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Xbox first-party is "critical" for Scorpio, says Spencer

Xbox boss Phil Spencer notes that he recognizes the value of a strong first-party

Microsoft has yet to shed all the details on its upcoming Project Scorpio, but with the new hardware launch scheduled for later this year, the company has been ramping up its efforts internally. A huge part of the effort will be having top notch software to showcase the impressive power of the Scorpio, and typically that burden falls to the platform holder. Xbox head Phil Spencer recognizes the importance of that challenge.

In a Twitter Q&A session, the executive commented, "[We're] very focused on 1P games. I'll be careful about when we announce things but I know strong 1P is critical," adding that having those first-party games ready for Scorpio's launch is also critical.

Spencer said that having spent time overhauling Xbox Live, his team wants to put the same level of energy into first-party development. "It's a journey. Started w/ focus on hardware, longest timelines. We've rebuilt XBL and OS. Bringing same focus to 1P," he remarked.

Most of us would guess that Scorpio will get its full reveal at E3 this year, but Spencer wouldn't commit to a date or event for it yet. What he did stress, however, was giving the software a chance to shine during E3. "I want to give our games more time on stage at E3, I sometimes feel like we rush telling the story of our games at E3," he said.

Apart from the important nature of fleshing out its first-party roster, Spencer also commented that he still believes in getting the big Japanese publishers on board. The Xbox platform may be all but dead within Japan, but publishers like Square Enix obviously recognize that there's value in bringing games to a machine that has a global audience.

"I was encouraged by trip to Japan. More work to do but I'm committed to working with Japanese publishers," Spencer said. "Japanese publishers who build games that they believe have a WW audience want Xbox success. FFXV an example. Yes, visit to Japan confirmed for me we'd be seeing these coming (JRPGs), and yes I know I've said this before."

It'll be interesting to see how the first-party studio system at Microsoft Game Studios evolves under Spencer's watch. The company's big franchises include Forza (Turn 10), Halo (343 Industries), Gears of War (The Coaltion), and Minecraft (Mojang). Rare is also working on what could be a big IP in Sea of Thieves, and second-party ReAgent Games is bringing out Crackdown 3.

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James Brightman


James Brightman has been covering the games industry since 2003 and has been an avid gamer since the days of Atari and Intellivision. He was previously EIC and co-founder of IndustryGamers and spent several years leading GameDaily Biz at AOL prior to that.