios, Lionhead and Turn 10 have all seen significant appointments”, and will all be hopefully bringing games to the console.
They also talked frankly about the importance of new blood and new game developers, adding that their developers are “really lighting up with the opportunity to build games that can live as full screen immersive experiences.” This could be a hint at developers using the teased IllumiRoom, shown earlier this month. They also added about the idea of cross-platform integration with other Microsoft devices such as “the idea of building device experiences that live in the SmartGlass world that connect to what’s on the screen. The ability to take your mobile away with you and continue to engage on it, engage with the game. The opportunities today – more people are playing games today than, I think, ever before.” Definitely exciting if more developers choose to support Microsoft the tablet and phone OS.
Honestly, I think Microsoft is definitely moving towards bringing on larger developers rather than indie developers, as they see the biggest money there. It is true they can bring in a lot of green, but unless those large developers are in locked in exclusive contracts, they could easily go and develop for Sony in a heartbeat. However, companies such as the previously mentioned 343, Lionhead and Remedy are comfortable with working for Xbox, due to a continued track record of sustainable and financially secure work environments and profitable titles. It’s a win-win from both sides, but when indie developers such as Jonathan Blow begin talking more about Microsoft and their developer interactions, many will be turned off from adding to the Xbox Live Indie community and new low-cost IP’s.
With all that speculation, I think I will leave the last word with Mr. Mattrick what he wants the next Xbox to be all about: “We want to be about serious fun.”