Phil Spencer On Xbox Long-Term Strategy: More First Party Titles & Fewer Third Party Deals

As you probably know, Phil Spencer will take to the stage in Gamescom and introduce the world to several upcoming Xbox One games such as ScaleBound, Crackdown and the highly anticipated Quantum Break. All of this is less than a week away but that doesn’t mean the head of Microsoft’s gaming division is taking it easy right now.

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TheGreatGamer1176d ago

Dropping deals like the COD dlc and instead focusing on first party games is a good move

Abash1176d ago

Microsoft didn't "drop" any deal, in fact MS responded to Activision switching the deal to PS4 by saying "We saw it coming".

Whether Phil Spencer truly wants to focus less on third party deals, the fact of the matter is that publishers want to make those deals on the more popular console. You know where the money is, it's just business. That's why so many of them have gone to the PS4 in the past year

MCTJim1176d ago

He said “we were expecting the announcement” and that more people still play Call of Duty games on the Xbox platform.

shloobmm31176d ago

It's highest bidder. In no world does Sony simply outbid MS unless MS lets them.

Pogmathoin1176d ago

BS.... Even when 360 launched, Sony was dominant..... Sony are paying for these deals... Sony are doing what made MS successful last time.... MS may start acting like Sony... Its a cycle... Get over this holier than though Sony bolloxs... They want your dollar.... It seems you lot giver the more than that.... Damn sailors...

1176d ago
Rookie_Monster1176d ago (Edited 1176d ago )


"the fact of the matter is that publishers want to make those deals on the more popular console."

Then how do you explain MS still has marketing deals for Madden with a Madden Bundle incoming?

Satyre281176d ago (Edited 1176d ago )

@Abash.. You are so wrong its not even funny lol. I love how you guys think that just because the PS4 has more sales companies are just gonna give them exclusive rights to DLC etc. Is that why Fallout probably the biggest game of this year and probably going to be one of the best games this entire generation has marketing rights with the Xbox? Its about money, stop being such a dumb ignorant fanboy and realize that money is king in this world, Sony has to pay just as much as MS does for this deals.

NeoGamer2321176d ago

That is bs. The publishers will make the deals with whoever offers them the best overall financial compensation.

It is business. Console sales r only one part of the compensation.

dkp231176d ago

If ms wanted the deal they could hav it. Sony doesn't outbid ms in anything

donthate1176d ago


I think MS saw the consistent decline of Call of Duty, they decided to drop that turd and focus on quality games instead.

I'm glad MS did too as we are seeing a steady stream of first party/second party exclusive games and massive amount of features coming to Xbox One.

Money, resources and talent well spent!!! :D

AngelicIceDiamond1176d ago

If MS put in their first party the same way they put in third party last gen then it will be damn near marathon of games from MS.

Septic1175d ago


How do you know Sony didn't approach Activision with money? How do you know the switch wasnt mutual? Microsoft deciding that the deal ran its course?

freshslicepizza1175d ago (Edited 1175d ago )

what phil spencer elaborates on is the troubling aspect of this industry. he talks about cross buy where you purchase one piece of software that allows you to play it on various devices.

this should be the common goal, to get people to play games on as many devices as possible. some people act like the more xbox games go to the pc the less interesting the xbox is. that isn't true at all because you are looking at it from the perspective that exclusives somehow make your experience better. it doesn't. why would gears of war going to the pc somehow make your previous enjoyment on the xbox worse? what it does is allows easier access so that more people can enjoy the games.

and if people just want to play games on the pc there wouldn't be a console market is not correct at all. but there is a healthy console market and it's not to do with exclusive games, it's because some people like playing games on an all-in-one box for a decent price. just like how some people still like playing portable devices for their gaming. the market is there for all to survive and exclusive deals don't need to be there to keep the market going. so there really is no need to exclude others

GameNameFame1175d ago

Bigger emphasis on first party. Yet, there are weaker compared to last gen.

Sony has been buying first party devs. MS is barely replacing devs that have left. and replacing with lower quality ones too.

Paying for timed exclusivity. Paying devs temporary. like TR, Dead Rising, Ryse, Titanfall, Scalebound and SO MUCH MORE.

THat doesnt sound like long term first party. That sounds like last gen MS, we will have good exclusives for 1-2 years and stop renewing deals.

BubbsyKong1175d ago

Actually if you look at steam sales its gone their... :p and gues whos replacing the steam machein? Microsoft.. When DayZ amd Ark Survival Evolved hit the xbone LMAO its gunna be a game changer. I LOVE both consoles as I always state but IMO xbox is the only console bringing true next gen featurez with cross platform builds and total intagration of all their systems and games to come, where the ps4 is a ps3 with better graphics and party chat.

Why o why1175d ago

Sony fans have been saying this for years.......we're trolling, Phil says it and its glee time. Wtf

It was always about internal games that cant be taken away... 3rd party games are the icing on the cakes.....first party, your foundations and legacy

poor_cus_of_games1175d ago

Yeah bubbys never played a ps4 before with that very stupid comment "where the ps4 is a ps3 with better graphics and party chat"

Haru1175d ago


Sony has a exclusive deal for Star wars too just like Call of duty, you didn't really think that EA would let their big holiday money maker be associated with the less popular console did you? xbone has less than half install base of PS4

dirkdady1175d ago

Wrong, it's all about opportunity cost. When 360 was more popular in America activision could be happy with $20 million (arbitrary number) to exclusive DLC for a month. However since the ps4 is 2:1 to Xbox 1 the opportunity cost is significantly higher for MS meaning the price could be now $40 million (arbitrary number) for activision to even consider going with Xbox.

With Sony proving with destiny activision sees a win-win in partnering with Sony on COD and probably offered them a much lower price tag on exclusivity.

Death1175d ago


Where are you getting your 2:1 numbers for America? In North America the two consoles are pretty close.

TheXgamerLive1175d ago (Edited 1175d ago )

Wrong. MS chose to not push for a new deal. Do you think MS didn't have the funds lol. They did as expected and as spoken per Phil. This was a decision made last year and that joke post your refearing to was NOT an official statement as to anything. Seriously small minded fanboys like yourself can't handle ANYTHING pro MS ya just gotta whine don't ya. Well enjoy the games and stop winning. Its all good for every gamer right now.

r2oB1175d ago

@ death

He said the Xbox 360 was more popular in America, which made it easier to get deals. He is saying now the PS4 is leading 2:1 (worldwide), I'd be more expensive for Microsoft to obtain those same types of deals.

@ BubsyKong

Most of what you said makes Xbox One feel more next gen, Sony gamers have been experiencing for a while. Cross buy, cross play, cross save, remote play, same network streaming, are all features PS4 gamers are familiar with.

Seafort1175d ago


Microsoft isn't replacing the steam machine as there is nothing to replace yet. They still have to prove themselves to PC gamers that they actually want to support the PC platform instead of trying to force us to use the Xbox Live crap on Windows 10. (I've already removed the Xbox app on my PC).

DayZ and ARK are still PC exclusives till they launch on consoles sometime next year. You do realise that PS4 are getting these games too right?

I don't really want cross platform play with Xbox gamers as we are totally different players and want different things. Microsoft tried cross platform on Xbox360 but they removed it in the end as it gave KB/M PC gamers an unfair advantage over the gamepad.

Pogmathoin1175d ago

After the disaster that was the X1 announcement, if you made a list of things that should change at MS, correcting many things, you would have a big list. And there was, and one by one, MS has made positive changes.. Each one has been met with more negative thrash from Sony Fanboys.... First party is the big thing on this, Sony fans always complained how 3rd party deals is bad for the industry, but now MS are making positive moves on first party, and Sony fans gloat about 3rd party deals.... Which has led to this mental image of Sony fan boys....

Why o why1175d ago


Ms and the x1 are definitely a more gamer friendly entity now. What you've misconstrued is that many fans outside of ms bemoaned their lack of first party courage. They relied heavily on 3rd parties. We've seen that for 2 generations straight. Phil is doing the right thing and addressing what many 'fanboys' were in denial about. Take the flack and those downplaying should ease up and give credit for what phil plans to do. Time will tell if ms can last a whole gen and take a few more risks. Lets see how it goes before we chastise or celebrate

jebabcock1175d ago

Lets take a closer look at MS actions because from what I am seeing, they are blatantly throwing in the towel with the X1... Not throwing the towel in for the Xbox brand or gaming, but Definitely for the X1.

MS is actually trying to shift towards PC gaming and away from console. All their recent efforts point to this... Hololens/VR/Real Cloud enhanced gaming and pretty much every new technology they are working on is being pushed heavily for pc with little to no mention of even a possibility of X1 compatibility. DX12 is primarily directed at PC gaming. Who the hell wants to stream a console game to a PC? Stream a PC game to a console? that would have been awesome and made sense. A system that allows me to play my pc games in my living room easily! cool! MS wants you back in front of your PC though so getting you to play your console games from your PC is a no brainer from their perspective. With the 360 they almost completely stopped making games for the PC and had at least timed exclusive MS games on the 360 first. With the X1 now the big deal is that X1 games will release simultaneously on the PC. The push for their apis used to be port your PC games to the 360 with ease. Now it is Port your X1 games to PC with ease.
Complete abandonment of the kinect is wierd if you are aggressively supporting a console. It was supposed to be the crowning piece of the system. Now nothing pretty much uses it and it doesn't even get any real mention at E3.

They want to focus back on making PC games(Phil's statement about shifting back to first party games). They want a piece of the STEAM pie, and they are ultimately already hedging their bets with the X1. All the cues are there. As a game developer for the PC, 3rd party alliances don't make much sense anymore do they?

Will there be another Console generation? possibly not. It is hard to say. If that is true, then a large chunk of gamers may likely flood back to PC. MS is poising itself to be ready for that next Gen. Nintendo is doing the same thing but with a shift to mobile device compatibility.

The only company that seems to be actively making new Technology for their current console is Sony with Morpheus..

Just note that pretty much every X1 exclusive will be on PC likely day 1 from here on out. So when MS is saying that they are supporting the X1... I suspect that it is more likely that you will be getting polished PC ports from here on out.

It is amazing how Phil spins this to sound like the X1 is getting the attention it needs though. Ultimately, Its not bad for gaming, its just bad for X1 console owners...

I suspect within a year or so, once Windows 10 takes off which I am assuming it will, GWG will start offering PC games and stop giving x360 games.

Watch for a lot of focus on the xbox app and store labeled as integration with Windows 10 with accessibility to PC game purchases as well as X1 purchases.

ShowanW1175d ago (Edited 1175d ago )

$$$ talks over sales...

Its easy to see it was a bidding war... but Microsoft chose not to bid.

U honestly think Sony having more sales can top the check Microsoft can write.

Microsoft has enough capital to purchase all of Sony.

So to think miniscule console sales tops $$$ is naïve

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StrayaKNT1176d ago

Yeah cod deal is a waste of time and money the whole world knows it's a multiplat and most people including me would rather play It with the Xbox one controller anyway. Smart deal dropping that and picking up fallout 4 marketing rights as fallout will be one of the biggest games this year.

I'm also very happy they are focusing on first party games as their games in the past two years have been on another level and things from here are only looking better and better.

christocolus1175d ago

It's the best strategy and I'm sure they learnt their lesson with Ryse. Owning their IPs is the best way forward and Xbox already got a killer 2016 lineup.MS already got a great fighting game (Killer Instinct) but they've got enough time to develop their own third person action adventure game. I wouldn't mind a third person Perfect Dark game or a brand new ip. Xbox needs more games in the Survival horror, Action/Fantasy Adventure, Platforming, Hack n Slash and Rpg (Western&Japanese) genres. They have new studios like Decisive games, LXP etc but they could open even more. if Phil is serious about developing and owning their own IP then they can easily do this with the support of the new CEO.

pivotplease1175d ago

I wouldn't say it was a trade-off to begin with.MS had rights and timed exclusivity with Fallout 3 as well. Remember Operation Anchorage or whatever?

SpaceRanger1176d ago

You see...this is why I've yet to get an Xbox one.

MS have this bad habit of thinking you can only have one or the other. That quality vs quantity argument has no substance because it's possible to have both. They capitalized on 3rd party from the middle to late of last gen. and were trumped my the competition who had WAY more first party support. Now the third party deals have flipped to the competition who APREADY focuses heavily on first party. MS has big franchises that are hits! But they use them so often without any refresh of new IPs.

My opinion:
I'd rather game all year long and have BOTH quantity and quality. I don't need a company telling me that they want to choose one or the other for one part of the year. Maybe they'll convince me one day. But for now, I'm fine with both other consoles of the competition.

shiva11176d ago

I would rather play Halo 5 for one full year or more if the quality is like Halo 3. Dont need COD, BF or any thing else. I will buy all DLC at premium price if they can have that quality. I dont need 100 games spending $1000 and end of day thinkwhat a waste of time and effort from me and company or the game looks like last year version or the graphics are ripped off from some other game.....

Man give me one game and i will be occupied till their next best IP is out.

Septic1175d ago

"You see...this is why I've yet to get an Xbox one. "

What a load of bull. So they focus on first party titles and youre 'upset' that they focus as much on striking deals with third parties? Tired of seeing such fake concern trolling.

Death1175d ago

Make us a list of first party games on the PS4. We are heading into the third holiday season of the next gen and Sony hasn't delivered first party titles like they have in the past. Even Sony says they are lacking in this aspect. If you read their quarterly reports and letters to investors they believe the road to increased profitability is with enhanced services such as PSNow and PSVue.

pivotplease1175d ago

It's not that they don't exist at all though. The first party titles are coming. We've already had a solid amount but obviously not as many as the PS3 was delivering at some points. I was expecting Uncharted 4 and a few new games for this year but it looks like 2016 will be the big year. Although this year is still shaping up to be better than 2014. Fallout 4, Bloodborne, The Witcher 3, and Persona 5? That is a stellar lineup that especially caters to someone like me.

r2oB1175d ago (Edited 1175d ago )

@ Death

As per your request for a list of first party games.

Sony first party games released:
KZ Shadowfall
Infamous SS
MLB 14
MLB 15
GoW 3 RE
Total - 9

Uncharted Collection
Uncharted 4
Tomorrow Children
Every bodies gone to rapture
The last guardian
Total - 8

Microsoft first party games released:
Forza 5
Forza Horizon 2
Killer instinct
Total - 4

Forza 6
halo 5
Gears 4
Gears UE
Sea of Thieves
Fable Legends
Rare collection
Total - 7

EDIT: feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

Ezz20131175d ago


You will only list 1st party exclusives or all Ps4 exclusives ?!

Because you left games like Bloodborne and others.

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IGiveHugs2NakedWomen1176d ago

Focusing on first party games is exactly what they need to do, but they also need to take more risks by creating more new IPs to attract new players to the console.

OpieWinston1176d ago

They've got an treasure trove of Old IPs. When you're sitting on all those possible games, creating new IPs isn't smart.

They can attract new players by just bringing back Rare games.

medman1175d ago (Edited 1175d ago )

Finally, a reply that makes sense. Kudos.

pivotplease1175d ago

Maybe this is blasphemous but I almost wish that Gears became a new franchise utilizing the same engine and gameplay. It looks like a reboot which is fresh in itself but it doesn't look nearly as good as say if you took the characters into a more visceral environment with higher stakes (no armour, etc.). Maybe something like what ND did with the transition from Uncharted to Last of Us. I think it would have been as successful if not more than what they are trying to do now.

miyamoto1176d ago (Edited 1176d ago )

Or... Xbox is going the way of Nintendo... and PlayStation 4 is just being .... PlayStation.
PlayStation "Crash-ed" the Nintendo vs Sega rivalry with more than 200 third party developers on board back in 1994 and its back to that form again after the PS3.

Microsoft should know this fact- that the PS4 manage to outsell the XB1 even with scarce 1st party exclusives.

Another good example to follow is the Xbox 360- it has good 3rd Party support via ease of game development than PS3.

Next time, MS and Nintendo should consult 3rd party developers when doing R&D for their next consoles just like what MArk Cerny did with designing the PS4.

Zeref1176d ago (Edited 1176d ago )

We haven't seen the result of them having no AAA exclusives this year yet. Holidays are going to be interesting indeed. Is Microsoft going to take the US back? It looks very likely.

joab7771176d ago

It wasn't working anymore, just costing money. I'm actually wondering why Sony got it. They already had more CoD players playing.
I am still waiting for the xbone equivalent of Mass Effect. When ot happens, I will have to buy one.

richmoral1175d ago

Them already having more CoD players playing is probably why they got it.

medman1175d ago

Yeah, don't forget Bioshock and Gears. Those were huge for xbox. That isn't going to happen this time around though. Microsoft had more than a years headstart on the ps3, so those deals were much easier to make.

CantBeStopped1176d ago

"Dropping deals" is a nice way to spin losing partnerships.

MRMagoo1231175d ago

exactly, the xbone fanboys can thumb down all they want but MS arent choosing to leave third party behind the companies arent asking MS in the first place.

Death1175d ago

Weren't the Playstation fans the ones last gen complaining about money hatting these deals? Now they are spinning it as being a sign of weakness that the Xbox is "losing" these deals to Sony because it is more popular. Microsoft says they are focusing more on first party content instead of spending on third party exclusive content and deals which is exactly what Playstation fans said needed to be done. Now Playstation fans are laughing they aren't throwing money at third parties. Microsoft is fighting a losing battle aren't they?

grumpygamr1176d ago

Microsoft has the hardware tech ignorant/business non understanding/fact lacking/willing to believe anything they hear as long as it agrees with them/rather assume everyone that doesn't is stupid crowd. Now if they can juse get fans that they can be proud of they will be stoked.

All third party exclusives were a fail. They can't get any real third party games anymore cause it would cost way to much to negotiate a deal that will satisfy publishers enough to not make game for the PS4 juggernaut.

lelo2play1176d ago (Edited 1176d ago )

Sony are becoming Microsoft, with more and more 3rd party deals... and Microsoft are becoming Sony, with more 1st party games.
Microsoft lost the multiplatform war (most people will purchase the PS4 version of multiplat games), so Microsoft has no alternative, they have to invest in more 1st party and exclusives to sell consoles.

Gaming world is changing...

richmoral1175d ago

So true. The funny thing is Microsoft gets bashed for it and Sony gets praised for it. For Microsoft it's like there dammed if they do and dammed if they don't. While with Sony its the exact opposite. I've been coming to N4G for years but rarely ever sign in or comment. I notice this site seems to be ran by Playstation fans for the most part. Personally though I think Microsoft had the most exclusives for the first half of the Xbox360's life though. Back when they were getting JRPGs. They tried for Japan and still they wouldn't buy the system. It's no wonder this gen they haven't even really tried with Japan.

MRMagoo1231175d ago

Sony have more 1st and third party so no.

grumpygamr1175d ago Show
Magicite1176d ago

-In other words, MS will give up on wasting money for useless 3rd party deals, that bring them more loss, than profit.

-And we will see Halo and Forza every year...oh wait, we already do.

FlexLuger1175d ago

Been busy giving yourself bubbles, I see...Dimitri.

"And we will see Halo and Forza every year...oh wait, we already do."

Riiiight. And we see recore, crackdown, scalebound, quantum break, below, inside and ashen every year right? SSOD and ori are games that Xbox players play every year...Oh...wait...

Veneno1175d ago (Edited 1175d ago )

As with any company that really truly wants to succeed after struggling, the situation will get worse before it gets better. MS is changing its strategy completely. They have to cut losses with what doesn't work and put more investment in new strategies, which may not show signs of success right away, but they must see to it that they tried something different before scrapping it all over again.

I hope Phil and MS are smart enough to know this, because as we've seen ever since MS came into the console scene that they are only into making the quick buck instead of crafting their own identity in the industry, which is what is really needed for longevity.

Im not sold on X1 yet but I'm still anxious to see what Ms has planned for new exclusives coming up, whether new IP or revival of older ones. I just want something new to look forward to all the time which is what we should all expect from a big gaming company. It's only fair.

medman1175d ago

Give me a break. Microsoft has no choice. The ps4 is cleaning up in sales, so 3rd party deals become prohibitively expensive. No developer is going to want to miss out on the growing ps4 install base, and the money Microsoft would have to spend to make that happens grows by the day. Stop giving credit where in reality there is no other option. Unbelievable.

TheCommentator1175d ago

Prohibitally expensive... MS has enough cash to BUY SONY, lol.

MS is doing what they feel is most important for their success while Sony sits on their success and forgets that there is a holiday this year that needs 1st party. Why is it okay for Sony to forget about this year, like MS did last year, and make it's E3 about next year and beyond anyways? Whatever, because after Gamescom MS will have next year in the bag too.

dragon821175d ago

If Microsoft could just stroll up and buy Sony they would have already. That is what Microsoft does. It has been this way since the beginning.

grumpygamr1175d ago

Microsoft may have enough money to buy Sony, weird, I wonder why they didn't spend it making a console that can do 1080p graphics without smoking.

medman1175d ago

Right...Microsoft has plenty of that why they continue to layoff workers by the thousands??? people are so stupid.

TheCommentator1175d ago

It's a good thing Sony has been wildly successful over the last decade or they might have had to sell of their PC and phone divisions to get their stock out of the gutter... oh, they did have to sell them? At least their TV's are still selling well... oh, they almost had to sell that too?

Kaz sure knows how to run a business though... wait, what? Ken Kutaragi and several other former Sony execs have talked about voting him out of his position? Mman, is there anything that is actually a success at Sony that is not the Playstation? Well, I think they have a successful real estate branch in Japan...

Sorry I was being so stupid medman. Sony clearly hasn't needed to address any problems of their own recently, and MS obviously has no money lying around to invest in buying out companies(cough Mojang, cough Nokia).

+ Show (2) more repliesLast reply 1175d ago
kaizokuspy1175d ago


MS doesn't have unlimited money. They spent 7 bill on Nokia and pretty much had to write that off as a loss and 2 billion on mojang which they haven't recovered from yet, also the SE timed deal which isn't going to pay what it needs to recuperate their loss on acquiring times exclusivity. MS doesn't have a blank check. With windows 10 and dx12 around the corner, those are the primary accounts that need to succeed in the short term of things to spur long term growth. It's crazy that gamers don't look at companies as a whole and assume they have all this unlimited money when they dont. MS is hurting and on the right path to recovery to pull a profit off their xbox division, but losing third party deals hurt, but I could be wrong. However many like me who switched from 360 to ps4 last gen didn't re buy cod for our ps4 bc black ops 3 is just around the corner. However in the same breath, so is fallout 4, one piece pirate warriors 3, battlefront 2, just a lot of stuff is coming. I'm overwhelmed, fucking games >:)

christocolus1175d ago

"My strategy is more around our own first-party franchises, and investing in franchises that we own, and probably fewer exclusive deals for third-party content," he said. "I want to have strong third-party relations, but paying for many third-party exclusives isn't our long-term strategy."

Awesome news. I have a feeling we will get a western rpg announcement at Gamescom from one of their studios,most likely from Twisted Pixel ,LionHead or Lift. TP had some artwork hidden away in their last game on Xbox One (Lococycle) and MS trademarked the title "Eden Falls" the game is rumored to be in development and Lionhead and Lift might be collaborating on it..

SuicideKing1175d ago

Defintely a good move, especially what you want to hear as a multiple console owner.
Really good interview Phil just seems "real" I guess is how I would put it. Good to hear from him and I am looking forward to Gamescom!

Ch1d0r11175d ago

Why does it have to be one or the other, doing both is best for business. Some companies do both pretty good.

AngeliclceDiamond1175d ago

best deal ever made in gaming history

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Haru1176d ago (Edited 1176d ago )

It's only logical since most 3rd party developers side with Sony now because they have 2x bigger instal base Microsoft has no choice but to rely on first party games, pretty much like PS3 was last gen