Xbox's Phil Spencer downplays the importance of exclusive games, wants more cross-play titles
Spencer also says "discussions we've been having seem positive" about Microsoft's Activision Blizzard acquisition
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🤔 Microsoft CEO of Gaming, Phil Spencer, has said he hopes to see “less and less” exclusive games in the future
🤝 Spencer wants the industry to focus on letting people play games “regardless of what device” they own
🔜 Spencer said he feels good about the Activision Blizzard deal, and that mobile games were the main reason behind the buyout
Phil Spencer, CEO of Gaming at Microsoft, has shared how he feels about exclusive games and the company’s ongoing acquisition of Activision Blizzard.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Spencer said one of the main reasons Microsoft wanted to acquire the publisher of Call of Duty, Diablo, and many more, was that it had more of a presence on mobile, which Microsoft “regretfully” doesn’t have.
“We don't have a lot of creative capability that has built hit mobile games. We really started the discussions, internally at least, on Activision Blizzard, on the capability they had on mobile, and then PC with Blizzard,” said Spencer. “Those were the two things that were really driving our interest.”
Spencer also said the “biggest gaming platform on the planet is mobile phones,” noting that over 1.5 billion people play games on a mobile device.
When asked about how the acquisition of Activision Blizzard was progressing, Spencer said he felt good about the deal. Microsoft's Activision Blizzard deal got its first regulatory approval from Saudi Arabia this month.
“I feel good about the progress that we've been making,” he shared. “I've never done a $70bn deal, so I don't know what my confidence means... [but] I will say the discussions we've been having seem positive.”
But what about exclusive games? Spencer said he’d like to see “less and less” platform exclusives and hopes that the industry shifts more to incorporating cross-play.
“Maybe you happen in your household to buy an Xbox and I buy a PlayStation and our kids want to play together and they can't because we bought the wrong piece of plastic to plug into our television,” Spencer explained.
“We really love to be able to bring more players in reducing friction, making people feel safe, secure when they’re playing, allowing them to find their friends, play with their friends, regardless of what device — I think in the long run that is good for this industry.
“And maybe in the short run, there’s some people in some companies that don’t love it. But I think as we get over the hump and see where this industry can continue to grow, it proves out to be true.”
Spencer’s comments come after weeks of Sony and Microsoft butting heads over exclusivity deals, particularly concerning Call of Duty. Thanks to Braziliain court documents, we know that Sony really doesn’t want Microsoft to own Call of Duty, while Microsoft has accused Sony of paying developers “blocking rights” to keep games off Xbox Game Pass.
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