After the airing of the Xbox Games Showcase last Sunday, Phil Spencer, Microsoft Gaming CEO, sat down for an interview with Polygon. The conversation covered various industry topics, as is customary for the outspoken executive.
One thing is certain: Spencer displayed a great deal of confidence in the future lineup of Xbox Game Studios and Bethesda, starting from next year. This lineup will include the release of Towerborne, Avowed, Hellblade II, Microsoft Flight Simulator 2024, and potentially more. In addition, he teased several games that were not featured at this year’s Xbox Games Showcase, including upcoming projects from id Software and The Coalition, the reboot of Perfect Dark, and Rare’s Everwild.
I am not particularly worried about 2024. 2022 was challenging for us. However, I believe that postponing certain games was the right decision. Let’s take South of Midnight, for example. As you saw, it was announced during the Xbox Games Showcase. We could have announced it last year, but we decided to continue working on the game and the announcement. It’s okay to hold off on the announcement. Another example is Clockwork Revolution. When I was at E3 last year, I had the opportunity to play that game at inXile. I didn’t just watch the announcement video, I actually played the game. And when I returned this year to inXile, I played it again with the team, going through the latest builds. It gives me confidence because we are strategically timing the game’s announcement closer to its release. We have hands-on experience with the game.
I believe that now we are in a position to truly deliver on our promises. And not just for the next 12 months. When I look ahead, there are so many things to anticipate. We haven’t even talked about what’s coming from id Software or The Coalition. When will we see Perfect Dark again? And when will we see Everwild again? There are many things we are still working on that we haven’t revealed. I don’t like to be overly confident, but I do feel optimistic. I think we are in a very good position.
Phil Spencer’s unwavering belief in the first-party releases goes back to E3 2018, when Microsoft began its acquisition spree by purchasing Ninja Theory, Undead Labs, Compulsion Games, Playground Games, and establishing the new studio, The Initiative. Later that year, Microsoft also acquired Obsidian and inXile, followed by Double Fine the following year. They then set their sights on even bigger targets with the $7.5 billion acquisition of ZeniMax and the pending $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
With 20 game studios working on content, the release calendar was bound to fill up eventually. It took some time as certain studios needed to release their multiplatform games first, but it seems that the pieces are finally falling into place as Spencer and his team envisioned.
Of course, while the quantity is undoubtedly there, whether Microsoft can match the exceptional first-party output of Sony and Nintendo remains to be seen. The real test will come with the release of Bethesda’s Starfield, scheduled for less than three months from now.
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Basant Kasayap is an entertainment aficionado who delves into the glitz and glamour of the entertainment industry. From Hollywood to Bollywood to regional cinema, she offers readers an insider’s perspective on the world of movies, music, and pop culture.