Success in the console industry requires more than deep pockets; paying for exclusivity is no substitute for nurturing great games and services - Gameindustry.biz
great article, and i am sure some would agree that instead of MS wasting money on third party exclusives it would better service them in the long run to investing it in getting their own first party studios. Microsoft has money no-one is denying it but i mean money is not infinity and they must realise you have to make money to spend money especially with amounts they are throwing at third party devs for timed exclusive on a side note i was thinking imagine if rather than tombraider ms got the arkham franchise or call of duty..... calm down guys i can already feel some of you about to explode
For all you know, they are doing that already. Its not as simple as investing in x number of first party studios. Sony had a longer premiership in this arena at a pivotal time where they could sweep up the talent and then nurture it. Microsoft need to do the same; develop whatever first party studios they have and get the right people with the right talents. Chucking money at the problem is only a short-term plan yeah but I'm sure they are also aware of the need to simultaneously bolster their first party outing, judging by what Phil Spencer said in his interview the other day.
Said the same, 100% agree.. Everything Phil has been saying kinda says as much.. But I'd have to assume you dont just snap your fingers and it happens.. They'll look to bolster their first parties.. But in the meantime, they will secure 2nd and 3rd party stuff
Short term plan? Microsoft has been doing this since the early 360 days. This ain't short term. This is Microsoft's strategy, and this is why the Xbox brand as a whole has not made any real profit to date. Microsoft keeps throwing millions around. I mean they paid $50m for the GTA 4 DLC, that's half of GTA 4's entire development budget.
Agreed with pretty much all that you guys have said but I do feel ms wasted their opportunity to 'grow their own' last gen. They have the wealth to put up a better fight but they didn't show enough courage to take the risks and build. Without proof I cannot say for sure but I doubt ms gave the studios they held much creative freedom especially when you consider what rare have become. I guess secretly they'll be the most relieved kinect isn't the focal point anymore. Short term fix for sure and that can plug the gap until their true exclusives get churned out. Lets see if ms follow through. Edit Agree with pork chop in that this is ms's 3rd gen. Even if they hadn't been involved they would of witnessed what has come to pass. The blueprint for growing your own isn't a secret. There are obviously differces between how each player reaches that goal but it was always the goal to create ba unique library that distinguishes their brand amongst others
Have to agree with Septic, buying studios does not equal good games, You have to first of all recognise talent keep it then nurture it, that not only takes investment but time, something Sony have done time and again You can buy up the best studios in the world but if all the talent leaves you are just left with a name.
I know they've relied on that a bit in the past.. But there is new leadership across the board at ms, directions change. But not overnight. Timed exclusivity has become a short term plan imo. (Well.. They'll probably always do it, just not as heavily) Phil has said he wants more IP and he wants to own it rather then lease it. They are forming studios like BT but the fruits of that labor won't come about for a few years (from inception).
as PorkChop said above, this clearly is Microsoft's long term strategy. there's nothing short term about buying exclusivity for an ENTIRE generation and then continuing the tradition into the next generation. they've almost been doing this for a decade :/ Phil Spencer can't do everything on his own, the Microsoft hierarchy need to back the idea of nurturing talent rather than paying for exclusives, but will he get that support? a culture change around Microsoft is needed in order for Xbox to have the 1st party quality and quantity that Sony & Nintendo have. they need to hold the Xbox brand in as high esteem as the other arms of the business (like Windows) and give as much backing as well. Spencer can only do so much and that's why I feel that not much will change at Microsoft.
@Septic and @n4rc Now you see the dilemma and just how big the hole is MS has dug for themselves. Let's give MS the benefit of the doubt and say that they do want to shift to growing their first party talent. Well, as you correctly point out, these things don't happen overnight. But MS has to show something to make gamers believe they are about the games in the Phil era. The solution: money-hat a third party. It's a vicious, costly cycle with diminishing returns (TR timed exclusivity? Really?). Mikelarry says imagine if they bought a more popular multiplat instead of Tomb Raider. I say, imagine if they had invested in their first party library and put out a TR killer called Uncharted. That's the difference between MS versus Nintendo and Sony, and it shows. To date (off the top of my head), XB1's biggest exclusive releases have been Forza, Dead Rising, Ryse, and Titan Fall. The PS4's have been Knack, Killzone, Infamous, and TLOU. More than half of the big exclusives on the XB1 are 3rd party, whereas all are 1st party on the PS4. Think about this: Within about two years of the systems' launches, a Forza title will have hit XB1 twice and a Halo title three times, while the PS4 will just be getting its first Uncharted game.
@LeCruest "Think about this: Within about two years of the systems' launches, a Forza title will have hit XB1 twice and a Halo title three times, while the PS4 will just be getting its first Uncharted game" Which Halo titles? The Remaster and Halo 5? What's the third title? Also, should the remaster even count? Also, Forza Horizon is a different off-shoot to the core franchise that I think we can differentiate from. Still, I do agree with you and get what you're saying. Well lets see what MS have in store for us, if they have anything.
@Septic Halo: Spartan Assault. Like FH2, an offshoot, but you see where they're having to milk the franchise multiple times within just two years of the console's release.
Halo Spartan Assault was primarily a mobile phone game. In that sense, Killzone is being milked if you take into account the Vita version or Tearaway with the new PS4 version
Why Build when you can buy?
lol yeah, Microsoft has been churning out their usual first-party offerings of Halo, Fable, and Forza for nearly 15 years now. They might be making a conscious effort to improve/establish first-party studios, but good luck competing with Sony on that front; they own AAA studios all over the world.
Why is everybody talking about time? It doesn't take more than a year and a few millions to build up a decent development studio of it's own, that's certainly better than paying 50mio for GTA DLC. They don't need to start with 200+ people... Media Molecule for example consists of about 50-70 people if I'm not mistaken and they are one of Sony's most important studios. Microsoft has so much money, they could have the best first party network if they just wanted to build it. Instead, even 10 years later, they still rely on timed exclusivity which ruins gaming imo.
Article is ok, but they act as if MS is the only one paying 3rd parties ... Sony, nintendo and MS all do it. Games like bayoneyta 2,no man's sky, tomb raider, hellblade, etc. I do wish MS put all their assets into first party, (which they seem to be doing seeing black tusk, lxp, lift, etc) however that is not how it works. As soon as MS stops that would leave some sour tastes, plus Sony would still be sending assets.
Im sure they all do it but thats not the main point. The 3 year quiet time was due to minimal output from internal sources. Had they owned more studios or commissioned the ones at their disposal to produce more, that would never have happened. The ratio of internal external output plus the general output of exclusives was not in ms's favour. Their ethos was/is only sustainable for so long and this is their 3rd generation....... they can use the newbie excuse nor should anybody for them.
I don't think they act as if MS is the only ones doing it, but they do paint a portrait where MS is still using that as its first 'go to' strategy for overcoming issues. The article does a good job of criticizing Sony for its issues, but they are discussing how MS utilizes their money to combat competition rather than other methods. And, look at the highlighted quote from the article: "For the sake of both the Xbox and the industry, I hope that Microsoft isn't blinded by its own wealth. The reality is that a chequebook war between Microsoft and Sony wouldn't really be good for anyone" He makes sure to mention both there, knowing that one's efforts are often countered by the other in like manner. I would much rather MS at least put that money towards buying/cultivating/securing exclusivity of new upcoming IPs than such an extreme exclusive deal. Having said that, remember the true blame here is on SE for taking the money over respecting their fans. It may be money from MS, but no one tied SE down and forced them to do this to a good portion of their fans. As a fan, I hate it. But, the people I feel the most sorry for here are the developers of the game. Just imagine getting into this industry to make great games for a ton of people and then having management come in and decide on who gets to play your game and how and all this other stuff. I know if I made a game, I'd want as many people to play it as possible. I'd also want that control to prevent someone from telling me otherwise. Again, another reason why we're seeing a huge surge in Indie developers.
I agree that nintendo and Sony also do it but microsoft RELY on it. They have used this strategy since they bought that multiplatform game originally designed for apple, what was that called? Oh yeah halo!
Lets look at Black Tusk for a minute shall we? It was a studio that has some serious names behind it. Their IP was being hyped yet no one had any clue what it was. It was apparently in development however. Then what happened? MS cancelled whatever they were working on and stuck them on making the next Gears of War game. That's not cultivating talent, nor is it doing anything to build staples that it can rely on for the long term. And that's really the issue. It's not the number of studios that MS has, it's that they aren't working to create enough new IP's which gives good variety to the system. They aren't letting their first party studios be massively creative...like Rare for instance. If they had been doing that since the beginning of the 360 life cycle, or even before, then they wouldn't have had to buy the Gears of War franchise off Epic, which they funded and spent a massive amount of money on yet still owned nothing, and instead could have focused on it's own catalog of quality IP's to entice the fans of it's consoles, or new fans, to upgrade to the current gen.
Same can be said for Sony as well, do you think getting rights to exclusive content and pretty much marketing was cheap for the biggest new IP to ever exist? I think not and I am sure games like Shadow of Mordor, Far Cry 4, and BF Hardline were not cheap as well. Fact is both companies are using their checkbooks to sell systems (watch Sony sgreatness ad it is full of sponsored 3rd party games) rather than first or second party titles. Deny it and down vote me all you want but Sony is no better than MS just MS has more money to give out.
"Deny it and down vote me all you want but Sony is no better than MS just MS has more money to give out." I'll vote you down, and explain why. Sony is better about it than MS. So is Nintendo. So is just about every console manufacturer that has entered the game. Here's what's sold PS4's so far: Knack, KZ, Infamous, TLOU. Here's what's sold XB1's: Ryse, Forza, Dead Rising, Titan Fall. Take away the 3rd parties and that list looks like this: PS4: Knack, Killzone, Infamous, TLOU. XB1: Forza.
While I do in fact agree that all three pay for exclusives, I do think that unlike Sony and Nintendo, the core problem is not the leadership over at microsoft xbox div. It's the people in charge of Microsoft it self! That decide the core investment into xbox, and to my observations Microsoft will never treat the xbox platform more than a side project! Thats why robbie, ed, ray, hell in under 10 years time all the xbox platform founders, left that is a problem. As many have stated the higher ups do not seem to treat the xbox platform as a part to hold just as much development and support as office, or Windows they view it in such terms that show "it as it does not matter" That is the core problem phil is facing right now, you can see what he intends to change but its clear the higher ups really do not care about the xbox as a platform. Making it grow, or make it a real core of microsoft as is office, or Windows, its really about if you go into this market really go in to it. Nintendo since its founding understands that Sony recently directed the same "playstation" is a core part of Sony. Until Microsoft does that its always going to be less about growth of the xbox as a platform, and instead be about growth of such profits. After the 13 core founders of xbox all left the heart an core soul of the platform left with them in my opinion. Look at the very 1st xbox with Ed fries and what he and others envisioned for the xbox platform and now look at it today.
@Lecreuset, great comparison, and looking at what you have, the only fresh/new IP is Knack. If we are to consider this, then would it also be great if these companies launched their consoles with completely fresh, and new content? Also, Destiny (which is 3rd party) has garnered more funds/marketing support from Sony, and is Listed as it's flagship title (even spending heavily for full exclusive in japan). None of the first party games for the ps has received this kind of support. And, There is no denying what you listed, kudos.
@ leceeuset I've said this numerous times and ppl keep saying Microsoft should put money into their first party but the fact of the matter is no one likes microsofts first party games besides halo gears and forza (and sure u can name some ip that a couple ppl have enjoyed the ip but it would never be the amount of sales that titanfall or tomb raider would give Microsoft) ppl are selfish and don't realize this is business u don't sale games u have to shut down studios....u shut down studios that is a clear loss to ur investment and ur company You made that list but you forgot to mention xbox one first party games that are on the list because you probably don't know about them Zoo tycoon Max curse of the brotherhood Lococycle Fighter writhin Kinect sports rivals Project spark I don't who made these games but Crimson dragon
Understood and agree to an extent. But, in reference to the original intent of the article, this can't be the long-term strategy. It can't be their reaction to falling behind. It has to be part of an overall plan that includes nurturing and developing new talent and new IP. Otherwise, at some point, there will be nothing to offer gamers except what has been offered time and time again.
Well Phil Spencer says they're exploring the Square Enix relationship and hoping it grows...They could benefit when Square Enix becomes more desperate and starts selling off IPs/Studios. Square Enix hasn't been doing so well, and considering FF13Versus AKA FF15 has been in development for a while being an endless money sink. While all their Eidos games have been flopping and making small returns. Hitman/Thief/Tomb Raider/Etc... I think MS picking up Tomb Raider is good since it provides the franchise financial security and it gives more competition for Naughty Dog with Uncharted.
The thing is though, this is nothing new... I am surprised people are blowing up all over this. I was a big MS fan the last two generations and pritty much from the time DM took over, it became clear that this was their strategy. It was partly because of this that towards the end of the 360's life I decided to move to ps. I don't mind this tactic as long as they still invest in their own studios and IP's. the mistake before was that they didn't. The question on my mind now is will they play the same game this gen as they did last gen?
This isn't anything new, sony did it with destiny. Microsoft did it with tomb raider. Sony at one point in it's history had alot of money behind them and they used some to buy games for their platform. Even tomb raider was not only ever on playstation so as long are smart about it and build a good reputation with some of these devs me may see great things in the future as a partnership forms.
where do you guys get this crap from??? microsoft has their own ip's and are constantly investing in their own. so what are you talking about??? have you been paying attention to the xbox at all??? but here is something that i guess you and a lot of other non microsft gamers don't realize for some idiotic reason, microsoft can afford to focus on owning their own companies and ip's while also securing the rights to 3rd party titles and dlc. there is nothing wrong with being able to do more. if sony could afford to do the same, they would and they would be praised for it. microsft is doing what sony can't and they are knocked for it. how hilarious! more is always better when it's an actual benefit. and microsoft have been doing the most for the xbox adopters and future adopters to come. so start giving microsoft their just due credit for the good that they are doing now and stop hating on them for what someone else did (don mattrick). this is a new xbox and they are giving the most between the 3 companies.
@headblackman u had me til u said this.... "and they are giving the most between the 3 companies. " Nope. Sorry. disagree vote for you sir. P.S. +1 bubble for the rest which I agree with.
Where are the new IPs?
@ headblackman ... ya, and that is why we give MS so much shit for it! We all KNOW they have enough money to build new Ip's and studios... Yet they chose not to. MS does have loads, and I mean LOADS of IP's that they have just hung up on the shelf and done nothing with. Instead they have relied on the same core ip's Halo, gears, forza and fable and then they have wasted money securing timed exclusives that add little value to the overall xbox brand. Now they are starting to talk about all this investment in new IP's and all that but is that going to be their longterm plan, or is it just something they are saying now to try and win back those xbox fans like myself who have given up on them. Once we all think they are doing such a great job and "jump in" again, will they keep it up or by the end of this gen will we be left wondering why we supported them. Phil is doing the job needed to be done right now and saying what needs to be said to get our attention, will it hold? will they stay this course? or will some other guy take over like DM and completely reverse it all?
Phil and the xbox team are doing what the should do, and thats supply great content for it's brand. It was already noted of growing their original ip/first party division, as well as securing great 3rd party deals... We already have great examples of that, with much in the works (I'm sure). I don't care how a game is brought about, as long as it interest me. I don't play, or buy every game made available on these consoles (that include nutured games). And just about all these games (included the ones from the nutured studios) are sold back when completed, or not by the gaming communities... Ms just needs to keep doing what they are, and thats bring continued, and original content. They are spending money just like it's competition... There is nothing offensive here.
I would love to see a few more Original IP's on the XB1. I don't care who makes them.
Yup this method never works......didnt work for sony at all back in the day....yup total fail.....
I think Microsoft should give me money... Please..
Unless it's part of a larger long term strategy which includes an increased utilization of first party studios. If this was their only plan and all that they were banking on, yes failure imminent. I don't think for a second that this is anything more then an attempt to sprinkle a little more sugar over the system. It takes time to create games a and rather then focus on those available in 2015 (and beyond!!....BEYOND!! Lol) they are putting clear emphasis on those coming this year. I have no doubt more game announcements are down the road. There are way to many sensationalist articles predicting doom and gloom for the Xbox one. This console generation is just beginning and MOST gamers have not even made the switch to next gen yet. Calm down people.
MS has no where near the publishing power that Sony does so they have to buy games like Dead Rising 3, Titanfall, and Tomb Raider in order to compete. It's a sad state of affairs. 13 years now making consoles and MS still relies on the same old tactics.
maybe if we show em now how we feel about all this they will step up their game to compete with sony on the same level. else this hole debacle will repeat itself over and over until ms drops the ball on consoles forever.
this tactics never pay out. if you leave out one half of the gamers by robbing a title in front of their face its just awful. ROTTR was announced as a multi platform game or at least it was on everybodys mind after the first was too but microsoft decided to do this move. they should finance their own games build their own studios and should show that they are in this industry for the long time business and not just as long as they can buy up some third party games. this is not how a company like microsoft should bring benefit to gaming. they should be a driving wheel and not a lazy break.
The generation has just started so how do you possibly know MS isn't building some of their own new studios? You do know it's possible for them to build new studios and buy up 3rd party games on the side. Also if I remember correct the new Tomb Raider has already been hinted to be timed exclusive so exactly how are MS robbing games in front of gamers faces?
shouldn't ms build these studios as they were thinking hm maybe we need more games and maybe sony has more and oh duh they already have more studios than us. but wait hey we don't need that we have money.. and we have kinect .. sports. sry i had nearly 3 years without exclusives on my 360. i own an x1 but i am not the happy customer i once was.
Considering games take years to develop, why would you wait until the start of a gen to build 1st party studios, especially considering the drought on the 360 before the new systems released?
There is a different person in charge now so maybe Phil has something else in store for Xbox One than just the regular things that happened on the 360. Maybe he will start getting new 1st party studios into the Xbox camp. My point was that no one knows if that's happening or not and you got people running around as if they already know MS plan.
@ThatOne That's a lot of "maybe." All that we do know is that, very recently, the pattern was continued where Xbox, under Phil, wasted (in my opinion) money buying a big name third party timed exclusive that is unlikely to end up being worth it, at the expense of investing in-house. Right now, Xbox is trying to move units (as evidenced by the TR deal). They aren't going to sell people on "maybe" while continuing the unpopular practices that make people hesitate to invest in their system.
This strategy is ok now because they're trying to move consoles. But in the long term I doubt they will be so willing. Especially if it doesn't move a lot of consoles. As time goes on and the gap widens each attempt at this will only cost them more and the third parties will be less and less willing to agree. It's really hard to see this as a long term strategy given the way things are moving between the two companies.
Checkbook... lol, pro spelling
MS Corp has a lot of money sure, but xbox gets a set annual budget to use for games, salaries, R & D, marketing, etc.. These budgets need to be set and approved before hand. So spending money to prevent a third party game on the competitions system is just less money to make exclusives for it self. Or fund exclusives like Ryse, etc. Xone gamers gained nothing from the TR deal and MS still doesn't own the TR IP. They own one TR game....likely for a limited period. It would have been better to build something new, MS only gained one new popular exclusive franchise last gen (Gears...which fell off). Sony built Uncharted, TLOU, and Infamous all last gen. That doesn't include their PS2 and PS1 exclusives like GOW, GT, Killzone, Etc. Plus there were great smaller games like Journey and Puppeteer. This gen their set to build more new IPs.
Interesting read but I cant help thinking that RROD was a real ommission in this piece. Ok, Sony stumbled at the beginning of last gen but isnt that a rather poor accusation compared to a company who knowingly released a defective console to get ahead of its competition? Fortunately, a company with deep enough pockets to take the financial hit, when the truth was revealed.
Just hope they don't piss off ms corp. I'm pretty sure xbox division has a budget, a really big budget, but you don't want to blow it all at once.
I think you see signs of that when you look at some of the moves they've been making. They blew all of that money on Titan Fall, eventually having to bundle the game for free and doing price drops. TF's failure to move systems made them have to lower the Xbox price. They didn't achieve that by eating the costs of a price drop. They dropped Kinect instead, after spending time and money developing and promoting it. That also meant abandoning their efforts to push Xbox as the center of the living room, switching to a "for gamers" marketing approach. That MS chose to abandon hardware and plans, despite having sank so much money into them, instead of eating the further costs of a price drop hints at the purse strings being cut for the Xbox division. They have to make do with what they have. Flash-forward to the megatons being hyped for E3 and the resulting showing of multiplats and CGI, and you get the sense that Xbox division doesn't have the same power to money-hat that they once did. Buying "timed" exclusivity for TR, a game begging to not launch on PS4 at the same time as Uncharted, is more a feeble attempt by MS to keep up an appearance of being their former selves and a waste of money than evidence that they retain their ability to money-hat away any game that they want.
Perhaps it is due to the culture at Microsoft, and the reasons why they got into console gaming in the first place. I thought it was due to the fear of SONY and Apple beating them to 'controlling the living room' or something like that.
Sony more than Apple. Apple wasn't really a thing for MS to be concerned with back then. Sony was actively promoting the PS line as a center of the living room product, and that had been MS goal for a long time before Sony ever entered the console scene. Before the Xbox, they even partnered with Sega to create the UI and some of the networking back end for the dreamcast. Ironically, while they were so worried about the living room, they were complacent in the PC world, not noticing the trend that Apple pushed into the mainstream where people were leaving the PC behind in favor of mobile computing. That put them years behind and really hurt their profit margins up until today.
They just give me more reasons all the time to really dislike their brand. If I had any ideas of getting an Xbox One at some point, I know I certainly don't want one right now.
You analyst are all funny. They have a budget yes. But buying 3rd party exclusives is a very smart investment!!!! instead of investing in handhelds that financially don't succeed, services that cost $300 mil that really is a risky business, and other games that really don't make the company any money and would b lucky if they even break even. To top it off,Sony is in fincncial crisis posting profits of tens of thousands compared to micrsofts $800 mill just off xbox and other services.
Great article. I was a multi-console owner last gen and I loved my x360. Up until the tail end of the generation it was my preferred console of choice for multiplatform games. The only real criticism I can level at MSFT centers around their resistance to funding wholly new IPs and their heavy reliance on third party exclusives. The age of a million and one Sony 1st party exclusives has gone but they still fund a bunch of 1st party studios and projects. I've always wondered why MSFT have never done this. With their war chest they could own every generation from the 360 on. I think that would benefit gamers more than spending who-knows-how-much on Tomb Raider.
Money talks, period! Why create new stuff when you can buy it and do as you wish.
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