Microsoft: Exclusives have to have impact

"It's about quality and impact, not number of releases in a year," says Xbox VP

In a recent interview Phil Spencer, corporate vice president of Microsoft Studios, explained the company's strategy when it came to console exclusives.

"It's about quality and impact, not number of releases in a year," he said.

"Creating core IP, as many first-and third-parties have seen over the years, isn't an easy thing. I went through the process of creating Gears with Epic and I know the sweat, time, and effort that went into it."

Speaking to GameInformer, Spencer also mentioned new exclusives with new partners.

"So it will continue to be something that we focus on with new partners like Crytek and new people that aren't announced yet. We do think that it's fundamental that core gamers look at 360 as the place they want to play games."

He also stated that, unlike Sony, Microsoft is not planning a series of remastered releases.

"They've done a great job at selling old franchises with HD remakes," he told the magazine, going to to say that despite the success of Halo: Anniversary, Microsoft did not want to sell gamers something they'd already played.

Friday's financial results showed that Microsoft sold 8.2 million Xbox 360s in 2011's last financial quarter.

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Latest comments (6)

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 6 years ago
What a dope. I can think of a bunch of original Xbox games that NEVER got backward compatibility that would have made excellent HD upgrades. Whatever. I hate the whole console wars thing anyway, but let's see what the numbers say at the end of fiscal year 2012 for games sales, NOT console sales...
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I quite like the multiplatform approach of game titles, and having one or two exclusives would not incentivise one to purchase one console over the other.
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Gareth Bourn Level Designer + QA Technician, Hello Games6 years ago
Going to go against the crowd and say I would be inclined to agree with Phil here. He is no dope. New IP's are a much better use of talent than making HD versions of old titles as they do sell consoles, an awful lot of consoles. The amount of people I know that argue about platform exclusives such as Gears or GOW is silly but it's just the way it goes, the public love it. And the more consoles they sell the more games they will sell - which is good for everyone.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Gareth Bourn on 23rd January 2012 11:40am

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Terence Gage Freelance writer 6 years ago
Quality is fair enough - although I would say first-party exclusives from Sony, MS and Nintendo are almost always of very high quality, so it seems a little moot - but is he really suggesting that releases like Gears 3, Kinect Sports 2 or Halo Anniversary were more innovative or impacting on the videogames market than the likes of Uncharted 3, Resistance 3 or DCUO? What nonsense; in fact I would argue that Sony's onus on integrating optional Move controls into most of their core releases and pushing 3D gaming has had more impact on the software market than anything MS has released recently (and yes, I am including Kinect, which appears to have found its niche as an entertainment peripheral as opposed to anything to do specifically with gaming).

This really just sounds to me like a weak excuse to justify MS's lack of exclusives and new IPs. Sony manages quality and quantity, as well as respectfully bringing many PS2 series up-to-date for reasonable prices. Giving the consumer more choice is never something to be belittled.

"Creating core IP, as many first-and third-parties have seen over the years, isn't an easy thing."

But MS have probably the deepest pockets of any company in the games industry, and yet they are probably the most reluctant to create new games for their consumers (instead seeming to prefer timed exclusive content on cross-platform releases). There's a reason games like The Last Of Us, Dragon's Dogma and Catherine create such a stir among the core audience - it's because they're new. That doesn't necessarily mean they'll have new ideas or be original, but just the appeal of something which feels a little different and isn't another sequel has a big impact on the audience. Endless sequels to Halo, Fable, Forza, Kinect Sports etc aren't good enough if you're not investing in other, new games to support your main line-up. Heck, if that doesn't stick then at least bring back some older IPs from the Xbox 1 era or early 360 days, like Viva Pinata, Lost Odyssey, Sudeki, Amped (was this sold to T2?), Crimson Skies, MechAssault, etc.

Now MS have such a firm position in the console market, they seem to be neglecting the very consumers who put them there. In my opinion they need to re-invest in the core consumer, or it'll come back and bite them on the arse next gen.
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game6 years ago
@Terence, I would agree with a lot of that, especially about now MS having a strong position, they seem to be forgetting who put them there (which seems partly due to the management changing), but I do question the impact of Sony pushing 3D. No PS3 owner I personally know has bought a 3D TV. In fact, the numbers seem to show that not many people have bought 3D tvs (I know one person who has a 3D laptop, and a few people online looking into 3D monitors for PC, but very few people worried abot it for console, those that are are waiting for a massive price drop). How can something be having that much effect if not many people are actually experienciencing it?
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 6 years ago
Well, the GOOD thing about Sony's 3D push is they aren't making it MANDATORY, as in you NEED to run out and spend money on a new TV even if you just bought one. Not everyone can see 3D properly or hell, can stand it for longer than about 20-30 minutes, so it's nice to see it not being forced down our throats as the next big thing with a fat warning not to overdo it...
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