Gamereactor spoke at length with Head of Xbox Phil Spencer about first-party software, monetisation, and what The Initiative is actually doing.
"First of all, I would like to say that we haven't acquired ZeniMax. We have announced our intention to acquire ZeniMax. It is going through regulatory approval and we don't see any issues there. We expect early in 2021 the deal will close. But I say that because I want people to know, I'm not sitting down with Todd Howard and Robert Altman and planning their future. Because I'm currently not allowed to do that, that would be illegal. Your question is completely inbound, but I get a lot of questions right now: "is this game exclusive? Is this game exclusive?" And right now, that is not my job in regards to ZeniMax. My job is not to sit down and go through their portfolio and dictate what happens. In terms of what I want long term. I want those amazing studious to create the best games they ever created. That's when Todd and I sat down and had a discussion. Todd and I have known each other for years and years, and we talked about this partnership. We looked each other in the eyes and we said, 'okay, what are we really gonna do here?' And he said, 'I wanna build the best games that I've ever built and I want the support of Microsoft to be able to do that.' And I say the same thing about the studios at Arkane and id Software and Machine Games. I want them to do the most amazing work and support them in doing that." It seems like he's bother by this constant question, but he had to know that this was coming. In any case, if I'm reading this correctly, it's up to Zenimax to decide where there titles go and they're just being funded by MS? I wish he could give a straight forward answer, because he has a history of saying one thing and doing another.
"it's up to Zenimax to decide where there titles go?" Until the deal is sealed (expected by mid-2021 latest), then yes, Phil has already stated any games currently in development, the deals will be honoured. Future titles, may be different but they will look at it on a game by game basis.
But to answer your question of "if I'm reading this correctly, it's up to Zenimax to decide where there titles go and they're just being funded by MS?" No, Zenimax is being acquired by MS (although not yet complete), so any details on games/platforms etc, Microsoft can not change or comment on, as they have not yet been acquired. All current "deals" i.e. ES6 etc will be honored so expect them to be multiplatform. "We have announced our intention to acquire ZeniMax. It is going through regulatory approval and we don't see any issues there. We expect early in 2021 the deal will close." Any future games, will be Microsoft's decision to control and comment on, once the deal is signed and the takeover complete in 2021.
@DJStotty "All current "deals" i.e. ES6 etc will be honored so expect them to be multiplatform." The fact of the matter is that "All current "deals" only includes Death Loop and GhostWire: Tokio. There´s NO deals in place for Starfield and ES6. No supported platforms was even mentioned, not even Xbox. To think that MS paid $7.5 Billion to deliver both DL and GT exclusively on PS5 for a least an year and then go ahead and also release both Starfield and ES6 on PS5, is just be delusional.
You don't purchase a company for 7.5 billion USD and not have control over it's media, exclusivity, etc.
@jin... when the papers are signed... then you will have your answer. It's like buying a house. Until you have the keys in hand, it's not your house.
@Obscure I still fully expect Starfield and ES6 to be multiplatform, the Elder Scrolls fanbase is a large one, and would be silly to miss out on PS5 sales. Starfield may be different as that is a new IP. "To think that MS paid $7.5 Billion to deliver both DL and GT exclusively on PS5 for a least an year and then go ahead and also release both Starfield and ES6 on PS5, is just be delusional." I do not get that statement? As surely having it stay multiplatform would make them the most revenue?
@Darth, I am not awaiting the answer. I am covered no matter what I want to enjoy.
@obscure You're delusional if you think they'll make more money to have ES6 and Starfield go Xbox exclusive. They'll make more money if it's multiplatform 😂
@DJStotty But remember, a couple of weeks ago Phil stated that purpose of this deal was to not purposely keep these games off other platform. So I'm just wondering if MS is going allow Zenimax/Bethesda to still put games on Sony and Nintendo systems.
It's true he doesn't have any real say right now. Once bought Zenimax has no say after words. He's hinted from the start he wants the game only on his systems and PC. Remember MS needs to make that money back they have 70 billion pocketed cash on hand so making up that money is on MS time, a decision made by Phil and the CEO Nadella. Case by case basis is referencing Death loop Ghost Wire (albeit timed) Elder Scrolls Online (future expansions/sequels), Fall Out 76 expansions. The Inevitable Skyrim on Next gen. Only New games like Star field and ES6 will be on Xbox and PC. If Phil wants to be competitive this gen, it just makes no sense to put those games on the competitors platform. Like I said something he's already hinted at.
@mrsolidsteel "Phil stated that purpose of this deal was to not purposely keep these games off other platform." And he is right, but he can not speak as the owner of Zenimax, as they do not own them (yet). He was speaking about games in development right now, so ES6 and starfield (plus anything in progress), which is why he also said future titles (new ip's, etc) they will judge on a game by game basis.
It's hard to take him at is word nowadays.
Where you ever able to?
Well it is not like he lied to you with something ridiculous like "We believe in Generations!"
@dirty Instead we get gems like exclusives are bad for gaming and then go on to buy entire publishers
@Dirty Sony only said that because MS said in a conference that they would allow all future titles to be compatible with all their family of xbox consoles.
@RgR There will be a cross gen window, nobody said anything about all future titles
"Because I'm currently not allowed to do that, that would be illegal." CURRENTLY. What's not clear about it?
" if I'm reading this correctly, it's up to Zenimax to decide where there titles go and they're just being funded by MS? " I can't believe that is what you read here. No, he can't talk about it, because it would be illegal. They did not pay 7,500,000,000 USD to "fund" them.
Pretty simple, the deal with ZeniMax is under normal regulatory review, so isnt final until 2021, so it would be illegal to speak on behalf of ZeniMax about details such as exclusivity of current games they dont own yet. Again its really simple unless you are purposely looking for another answer other than what he said.
“ Again its really simple unless you are purposely looking for another answer other than what he said.” Welcome to N4G
It would be foolish to keep things exclusive right away.. they need to make up that $7.5B hit and by not selling to playstation.. will only take longer to recoup that money. They will need to try to make up that money first before considering exclusivity for their platform..
This is just BS, sorry.
What about that statement isn't straightforward? He explicitly explains why he can't answer that question as they don't yet own Zenimax. Seems pretty straightforward to me, standard N4G M$ bashing aside that is.
The funny thing is If Zenimax knows or at least has a strong idea if Phil's Intentions in terms of exclusitivety of their games. If they really didn't like that, they can easily back out now at any given moment. Things are in place but nothing is stopping them from backing out. Because absolutely nothing is final. Tbh we need to wait until next year to have our final answer, this question is very tiresome now. We simply need to wait at this point.
"In terms of what I want long term. I want those amazing studious to create the best games they ever created..." ... only on Xbox.
"... only on Xbox." Indeed
From what I read, it's not his decision yet as the deal has not been finalised.
And we all wished you wouldnt copy n paste what we can already read in the article ;)
I expect new games to be on GamePass: Xbox, PC, mobile and the rumored streaming stick. That's a potential audience of 300+ million. GamePass only works if there is content to keep the end user subscribed. Exclusives as the Sony fans say. Netflix struggled in the beginning of the streaming era because they lacked high quality exclusive content. When they finally got that content and began producing their own original content their stock valuation swelled.
What's the problem?
Netflix also struggle to get decent Metacritic scores for most of their original content.
Well their subscribers don't seem to care - and request more seasons so what is your point? Plenty of entertaining games and movies that don't get extraordinary scores...or is your only metric of good content is if it gets a 9 or 10/10 in reviews or Rotten Tomatoes?
My point is that i believe in quality over quantity. From your statement, you seem to be more invested in Microsoft's monetary gain that actual quality of the product. So as i was saying, Netflix also shares a similar stance, and it's not entirely beneficial to the consumer, there's a reason they call it 'shovelware'. Metacritic might not be the be all and end all, but i'd rather play the Top100 on metacritic than the Bottom 100. On a side note, i'm also interested in games that get 7's and 8's.
I only care about user score. More and more movies are seeing a clear difference between the sjw pandering critics and the more truthful audience.
So you are interested in these 7, 8, 9 type games? Forza Horizon 4 - 92 Forza Horizon 3- 91 Ori and the Will of the Wisps - 90 Ori and the BF - 88 Halo 5 - 84 Gears 4 - 85 Gears 5 - 84 Gears Tactics - 80 Halo MCC - 88 Halo Wars 2 - 79 ScreamRide - 71 Sea of Thieves - 69 Microsoft Flight Simulator - 91
I wouldn't make the mistake of conflating Metacritic game scores with movie scores. For games, a 7 is mediocre, for films it's quite good. I'd also like to add that Netflix's productions aren't "bad" for a lack of investment. They put Hollywood budgets into all their projects, and their tv series are the most expensive in the business. They have both quantity and "quality"( from a cost perspective), but good reviews are never guaranteed.
300+ million my ass. More like 30 if they're lucky.
I do not know how you did not understand "potential audience" As of sep 2020 GP subs were at 15 million. That is potentially 150 million dollars, per month. (at current sub levels)
Potential audience just means the number of customers that they could possibly sell to(I.e device owners). It's different from their actual total subscriber count.
There have been some proper excellent films on Netflix over past few years and that's all because of the position and buyout that the company made happen. If Microsoft can make that happen in gaming terms then they are in to a winner because Netflix is able to secure top top top actors and actresses ie Ryan reynoldd, Chris Hemsworth, Helen Hunt, Josh Brolin. Netflix is booming and is paying off now thanks to the hardwork of everyone involved, there is no reason why Microsoft can not make the gaming version of Netflix be a massive success. Let's face it Gamepass is astonishing value for what it has on it, you can never get bored. If people think there is no quality in that kind of service, they seriously need there head testing, just go look at Ryan reynolds or Chris Hemsworth film on Netflix, amazing all out action packed they are.
"You know if I rewind five years ago, I would say over and over, that we are committed to PC and then get a bunch of eye rolls, and rightfully so for we weren't doing much. But I think now when you look at what our standing is on Steam and Game Pass on PC, we have shown that our commitment over time has paid off. PC customers may or may not love what we do, but they know that when we are shipping things, we're gonna do our best effort on PC as well as on Xbox." Definitely have to give MS props for *finally* backing PC gaming the past few years. Took too long, but seeing all these Xbox games on Steam is nice to see. As is the Game Pass for PC service.
Yeah, their previous strategy fell flat (games for windows live), the current strategy seems to be picking up pace. Once my Gold membership runs out i will be upgrading to Gamepass Ultimate so i can throw some PC gaming in the mix. Still no word on AOE or Flight Simulator coming to xbox :(
Don't wait for Gold to expire. If you switch now however many months you have left on Gold will simply be converted to the same number of months for GamePass.
No dlocsta, 12 months of gold only nets you 6 months Ultimate
Scratch that, 4 months Ultimate for 12 months gold https://www.eurogamer.net/a... At the moment i do not need to pay until May 2022, if i upgrade now, i have to pay Jan 2022.
Business and politics are the same. It's all talk to get you to buy the product and screw you over later once they own the market or just lie to you altogether. "I'm a voter! Aren't you supposed to lie to me and kiss my butt?" - Peter Vankmann (Bill Murray) Ghostbusters 2
Phil Spencer hasn't changed anything, Xbox is still the same Xbox and Microsoft is still Microsoft, regardless of ones platform of choice, you're just biased yourself, like the rest of us.
I disagree, if Mattrick was still at the helm xbox would not have released another console. Remember the price announcement of the xbox one and the reveal, and then a stunned silence? was a shamble of a message. Since Phil has been at the helm, MS have purchased Mojang, Zenimax (not done deal yet), gave us the Games with gold model, the gamepass model, cloud gaming (xcloud), not to mention the fact he binned the Kinect (ok tech, but hardly used). To say he has not changed Microsoft's direction, or the business side of xbox, is a slightly naïve thing to say.
New IP games typically are at least three years to develop. To make a AAA studio that takes at least 5 years. You look at where MS was at in 2014 when Spencer took over XB and where they are today and there has been a significant transformation. I will agree that he has talked sooner then he should've and made promises that he couldn't keep. I will also agree that it hasn't had a lot of immediate, tangible results, but if you look at everything there is a foundation laid for success to happen. Over the next 5 years we will see whether it is truly successful or unsuccessful what he has done. For me, it is a little too early to judge as XB was really in a bad state when he took over and rather then just doing quick fixes they opted for an institutional, long term fix.
7.5 billion is a lot of money to get return on investments. Right now theyre stuck in hard position. Make it exclusive to xbox to bolster the sales of the console or make it available on all platforms for maximum profits to recover some assets. I also find it hard to believe that gamepass is profitable, so if they make it xbox exclusive I find it hard to believe they'll be making much of a profit since most people will obtain these games through that service. I think since they're counting on services as a future that they're trying to lock up developers, and in this case publisher, to their corner. I think this is less about making Bethesda and Zenimax exclusive to consoles and more about bolstering their gamepass and services which their counting to be the future.
" I also find it hard to believe that gamepass is profitable" Why wouldn't it be? Gamers never own the games, it is essentially a rental service. Games are part of the program for a set period, and then you have the choice to buy the games that are leaving for a discounted cost. If it was not profitable for Microsoft and 3rd party dev's A - 3rd party would not put their games on the service. B - Microsoft would discontinue the service
Or they're trying to get as many subscribers as they can and then bump the price up enough to make it very profitable.
God I'm so sick of these exclusive questions about Bethesda. One group of people thinks that they are still obligated to get something after another company is in the process of purchasing it. No you shouldn't still be able to get it. You will have to go where it is at(Xbox/PC/Xcloud)when the deal is done and if you don't want to go there......your problem. Please spare me the player base nonsense because it can change from gen to gen. Bethesda's games last gen had a higher player base on 360, so that tells me it can change from gen to gen. All PS players have big power gaming PCs anyway so this shouldn't matter......or so they claim.🤔
... and what happens if Activision is taken by Apple for it's gaming service, will you be just as happy when all there titles are removed from Xcloud. Or if EA is sold to Google, and Google then removes all EA games from Xcloud and Apple or if Amazon buy up Take-Two Interactive, etc... also have a little look at consumer rights and licences under these subscription services (here's a little heads up, they suck). Your fanboy blinkers are hiding a sh*t future for all gamers.
I try not to deal with unrealistic hypotheticals. I'm not falling for that fear bs gaming will continue to be fine. It's not really that serious and you will be fine if you have a PC gaming rig like most claim to have.
If that happens and I like Activision games...well I guess I need an Apple device. You act like you don't understand business.
"You act like you don't understand business." Well when you grow up and get a few more years behind you'll understand why this is bad and having tax avoiding monopoly's taking everything for themselves isn't good business. Why do you think the company's I mentioned are always in court for antitrust practices and tax avoidance?
It's not "unrealistic hypotheticals" when one company has already done it.
Apple doesn't have a console and not many would buy a Mac just to play Take 2 games, so they would probably just leave things where they are and put games on all apple devices exclusively for mobile. Apple has no interest in console gaming.
"Apple doesn't have a console and not many would buy a Mac just to play Take 2 games, so they would probably just leave things where they are and put games on all apple devices exclusively for mobile. Apple has no interest in console gaming."................. .... ? Am I talking to a child?
Read through the article yourself and come to your own conclusions. What I got from this was, Phil would like as many players as possible to enjoy the games their studios are producing. However, he's always careful to add, within our 'ecosystem'.
part of the deal was bethesda retains self publishing, they will release on other platforms they wont just cancel projects
I think common sense dictates that projects and deals already agreed upon will remain. That's a given. New releases,I'd disagree. Sure, Bethesda retains what projects they build and how, but not likely, where they go. That's down to MS as the owner of Zenimax.Sorry, prospective owner. At least that's my guess.
I expect new games to be on GamePass: Xbox, PC ONLY
I was stunned to see the level of mtx they are going to inject into the next halo. If it's all earnable in-game then leave it at that. No need for MTX to exist.
you know, at this point, i always get triggered when i see spencers name anywhere. of course people are going to ask you if games are exclusive because the news that MS bought the company was EVERYWHERE. and now you say the deal is not through yet? im done. all of this was a pure marketing stunt. be ashamed of yourselfs.