Phil Spencer comments on bringing 'high-quality' first-party games to Xbox

In an interview with Fortune Magazine, Xbox head Phil Spencer went into great detail about the future of Xbox, reiterating the company's goal of improving quality among its first-party studios.

The wide-ranging interview touched on topics like Project xCloud game streaming, and how it aims to grow the Xbox business beyond your typical console user. It also delved into the health of the industry in general, highlighting Spencer's aim to grow Xbox without bringing others down. Notably, Spencer also addressed the first-party situation at Xbox, which has been a beacon for criticism of the Xbox brand throughout most of this generation. Sony has enjoyed repeated success with games like God of War and Horizon Zero Dawn, and boasts some of the most anticipated exclusives for the next few years in the form of Ghosts of Tsushima, The Last of Us 2, Death Stranding, and the Final Fantasy VII remake.

Forza Horizon 4 (Image credit: Microsoft)

Xbox has seen some success with the likes of Forza Horizon 3 and 4, but many of its games failed to hit the mark. During a chat with Fortune Magazine, Spencer reiterated Xbox's commitment to building strong first-party games, noting that having the autonomy to do so has something that has generally eluded previous leaders of Xbox.

Content is very important. It's one of the reasons we've invested in our studios, and grown our investment in studios. We understand that, in the end, gamers play games. We want to have games that attract people.People turn on their Xbox to play games, and I think us having a strong first-party at Xbox means that, when you think about Xbox, you think about quality games. We have work to do there. We haven't done our best work over the last few years.We made a conscious effort to invest in our first-party. Some of that is getting on stage and announcing acquisitions, some of it is hiring. Some of it is ensuring that we have the right amount of time. Some of that is the autonomy that I have now under Satya [Nadella, Microsoft CEO], it allows us to look at game development for what it is.

The future content spread for Xbox in terms of exclusives and value is very strong. Gears 5 is about to drop, and early impressions are positive. Halo Infinite looks as though it could reinvigorate the franchise, and we also have Gears Tactics, Age of Empires 4, fan-favorite Flight Simulator, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, and others on the horizon. Microsoft has also invested heavily in acquiring up and coming studios such as Undead Labs, Double Fine, and inXile, intending to grow them further. It has also been on a massive hiring spree for The Initiative, soaking up top-tier talent from across the industry.

Assuming service quality is the same across the board, in a world where Netflix-style subscription services become the norm, content will be king above all other things. Clearly, Microsoft recognizes that, but it could be a long time before they can challenge Sony on raw quality. It could perhaps take even longer to alter perceptions of Redmond's dedication to quality.

Related: Is the console war over for Xbox?

What do you think? What sort of games would you like to see coming out of Xbox Game Studios? Hit the comments, let's talk.



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Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden is a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by tea. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his XB2 Podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!