Over the last couple console generations, industry observers could point to numerous first-party blockbusters from Nintendo and Sony, but far fewer from Microsoft. No one would dispute the success of Halo, Gears of War, Forza Motorsport or Minecraft, but the Xbox team believes it can and should do better from a first-party perspective. With the Xbox One X launching tomorrow, Xbox chief Phil Spencer said as much to Bloomberg.
Noting that Xbox has "faced criticism from gamers for its lack of hot first-party titles," Bloomberg said that the company now intends to invest much more into first-party and could possibly open the piggy-bank to acquire more studios.
"We need to grow, and I look forward to doing that," Spencer said. "Our ability to go create content has to be one of our strengths. We haven't always invested at the same level. We've gone through ups and downs in the investment."
While Rare is once again getting a chance to shine with new property Sea of Thieves, other Microsoft-owned studios like Lionhead and Press Play were shuttered in recent years. Moving forward, however, Microsoft is recognizing the importance of gaming as a whole to the company. The fact that Spencer now sits on the senior leadership team under CEO Satya Nadella is proof of that.
It's worth noting that Xbox marketing head Albert Penello pointed to PUBG (a console exclusive on Xbox) rather than one of the company's first-party efforts as its potential system-seller this holiday for Xbox One S and X. You can read more from Penello on the Xbox One X strategy in our full interview.