Xbox leader Phil Spencer talks about Halo's future, HoloLens and more

Microsoft plans to release Halo 5: Guardians as a Xbox One exclusive in just over a month from now on October 27. However, Microsoft's Xbox head Phil Spencer says in a new interview that the Halo franchise could still be around in some form well into the future.

In an extensive chat with GameSpot, Spencer says:

"It's a franchise and an IP I expect to be around 20 years from now, much the same way Star Wars and Spider-Man and other things are. I think it has the weight that it can support that, but I think that the franchise then needs to be managed in a way that doesn't burn it out."

Spencer also talked about the Microsoft HoloLens augmented reality headset, which was used at E3 last June in a Halo-themed demo to members of the press:

"I think it's going to be a while before we see this as a mass consumer market device, but I love the ideas that the teams are coming up with. I think it's too trivial to say it was just demo ware, but in no way do I want to say, "Hey everybody. There's a Halo game coming for HoloLens", because it's not there. I think the ideas on where that will go will be really crazy cool to watch over the next few years."

In addition, Spencer talked about the state of the Xbox business in general and how it works within Microsoft as a whole:

"The thing I'll say about us and Team Xbox and what we're trying to do is we work for a company in Microsoft that isn't driven in this space to go dominate anybody or to put somebody else out. The reason Satya's (Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO) interested in gaming, the reason the Windows 10 focused on the consumer and gaming is so prevalent inside the company right now, is we see opportunity. We see opportunity to delight customers, to give them more reasons to engage with the platform that we have, and it's really all about the unrealized opportunity that's in front of us."

Source: GameSpot

  • Good stuff. I like what he said at the end about the windows 10 ecosystem.
    Also I am totally down with Halo being a franchise for 20 more years. Obviously I'd expect some changes over time though. Maybe they can go the star wars route and have the new generation of Spartans learning from MC who takes a backseat to the action (which might be the direction they're going with Halo 5 anyway).
  • Halo may on my part never end, same counts for gears of war. There's enough story to tell for those 20 years. At some point masterchief will be missed but having Locke around... I don't see it as a bad thing. Master chief will always be my most iconic game character ever.
  • I do agree. Master Chief is just too iconic for me. I know that there are video gaming icons that are technically more prevalent and all that, but on a personal level he's #1.
  • I really loved and felt proud of what he said about Xbox businesses in general. Wow, Phil is good. Stuff like these really make me feel proud as a gamer and believe gaming will be something extremely big in the near future. People are now accepting the gaming facts, Scientific publications are now coming out with excellent benefits of gaming. This is really helping do away with those archaic naive bad believes our forefathers had about gaming. I'm proud to be a gamer ;)
  • Not to beat a dead horse but didn't he say we were expecting some bc news a month ago, why didn't gamespot ask about that? So this wasn't an interview, more like a discussive press release. Ugh. Even Forbes is becoming blog-esque. Where can I get tech investigative journalism?
  • Ask obama
  • Forbes is pretty bad now, especially their video game journalism.
  • I've never used an Xbox. Last i owned a console was with ps2. PC gaming has been good to me. But add Hololens and ill relearn that damn controller
  • The halolens
  • I never leave an interview with this guy feeling better about Xbox or Microsoft. Anything I could possibly be excited about whether it is HoloLens or DX12 or VR or Cortana or Windows apps or Kinect or any hope of Xbox being number one again Phil Spencer makes me completely depressed. He just wants to keep doing the same old stuff from the original Xbox that isn't working anymore and he throws a wet blanket on any technology that might generate any excitement. Sigh. It is a shame to see Xbox go from being led by a guy like J Allard who was so hungry for success that he wanted the PlayStations creators letter of resignation on his desk (and got it) to this guy who can't do an interview without mentioning how awesome PS4 is. Newsflash, Sony is not reciprocating your kindness and is happy to rest on its laurels while you talk them up.
  • Why should he say the PlayStation is bad when it isn't? At the end of the day we're all gamers. I respect him more for not being a childish ass hat like Allard. You'd rather Xbox 'won' altogether so Sony and Nintendo went out of business?
  • I have to refute two of your boilerplate contentions: that I want less competition or that aggressive competition is childish (to be frowned upon):   1.) I'm not calling for anyone to go out of business. Even if I felt the Nintendo Wii was a bad overall product for my needs I respect and congratulate the innovative spirit, a successful risk, which invited in new gamers and forced Sony and Microsoft to start thinking outside of the box. On the contrary what I'm looking for is the competitive spirit that led to Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 becoming such good products. The rivarly benefits consumers; the demure attitude of we're both good enough choices and contentment in being a distant second harms consumers in the long term. We got PS3 and 360 because of cuttthroat rivalry, in the same way the technology and space program advanced by leaps and bounds because of Russian and US rivalry to get to the moon. Xbox needs moonshots, Xbox has always been about moonshots up until now. I want a leader to excite me about the possibilities of the future, not dampen my enthusiasm by telling me he doesn't like VR or that HoloLens is just an experiment far away from delivering tangible entertainment for consumers. This is awful leadership, it does not excite consumers or inspire creators to build meaningfully different gaming experiences. 2.) J Allard was not a childish ass hat. He had an innovative vision for online gaming, community, user-generated merchandising, achievement competition, and global gaming communication in a climate where Japanese console manufacturers saw online connectivity as a niche market accessory. Til this day Nintendo still doesn't understand or embrace it fully. What is Phil Spencers vision? How is he advancing gaming and entertainment beyond what we've already had in the past? Allard saw the harm that Sony was doing to the console game industry by having such a monopoly over it. PC game creators could not bring their wares easily to Playstation due to Sony's legendarily poor development tools and lack of respect for western game creators. Today western game designers dominate the console game industry because of Xbox and Xbox 360. I crave to see from team Xbox the ambition that made online multiplayer a central feature of games, hard drives standard, broadband standard, an updateable OS standard, wireless controllers standard. There were glimmers of hope to continue that ambition at the launch of Xbox with the emphasis of Kinect and cloud processing becoming standard features in every single video game and HoloLens the accessory that would take gaming to the next level of interactivity and immersion. As Phil Spencer came to power he killed that ambition and found himself content to ride the coattails of Playstation and Windows (neither of which are renowned for a record of unrelenting innovation). I will give him a modicum of credit for backwards compatibility as I understand the technical challenge, but I hesitate until it is delivered in a truly meaningful way. (100 games & no plans for Kinect support is hardly comprehensive or game changing).
  • I agree with you. Phil Spencer is safe to have as an Xbox executive; he's not exciting or innovative. Xbox One has regressed since its original vision, and Phil's complete dismissal of Kinect--something he should be promoting as a key differentiator rather than something he is ignoring--is inexusable, as is his horrible track record of supporting Xbox gaming on Windows Phone.
  • Did you read that interview? I didn't get any of what you said at all, in fact after I read intervies with Phil I feel like he's right for gaming. Just because he doesn't jerk-off to VR doesn't mean he's stuck in the old ways, he knows VR is not a game changer. Other than that, he talked a lot about pushing his developers and studios to do more and he's not happy with where they are. I mean he's all about games, which is what it should be about.
  • What technology and innovation is Phil Spencer excited about and encouraging? VR? Hopes it will just be a niche. Motion-control? No, happy to forget. HoloLens? Too far away. DX12? Meh. Cloud processing? Eh, not that useful. Interactivity TV/Transmedia experiences/apps? Not important, games are better.   If he doesn't like VR then spell out for me a vision of gaming interactivity that is better than it and also better than what we have today. If you can't do that then you don't deserve to be leading Xbox with the pedigree that Xbox has for innovation and pushing things forward. You don't deserve to head the division that brought us Xbox Live, an upgradeable console OS, downloadable content, Achievements, Kinect, and the Netflix app on your TV. It is not enough to just regurgitate the past. If he sees the flaws in VR, make something better, don't tell me what we already have is better or good enough.     Good for gaming as defined by hardcore gamers: "Redo the thing you did last time except do it with less ambition and better graphics" All about games as defined by hardcore gamers: "No mobile gaming. No VR. No motion control. No stereoscopic 3D. No online requirements. No Cloud processing requirement. Oh and make sure your game fits comfortably into one of the 5 or 6 popular established genre templates." Console gamers are in my observation the absolute worst source to look to for ideas on how to progress the game industry forward. We are talking about a group of people who would've been content to play offline-only game consoles some 15 years after it had exploded in popularity on the PC. Rather I'd look to PC gamers/devs (ie. VR) on where the industry might be headed than console gamers who are almost always content living in the past. I say this as someone who doesn't even engage in PC gaming, but right now all the innovation is coming from PC and mobile gaming. Console gamers just want more of the same and are hostile to change.
  • Good read although if they want Xbox to delight consumers they could start by stopping the price gouges on Xbox games these days. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Halo on PC. Please.
  • the halo:mcc and halo 5 would be awesome at least we get halo wars 2 I loved the first one
  • I just love Halo cinematics. I have never felt anything like that in movie industry. Not even the top-notch sci-fi movies. They should really make a good Halo movie, which would be the Star Wars of current generation. Imagine how large audience it would get if that happens. If you don't believe me just look for Halo Cutscenes movie on youtube and see how many view those videos have.
  • You really can't have watched many movies.
  • Then stop making excuses with Square Enix and get Final Fantasy XIV on Xbox One. They want it on your console, why don't you?
  • Because they want special treatment that breaks Xbox Live rules. If they capitulate to one publisher then they have to capitulate to all of them. It's a slippery slope. I wouldn't do it either if I were Phil.
  • Neither would I.
  • And those Xbox Live rules are a bag of crap let me tell you. Why should every game have to have separate servers on Xbox. If you want the ultimate multiplatform experience you have to exclude Xbox because of his stubbornness. It limits the games on the platform. Not only that but SE have already proved with XI that it's possible. And that they have the servers to do it.
  • I love you Spencer