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Phil Spencer on Microsoft's commitment to the traditional console experience

It's important to support players of old games on new hardware, says Xbox head

The next console generation looms nearer following Phil Spencer's reveal that the Microsoft hardware team "is deep into architecting the next Xbox consoles".

Despite Microsoft's recent focus on streaming games, as emphasised by Game Pass and the announcement that the company is developing a streaming network for "console quality gaming on any device", the head of Xbox reaffirmed his commitment to the traditional console paradigm.

Speaking with our colleagues at Eurogamer following Microsoft's E3 press conference, Spencer said conventional console gaming was critical to the company's success.

"It is how most people think of an Xbox," he said. "An Xbox is something you plug into your TV... I want that to continue. And I don't want that to just continue in words. I want it to continue in action. In the last two years we've shipped the S console, which I love, and the X console - we said what it was going to do, and I love the fact we were able to deliver that."

The rise of mobile gaming doesn't shake Spencer's continued commitment to Xbox providing the classic home console experience either.

"For a lot of us today, there's a certain kind of game we expect on a phone and another kind of game we expect on our console," said Spencer. "It's not always true they're separate.

"You can see PUBG and Fortnite now on the phones doing much better, but a lot of the games there are very casual. I know content developers want to reach as many people as they can with their content.

"So, I do think as we move forward, more people will be playing more kinds of content on other devices. But television will be one of those. We're committed to that."

Backwards compatibility will also continue to be a big part of Microsoft's Xbox strategy, said Spencer, adding that he was "very proud" of the company's track record of "respecting the purchase of games [players] made with us".

Spencer also alluded to the smash hit games like Minecraf which don't get sequels, but instead migrate over to the new console.

"We didn't ship Minecraft 2 on Xbox One to try to compel everybody to move to the next console, because that's not what Minecraft players want," sad Spencer. "They just want Minecraft to get better.

"When you look at games like PUBG and Fortnite and you think about these large games and ecosystems that'll be out there, when new hardware comes, people are still going to want to play those games, and it's going to be important for us as platforms to support them."

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Ivy Taylor avatar
Ivy Taylor: Ivy joined in 2017 having previously worked as a regional journalist, and a political campaigns manager before that. They are also one of the UK's foremost Sonic the Hedgehog apologists.
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