Xbox boss says backwards compatibility can help with the uncertain future for single-player games

Original Xbox backwards compatibility coming to Xbox One was one of the highlights of Microsoft's press conference at E3 2017. But why is the company adding this feature and why now? Xbox head Phil Spencer explained one of the reasons in an interview with Giant Bomb, and his answer traces itself back to the increasingly popular "games as a service" model:

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deadfrag160d ago ShowReplies(19)
masterfox160d ago

"uncertain future for single-player games" <--- And this is why I really don't care for the xbox that much because this way of thinking of MS, this gaming industry is as big now because those games, because of the single player experience and not because a twelve year old prick screaming to your ear in a COD match.

KionicWarlord222160d ago

Phil is right. Online games dominate single player games this generation. There are less games made that are single player from last generation as well as sold. Streaming services such as twitch or youtube are dominated by cooperative and pvp games.

The top publishers of this generation all have released less single player games this generation.

The top multiplatform games this fall have multiplayer in.

Its not some conspiracy.

masterfox160d ago

"Phil is right." <--- Yeah because PS4 is at number one spot because of multiplayer online games right?, and because the PS3 came from last place to beat up the 360 cause of onlines games right ?, even with a cost of $599 the PS3 manage to do a comeback all because online games....hmmm.. yeahh...onlines games. -_-

Sorry my comments are based on facts, Phil credibility is not trustworthy after knowing he was also in the same boat when the xbone was presented.

Razzer160d ago

Any response from Kionic other than "Phil is right" would have kicked me out of my chair.

trooper_160d ago (Edited 160d ago )

You will agree with anything he says huh? He could say the skies green and you would agree.

Some of the best games ever made were single player. There's nothing wrong with a mix between multiplayer and single player games.

You guys....are un-freaking-believable.

_-EDMIX-_160d ago

Not really.

Star Wars Battlefront moved 14 million yes, but its player base was pretty much gone within months.
Star Wars Battlefront 2 added a single player mode.

So I'd argue, more games are seeking to be SP or have a SP mode or even remove a MP mode.

Remember Evolve?

Its too much of a hit or miss and many games are failing trying to chase Call Of Duty.

The industry is overwhelmingly more SP then MP and I'd argue MP is getting harder to sell then ever before.

TheCommentator160d ago

Just look at GTA V as an example of where gaming is going. MP is king in GTA, which is why it sucks when devs go where the money is.

bouzebbal160d ago

Uncharted 4 says hi..
Next question ?

How did titanfall 1 do ??
I thought so too !!

UCForce160d ago

@TheCommentator But GTAV has Single Player.

Sirk7x160d ago

There should be a choice. Games like Persona 5, which I am greatly jealous of that I can't play by the way, sold fantastically and was highly rated critically and with consumers. Good single players games still captivate gamers. Look and Breath of the Wild and Horizon for example. After this E3, I realized that Microsoft is giving us absolutely SHIT to play.

TKCMuzzer160d ago (Edited 160d ago )

Look how much the Uncharted series has sold, God Of War and now Horizon, The Last Of Us and so on, i mean even games the like of Witcher 3, gamers want single player games, stop denying it because it makes Xbox look bad. They are failing in that area very badly, just admit it, it's not good enough, you buy the hardware, they should supply the software. You and many are so quick to shoot Sony down for not allowing cross play in Minecraft yet you can't have a go at Microsoft for not providing decent games for their own hardware, its just constant deflection from the real issues regarding your console. Maybe you want cross play so you can convince yourself it adds value to 3rd party games, therefore justifying buying an Xbox.
The only thing I wish is that the Forza Horizon team would jump ship, make a game for the PS4 and get the recognition they deserve along with the sales, it's the only game I want from the Xbox library, but I wouldn't take it over Horizon, GOW, Uncharted, Last Of Us etc

Angeljuice160d ago

"Online games dominate single player games this generation."

Not in my house, not by a long shot. SP games get 10x as much play as online.
I played a lot more MP games last gen.

GamesMaster1982159d ago

And why do you think xbone is selling like crap compared to sony and nintendo because of the lack of single player games on the thing. The people have spoken and want single player games. If microsoft carrys on the way it is xbox will be dead in a few years and microsoft will just focus on pc.

rainslacker159d ago (Edited 159d ago )

No. SP games still sell more overall than MP games.

The "uncertain future" Phil speaks of is one of their own devising, because they lack the confidence to take the risk to make a compelling SP game, and lack the ability to market it thus it doesn't sell, thus it makes it look like SP games have less impact.

But then you go to Sony, and they have games like UC, TLOU, Horizon, etc, which sell in the millions. While any one of those games may not outsell a COD or BF, those MP games are extreme examples of how much the typical game sells.

The highest selling game on consoles is GTA. It sold more than any MP game when it was a SP game.

MS wants MP games to be the future, because it gives them what they want without having to upset the overall consumer. MP has ongoing revenue streams, which is what publishers want, but the whole MP is taking over is a myth the same way that digital is overtaking physical is a myth.

To put it in perspective, there are more SP games being released now than there ever have been. More games release with each successive generation than have released in the one's before. MP is making it's way, but it is not making the future of SP uncertain. The only uncertainty is if MS has the talent and desire to actually capitalize on the market the way that Sony, Nintendo, and countless other publishers do.

Chevalier159d ago

Lets take a look at the top million sellers this year so far.

Nier Automata
Persona 5
Horizon Zero Dawn
Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild
Mario Kart
Resident Evil 7
Mass Effect Andromeda
Ghost Recon
For Honor

Notice anything? They all feature SP modes prominently.

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KionicWarlord222160d ago

Ps4 is definitely selling well because of multiplayer games. I dont know why you would even question that. Look at all the games from indies to third party that have been coop or pvp Sony has made sure to highlight them from Rocket league to Destiny.

There numbers in community and sales speak volumes.

Look at the exclusive dlcs and marketing deals Sony has. The vast majority of those games are multiplayer focus.

UCForce160d ago

Ok, Horizon Zero Dawn 2.6 million units in weeks. Like I said, Phil lost faith of SP Game.

Razzer160d ago

And yet single player is still successful.

_-EDMIX-_160d ago

LMFAO! Marketing deals? That is the best you can come up with?

Yet you are not talking about this major L?

tontontam0160d ago

You don't seem to understand the situation, people will surely buy mp games but the question is on what platform?

Trez1234160d ago

I really think some in the Xbox camp don't understand gaming at all and that's why they are where they are. Multiplayer games sell more but single player games are very important in gaming and to say otherwise is just....odd. they basically tell you that they wanna make money instead of giving you new single player experiences and you think it's a good thing for gamers ?

If Sony, Bethesda, S enix etc.. still bringing single player games on the table I'm sure microsoft could do the same but they choose not to. So this dying crap is just microsoft wanting that EA, Ubi, Activision's money and nothing else.

If you 100% into multiplayer than fair enough but gamers with even just a little interest in single player games will choose the console that offers them both multiplayer and single player of the highest quality. Just like Sony, Nintendo, you have to call microsoft out when they trying to change gaming for the worse.

Sirk7x160d ago

I looked up best selling PS4 games globally, and there were 40 single player games (some had multiplayer elements) that sold over 1 million.

TKCMuzzer160d ago

Please tell me, yourself, Darth and Moldy work for MS, this would at least give some credibility to why you support the lack of support for your console of choice.

AmUnRa160d ago

Stop every comment you make shows how full of sh*t you are.
Singleplayer games ARE important. Look at how good singleplayer focust games have been selling on the PS4, last example is Horizon, over 3.000.000.
You are delusional.

trooper_160d ago

Its selling well because of name recognition and its powerful collection of exclusive games, both of which have single player/multiplayer offerings.

Oh, and real variety, unlike the nonsense Microsoft has been spoon feeding you guys for years.

And they sell very well.

You should demand more.

mcstorm159d ago

Ucforce I see what you are saying but how many copy's did cod, bf sell with small sp. MP games are what drive sales now. Yes some spare games sell well like UC but no where near the numbers of the big MP games this gen and last gen is dominated by the yoy MP games and the numbers prove this

rainslacker159d ago

So long as there is a market for both SP and MP, both will continue to exist. The SP community hasn't dwindled, it has increased along with the MP community. Gaming as a whole is on the rise.

This isn't a scenario where there can be only one, and SP games will become few and far between. There is too much creativity in the industry for this to be the case likely within our life times.

All MS is saying here is the uncertainty of the future of SP on the Xbox platform and nothing else. If MS doesn't want to make those kinds of games, then that's their prerogative, and they shouldn't be trying to satisfy those who want SP experiences with BC. BC is old games. People want new games. BC isn't going to keep people's SP need satiated. MS has no say in how the market proceeds elsewhere. If they want to ignore the market that exists, then they can stay content in their position of selling half the competition...and likely, over time, it'll only get worse for them until suddenly theyre all about SP games again, or they just leave the market.

This is MS problem. They don't cater to a diverse audience. They cater to that audience which can derive the most profit. They design their games based on focus testing, not on creativity. People who believe the way you do are not doing MS any favors. It's fine if you prefer MP, or think that MP games are taking over. But to sit there and say MS doesn't need to make a future for these games on their system instead of just letting that future dwindle is what's going to put them in an ever increasing state of wondering why they aren't doing so well.

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danny818160d ago

I got into video games because of COD 4 and halo 3 multiplayer. I'm sorry but the industry blew up even more after that wholeness multiplayer hype

dilbig5160d ago

So you don't care about anything actually going on in the game? Just "I'm gonna shoot this guy, and that guy"? That's lame tbh. That's one reason Overwatch got boring after awhile.

xX-oldboy-Xx160d ago

you're either late to the game or very young. The backbone of the industry is single player games. It's what the industry was built on. Yes, multiplayer is great - but single player games are still relevant. This is another case of MS not knowing their ear from their asshole. Shameful Phil.

Sirk7x160d ago

So you like shooters. There are many others who like RPGs, competitive fighters, action-adventure games, horror, novelized, survival, racing, etc. A good console to support with money should have decent choices for all types of gamers. Online shooters tend to sell the best, but it'd get boring pretty quick if that was the only thing out there.

SolidGear3159d ago

I got into video games because of the NES in 1990. A million years before all that noise :3

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tontontam0159d ago

That is how they think because xbox owners only plays mp games.

EatCrow159d ago (Edited 159d ago )

I hate hearing the worst case scenario brought up with multiplayer games every freaking time
"a twelve year old prick screaming to your ear in a COD match"

Can we maybe play other multiplayer games then? Mute? Ignore? Block?
Play with a group of friends, etc. Many many ways to get by without hearing those 12 year olds.

And yes gaming got big because of singleplayer but lets not forget the mutliplayer folks.
Goldeneye, quake, Team fortress, Perfectr Dark, Neverwinter Nights, mario party, smash bros, conkers bad fur day, halo1? list goes on.

Multiplayer games made gaming big too. Dont discredit it simply because you have your preference.
Your comments are based on half truths and half the facts.

Btw, I prefer singleplayer.

rainslacker159d ago (Edited 159d ago )

No one is forgetting them. But it's like the whole physical vs digital argument. One side is fine with them coexisting. The other side seems to think there can be only one, and one is on the way out and those who partake in the old are stupid or can't accept they're on the losing side.

No one thing really made gaming big. Gaming is an ever evolving technology and consumer product. It changes often. We went from SP, to MP in couch co-op, to SP with a MP element, to online co-op, to SP with heavy MP additions, to MP MT being applied to SP, to MP only games, to SP with MP additions not getting MP on sequeals, to MP only games gettinng SP campaigns, so on and so forth.

There is no one reality, just like there will be no one discrete future.

To me, SP games do not have an uncertain future any more than the entire gaming industry does, because things change. All I see is Spencer trying to justify what is likely a future lack of SP focused games coming from them in the future. This is the 2nd such comment from him in the past month. It doesn't bode well, and it's almost insulting that he feels that BC will somehow save future SP games as a general principal.

Edit: While my comment may seem contentious, I'm not actually arguing against what you say.

EatCrow158d ago

I agree with your comment. Not bothered by it one bit.

Of course they can and should coexist. I dislike the argument some people keep regurgitating against multiplayer though. Ignoring how many fond memories multiplayer has given the industry and gaming.

But it stands that singleplayer games are more risky now then before. Simply because of their longevity and the success of multiplayer focused games. Perhaps what MS is doing under Phil is find ways to fund the singleplayer games... Money from BC may help in that department also money from game pass. Who knows.

I obviously disagree with them being on the way out since more are still coming.

Only time will tell how Microsoft plans to tackle singleplayer games... But as has been for a while now... Their focus will likely stay with multiplayer like it has been. Nothing has changed.

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Angainor7160d ago (Edited 160d ago )

"Uncertain Future For Single-Player Games" 

Really?? Horizon: Zero Dawn/Uncharted 4/God Of War 4
U better change yr way of thinking

SegaGamer160d ago

Yeah, i can't agree with him here. The best games this gen are single player games.

If backwards compatibility helps with anything, it's that it keep our library of games safe from being lost forever.

DARKKENT159d ago

You all need to see the reason why he says this

Phil's smart,he knows Microsoft lacks first party studios,and it's not something you can just go out and do,it takes years,decades even...Sony and Nintendo have that.

And what genre of exclusives from Nintendo and Sony usually get released?.....of course single player games.

So Phil's way of trying to combat this is flocking the sheep together and trying to make them believe that single player games are a dying breed.

It's quite clever but really damaging to the gaming industry, because if people start to believe this crap Phil is saying the single player games category could very Well start to take a hit.

Remember this is the same Phil that said power isn't everything,now he can't stop talking about Xbox one x specs over it's rivals.

This is the same Phil that said it's not all about sales,then when Xbox won like 4 months in a row he put out a tv ADVERT claiming Xbox one is the best selling console.

This man is like a evil genius but not as smart.

SmielmaN159d ago

Phil is lost. Guy is clueless.

PhoenixUp160d ago

Uncharted 4 has multiplayer

UCForce160d ago (Edited 160d ago )

Yes, but it wasn't their priority focus. I think it's about balance between SP and MP.

PhoenixUp160d ago

Obviously but it still doesn't seem right to see it listed alongside other single player only games

OmnislashVer36160d ago

That's because it's mainly a single player game.

PhoenixUp160d ago

It can also be mainly for multiplayer. Naughty Dog provided awesome effort to both modes

Razzer160d ago

Which shows you games don't have to be either/or as Spencer wants us to believe.

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Jeff257160d ago

Don't forget Spider-Man. It is SP only as well. That is probably my most anticipated title for next year.

RevXM160d ago

Lmao can you even imagine a multiplayer Spiderman game you'd rather play than a Singleplayer spiderman game?

What if in 3 years sony announce a another exclusive spiderman game, but it is multiplayer only?
Okay so only 1 player can be spider man? how many players? How many characters? how many teams? balancing issue?
Imagine freeroaming Manhattan (or wherever Spiderman is) with 60 screaming 12 year olds all playing as spiderman fucking around. Yeah no thanks. "Uncertain future for SP games"

Jeff257160d ago

I actually could imagine a co-op Spider-Man game and it would probably work fairly well. Could have multiple versions of Spider-Man like in Edge Of Time. Add in Spider-Gwen and Miles Morales. But if you're talking competitive MP yeah that wouldn't work.

Germaximus159d ago

As well as Nier; Automata, inFamous: Second Son, and some others I'm probably forgetting at the moment.

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KionicWarlord222160d ago (Edited 160d ago )

Phil Spencer is very smart for trying to add certain OG Xbox games on the platform that are single player people can play but ultimately this will not help the overall domination of online games.

Theres no way single player games will ever return to a balance level in sales or even popularity ever again.

I think people on N4G need to go look at the AAA games we have had over the last 4 years. Even indies that have come to your system.

These games have created cooperative and pvp communities while the online services PSN/XBL have increase features to accommodate for the influx in social gaming.

UCForce160d ago

Then what ? He will ditch the future of SP Games. You and him are losing faith of SP game.

bluefox755160d ago

Was there ever anything that Phil said or Microsoft did that you didn't like or agree with?

tyasia0160d ago

That's a good strategy if you want to be third out of three consoles. I mean If people want single player games from previous generations why would you assume they don't want modern single player games. That entire logic is flawed.

PS4 is selling tons of single player games and they are selling consoles at record pace. Switch has single player focus and it's selling so fast they can't keep them on the shelves meanwhile Xbox sales have been dwindling for the last 18 months even with BC. And the fact that PS4 software sales are nearly 4x as much as Xbox should really tell you this strategy is wrong.

The real reason Phil is saying this is to damage control because Xbox doesn't have any single player games.

KionicWarlord222160d ago

You do realize that what im talking about isnt a Microsoft strategy right? This stuff is happening on both systems.

Software attach ratios are not tied to single player games over multiplayer. Thats nonsense. The top games selling games of 2016 were

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
Battlefield 1
The Division

These games are heavily multiplayer and cooperative play focus.

Lol its not a conspiracy even overwatch became a billion dollar franchise in the same year it released

UCForce160d ago

@KionicWarlord222 What about Evole and Gears 4 ? Those MP focus didn't help the sales neither.

tyasia0160d ago

Kionic, Let me just use this as an example what is more 1,000,000 or 11x100,000? You don't have to sell a lot of one game to make money.

And please keep it in mind that none of those games you listed are Microsoft games, so Sony by virtue of having more consoles is selling more copies of those games and making more money. And Sony is selling more consoles by offering a wider variety of games. and that variety in and of itself equals software sales.

And it is Microsoft strategy to focus on multiplayer Phil has said it himself over and over.

yomfweeee160d ago

Look at the game of the year winners for the past 10 years.

Look at the Sony exclusives that have driven them to smash Microsoft.

Look at Nintendo's games that keep people coming back to their underpowered system.

Spencer is clueless.

r2oB160d ago

I love how some Xbox fanboys ridicule Sony for the lack of cross play, calling it anti consumer, blowing it out of proportion, not understanding the business and politics behind it.

But when Phil Spencer mentions the uncertainty of single player games, they understand the business and politics behind it. They say that it doesn't make business sense to support something that may not bring in the revenue stream the company wants. Really?

So backwards compatibility would be a better solution to resolving an uncertain single player experience than releasing awesome single player games?

I'd like to see the Xbox community that was insisting PS4 gamers be vocal with Sony about cross platform play, buckle up and take their own advise. Be vocal with Microsoft to bring certainty to the future of single player games, by releasing more single player AAA games that wow us.

DaGreatOne160d ago

Oh that will never happen though.

Trez1234160d ago

Exactly, I want crossplay so I think sony is wrong there but I just can't believe how some Xbox could actually think what's Phil is saying is ?

Ps2 played ps1 games and when I moved to ps2, I hardly played ps1 games because ps2 offered " new" arguably better experiences. Same with ps3. But now microsoft wanna make this BC thing to be the reason why you they won't be bringing new single player games and some think it's a good idea ? Good for Microsoft but 100% not good for Xbox gamers or gaming In general.

blackblades160d ago (Edited 160d ago )

No he's really dumb, all I heard this week was shit that comes out of his mouth. Why the hell ya keep defending the things he say. You guys call yourself gamers come on.

MainstreamGamer160d ago

What do you expect? They are a bunch of shills. I wouldn't be surprised if KionicWarrior is some sales guy working for MS.

BIGBOSS08160d ago

Of course you would say that! He could piss on your face and stuff his shit down your nose and throat and you would call him smart for it.

TKCMuzzer160d ago

Credit, I didn't think any individual could make so many poor comments on one article and at the same time accrue so many disagrees. At some point you must question what you are typing surely, then again I imagine you are typing these comments on a Surface Pro that has the best keyboard to ever be created.


You need to go look at the AAA games this year! RE7, nioh, nier, zelda, persona 5, horizon are SP and are the best games this year!

rainslacker159d ago (Edited 159d ago )

You know for the millions of people who like SP games, they don't care about the upswing in MP, nor does MP overtake what they want. Plus, there are more SP games to play nowadays than there ever have been.

BC is a nice addition to play some older SP games, but pales in comparison to the excitement SP gamers get for new games, just like the MP gamer does.

Just so you know, SP games sell more than they ever have. Games in general sell more than they ever have. Stop with your idiotic hyperbole spewing facts which just aren't true.

If MS decides to simply use BC to supply the SP gamer, then they have already failed, or they've become content with their lack of innovation and don't give a rats ass about competiting in the game market. All they want to do is captialize on the ongoing revenue stream that MP games can bring in, and eventually have users for their live service so they can impress their investors.

Good news for the Xbox fans in general wouldn't you say? Nothing to look forward to from MS but some MP games, and a bunch of old SP games to play? Good times. Great time to be an Xbox gamer wouldn't you say? I can see why Xbox gamers are so excited for the Scorpio.

What's ironic, is that another article about Sony holding back the industry, they were all in there saying this was the case because of cross play, but MS having doubts about the future of SP, and with each passing statement it becoming clear that MS is probably going to invest less in them, you are lauding them as right and if pushed, I bet you would think they are moving forward.

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Razzer160d ago (Edited 160d ago )

Translation:. Story based single player games are coming to an end on Xbox.

Reality: Story based single player games will be widely available on non-Xbox consoles as always.

Bottom line: Microsoft want to sell services like Azure to other developers. That is where they will make money going forward. Not with games, but cloud services. The longer a game is running on their services the more revenue they generate.

160d ago Replies(3)
U_R_Weirdos160d ago (Edited 160d ago )

With the way phil handles xbox i believe either his job as the head of xbox or xbox at a whole will come to an end.