Microsoft's First-Party Attitude Represents My Larger Issue With the Company

Phil Stortzum of SuperPhillip Central writes, "Microsoft Studios head honcho Phil Spencer recently mentioned to OXM that a console manufacturer doesn't need its own studios to create excellent games. The issue I take with this statement extends further into Microsoft's philosophy with the Xbox. Instead of putting money into their own studios, they simply purchase exclusives, whether they be entire games, downloadable content, or advertising rights. I cannot tell you how many third-party multi-platform game commercials I've seen where at the end the Xbox 360 or Xbox One logo shows up.

The problem in this situation is that-- borrowing a term here-- "moneyhatting" exclusives is much more costly than having capable studios you own that make games for you. As the "boss" of the studio, you have a greater influence on the type of product they create. Then again, looking at Rare, perhaps that's a bad thing to be under the influence of Microsoft-- being forced to make nothing but Kinect Sports and avatar games, having all of your other projects never getting the greenlight."

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OrangePowerz1655d ago (Edited 1655d ago )

True points. Alone the amount they paud for GTA4 timed DLC would have been enough to make a full AAA game and Titanfall and DR3 will have cost a huge amount.

Yet Rare has become a third grade studios focusing on Kinect. They dont even let then make KI and instead outsourced it.

Genesis51655d ago

Considering that the hardware is suppose to be a means of making money from the software. This doesn't seem to be a very profitable business model.

porkChop1655d ago

It's not profitable at all. Microsoft loses over $2B a year on Xbox as a whole, and they hide this from shareholders by grouping it together with their Android patent licences.

Godmars2901655d ago

Look at Android patent deal to try to understand how MS operates. They put themselves into a position where someone else, a majority of business, largely does the work and pays MS to do the work. That's what they've been trying to do with the Xbox brand, but they keep messing up in one way or another. Usually in regards to hardware.

nukeitall1654d ago


Put yourself in MS shoes, if somebody else stole your costly research to enrich themselves, it would be natural you demand a share of that. If you don't like it, you can fight in court.

Fact of the matter is, MS is one of the oldest OS developing country out there, so it is natural that a something new like Android would infringe massively on MS research and development.

Ritsujun1654d ago (Edited 1654d ago )

Dat fluffy-cloudy mind of Microsofie's.

UltimateMaster1654d ago

I think one of the candidates for the CEO of Microsoft does see it this way too and thinks it's not a worthwhile investment. Because they are loosing money by buying 3rd party games and advertising when they could be focusing on other means to make money.

Instead of the kinect collecting data and reselling them to others, why not sell the kinect to hospital so that they can check your pulse without the need to compress your arm to check it, instead of those expensive monitors?

Why not try to do humanity a favor and try to make it a better world instead of just being greedy and try to make a quick $ off our private life?

There's so many other positive things they can do with the kinect but aren't doing.

Xbox is just making Microsoft loose money overall. Focus on the money, which is where technology used in positive ways comes into play.

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-Foxtrot1655d ago

"Yet Rare has become a third grade studios focusing on Kinect"

Which they've said they do not FORCE to make Kinect games....despite the fact Microsoft cancelled Kameo 2, Conker's Other Bad Fur Day and even Perfect Dark 2.

"They dont even let then make KI and instead outsourced it."

Thats what I don't get...they get a crappy studio like Double Helix to make it.

You can say it looks good (LOOKS GOOD) all you want, I won't judge it until it's out, however will you guys judge it based on the game in front of you OR nostalgia for the past KI games. Thats what I'm scared of, it's a F2P game where you only get 5-6 characters I mean come on.

kreate1654d ago (Edited 1654d ago )

It doesn't matter if they are not forced.

The studio is stripped dry by microsoft and given no other projects to work on.

They work on whatever that's given.

Bungie left Microsoft for the lack of freedom.

Only difference is, rare can't leave.

nukeitall1654d ago (Edited 1654d ago )

I don't get it, why does it have to be Rare that makes KI?

The vast majority of the old Rare that worked on KI is no longer there. To me, allowing Double Helix to work on it is the right choice, because the game looks great!

Double Helix still gets help from Rare, so it isn't entirely hands free either. Important thing is the game is good, and all early reports are it is awesome!

They should choose the developer that is the right fit for the project, not blindly choose them because of long lose old desires.

"Which they've said they do not FORCE to make Kinect games....despite the fact Microsoft cancelled Kameo 2, Conker's Other Bad Fur Day and even Perfect Dark 2."

And Kinect Sports outsold most likely outsold any of those games combined except for maybe Perfect Dark. Clearly it was the right choice.

"Only difference is, rare can't leave."

Game developers are highly sought after, and if you manage it a certain way, they will leave your company for another. The fact that we don't have a recent exodus of employees (think in the last 3-4 years since Kinect), it seems they are happy.

Those that are unhappy, they left long ago.

Automatic791655d ago

This article is a flamebait at it finest.

First and foremost he is whinining about MS purchasing exclusive but does not give valid reasons or add to the subject by saying that MS is investing a Billion dollars into games and First party companies.

As gamers we have all seen some of the best games come out of First party but we have seen better out of 3rd party so if MS does not want to rely on First party to carry weight through out the gaming consoles life span and chooses to let 3rd party get shine on Xbox I see nothing wrong with that.

I am all about playing games and enjoying them. I want every developer have great games and experiences.

SCW19821655d ago

Best games come out of first party but better games come out of 3rd party. This sentence makes my head explode. For the most part this generation first party options especially on Sony trumped third party.

mkis0071655d ago (Edited 1655d ago )

It is about those games that define a platform. 3rd party games may help a platform, but they can not define it, in the way a first party IP can. Sunset Overdrive may be a great game, but it is owned by Insomniac, they can do with it what they want. Xbox is defined by Halo and Master Chief. Maybe if you want to throw in Gears of War and Cogs. But that is the extent of the characters that define what xbox is.

There is no way for me to explain this reasoning without bringing in a counter-example.

Playstation is defined by Ratchet and Clank, Sly Cooper, The Helghast, Uncharted and Nathan Drake, God of war and Kratos, and Littlebigplanet and Sackboy. Maybe Jack and Daxter and Cole Mcgrath.

And sure Playstation is defined by a few third parties like Kingdom hearts, Final Fantasy, Metal Gear Solid. But they do not really on those third parties to define PlayStation.

Nitendo? Mario, Luigi, Zelda,Kirby, Pokemon...Etc these things define what Ninendo is.

We have a single face for xbox and that is Master chief. The problem is these games that Ms locks up can eventually find their way to other consoles. These characters are not branded to the box.

TL;DR : Xbox buying titles is a day pass for parking.

Nintendo and Sony creating games in house is the year long parking permit.

rainslacker1654d ago

If a company sees a good game concept and decides to fund it completely and thus it becomes exclusive, I feel that's completely fine.

If a publisher goes and tries to sell parts of it's game exclusively to help fund the project, or the console makers shovel a bunch of money towards the publisher to get that exclusive, I feel that's a bit weak, but I understand that it's a way to market the system.

If a console maker pays a butt load of money to make a game completely exclusive to their console just to market the console then I find that stupid. This is particularly true if the game was well in development before that exclusivity was purchased. It's money that could be spent to make an entirely new game, expanding the console makers portfolio, and they still get that awesome game they would have gotten without paying for it. Double dipping you might say.

This is also true for paying for buying exclusivity off another console(say FF13), to make it multi-plat. What a waste of money that could be better spent. MS could have made a FF killer for what they likely spent.

Timed exclusivity is the worst. It does nothing but give bragging rights to the console that gets it, and adds no value to the overall portfolio of the console maker itself.

So much money wasted, when MS could have better invested it into their own portfolio to make even more IP's that could rock the gaming world. It works for Sony in a big way for 3 gens now. Although, I will admit, it does seem Sony is starting to go the exclusive content method more this and next gen.

MightyNoX1654d ago

I've been saying this for ages. Microsoft has no interest in gaming. It's just a means to infiltrate the household so they can sell marketing space to ad companies.

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lifeisgamesok1655d ago (Edited 1655d ago )

They have made changes though. They bought 10 new studios and helping indie developers by making Xbox One a dev kit and giving them Unity for free

If it wasn't for MS helping Capcom fund the game we wouldn't have another Dead Rising

Games like Halo, Gears, Mass Effect wouldn't be nearly as big without Microsoft's help

Burrito26a1655d ago

Thats all Microsoft does. Make changes.

True_Samurai1654d ago

Would you rather they kept the og plan? No?

KingKelloggTheWH1655d ago

Unity is free for everyone, its not MS's.

OrangePowerz1655d ago

I was following Halo very closely and the concept before MS bought Bungie sounded cooler than what we got in the end. You where supposed to travel freely on the ring. I think Bungie finally get to do with Destiny what they wanted to do with Halo in the first place.

Gears would have probably been a bigger success as a multiplatform game.

Mass Effect took really off with the second game. The first one was good but the gameplay was rather bad. The shooting mechanics from the first are atrocious.

porkChop1655d ago

Yeah that was back when Rockstar was publishing Halo as a multiplatform game.

Soldierone1655d ago

Not really, they were good with it for PC gaming and helping stuios there grow. In terms of Xbox, they fail epicly at it.

Of those 10 new studios, how many are making Kinect, dance, or casual titles? Last time I looked, over half of all their games in-development were casual kinect titles.

lifeisgamesok1655d ago

Dude what are you talking about? The only games shown from their 1st party studios so far are

Halo 5
Black Tusk's game (stealth/action)
Kinect Sports Rivals

Everything else is unannounced

Soldierone1655d ago

It's not hard to look up these studios and see descriptions as to what they may be. Hell of the 3 you actually mentioned to argue my point, 1 of them is a kinect title.....

I'm not doing the research for you, go use Google.

If MS was strong with first party support, I'd be happy. Timed exclusives don't count.

ABizzel11655d ago (Edited 1655d ago )

True they bought 10 new studios, but look up the job descriptions for them. Most of those studios are doing networking work, and video work (Xbox TV). Only a few are gaming studios.

Of those only 343 (Halo) and Black Tusk (1 new IP) are making a hardcore game, the others are Kinect / Family.

They're doing the same thing they did at the launch of the 360. Buy a bunch of newer IP's exclusivity for the first few years, then back to Halo, Forza Fable, Black Tusk (replacing Gears).

christocolus1654d ago

every company has their own way of doing doesnt have to do it the way sony does but even at that ms has many new studios developing new ip..they are investing billions int games.there is nothing wrong in doing both...get fresh ip from 1st party and mix it with third party exclusives...any reasonable person looking at what ms is doing with the xbx one(aa games for launch and even next year) will know they are doing good..imo its a smart idea...focusing on just first party has its own disadvantages just look at nintendo. nothing sells on their hardware only nintendo created a very good environment for third party games to thrive..its justbabout knowinghow to balance it....this article holds no water imo.

Joe9131654d ago

Lol I agreed until the very last sentence so you don't think Mass Effect would have been anything without MS lol.

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Consoles4kidz1655d ago ShowReplies(10)
showtimefolks1655d ago

They keep paying for short term gains with exclusive DLC and have no long term 1st party planning

MS isn't gonna learn because they are arrogant and have too much money, they are the dodgers of gaming, new kid on the block will buy whatever he wants

Automatic791655d ago

So investing 1 billion into gaming is not learning. Another fanboy who is stuck in the past. All companies grow from there history.

rainslacker1654d ago

I find it hard to believe that MS is investing that much into gaming, or at least into primarily game software. That's a huge chunk of change even for MS. The average game cost about 40 million to make. That comes to a total of 25 AAA games if you ignore investment into more casual stuff.

No one on here, even the most devout MS fan boy can say with a straight face that MS will be coming out with 25 AAA games in the next three years from first party. Why? Because they'd be competing against themselves.

It defies logic. Nintendo and Sony combined do not even come out with that many games in a 3 year span that amount to 1 billion dollars.

MS is doing some fancy accounting. I guarantee you that 1 billion dollars also includes other ventures related to their gaming division, such as their Halo TV show, timed or paid exclusivity, or whatever R&D they are putting into whatever stupid feature they think will be the next big thing, which has probably been the last big thing from 4-5 years prior, as per their usual MO.

showtimefolks1654d ago

1 billion? how much of that is going towards exclusive DLC from EA games?

Dead rising?

that number isn't right, investing 1 billion into their 1st party studios would count, how about giving funds or buying smaller studios and let them work on some actual exclusives, that won't end up on other consoles

MM went to MS for Little Big Planet and they turned them away

QD asked them about Heavy rain and they said no

so they don't want to take any risks, all safe bets on mostly FPS or sports

ABeastNamedTariq1655d ago

"Instead of putting money into their own studios, they simply purchase exclusives, whether they be entire games, downloadable content, or advertising rights."

"They have been throwing money to further themselves into the industry, going so far as to lose boatloads of money just to get ahead of the competition. Who needs competent first-party studios when you can just buy exclusives? Why compete when you can simply buy market share through immense marketing campaigns and third-party exclusives?"

I agree w/ just about all of the points made. I think it's better to have a stable of developers to make a person say, "Man, I want [X] console for [A]'s, [B]'s, and [C]'s next game(s) (along w/ multiplats and blah blah blah)." Buying can only get you so far.


MS seems to be getting better. That BT studios game visually looks fantastical (the trailer was in-engine) - I personally can't wait to see some gameplay, they have 343 for Halo now, Titanfall (1), Quantum Break, and more (hopefully). And Turn 10.

Hicken1655d ago

I don't see where they're getting better. One of the MS fans PMed me with a list of "new" studios, and I did the research on em:

Twisted Pixel isn't new
Lift London renamed from Microsoft London
Press Play was bought, so just new to Microsoft
Black Tusk renamed from Vancouver
Microsoft Osaka is new
Team Dakota may or may not be new

343 isn't new anymore
Turn 10

That's about it. Frankly, with most of those teams coming from the 360 era and just having new names, I don't see MS changing much of anything. Just like buying Titanfall, rather than spending that money on a new studio.

ABeastNamedTariq1655d ago

Oh damn... I forgot some of those were just renamed studios.

Then... I don't know anymore, haha.

I mean, as of now, they look about the same. Guess we'll see.