Despite the company constantly placing third in its console sales, Microsoft isn’t giving up on its Xbox gaming brand.
It all started when Don Mattrick was replaced with Phil Spencer back in 2013. After a botched reveal of the Xbox One, Spencer has turned the branding around simply by being a reasonable, charismatic human being. Of course, it helps that he has introduced incredible services like Game Pass and has been pushing cross-platform gaming with competitors PlayStation and Nintendo. Since then, Spencer has also gone on to purchase multiple notable studios from within the industry to expand in-house expertise.
Now, the head is focusing on PC Gaming. This is a space that Microsoft has failed to excel in. According to an interview with PC Gamer, Spencer is looking to change that as he has with the rest of the Xbox brand.
Expanding The Branding
To start, Spencer states that while the developers were brought on to “create depth across platforms and genres of expertise,” the teams can pick which platforms they develop for. The goal is to “empower game creators” and ensure their games reach the “broadest global player base possible.” Sure, different control schemes are best for certain games, but it’s up to the makers to decide that.
“Obsidian, inXile and all our studios will have the resources to reach players on any device and we’ll support the decisions each studio makes regarding the platform and features that let them deliver the experience they want for gamers,” he goes on.
It seems that Spencer doesn’t want to absorb these companies. Rather, he wants Microsoft to fund these creators so they can build the experience they envisioned from the start:
“We want each studio to retain their unique spirit and culture while feeling empowered by the collective resources they now have as a member of Xbox Games Studios and Microsoft. We’re here to help lift any of the distractions and challenges that have kept them from what they do best.”
At E3 2018, Spencer and team revealed their purchase of Undead Labs (State of Decay franchise,) Playground Games (Forza Horizon,) Ninja Theory (Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice,) Compulsion Games (We Happy Few,) and announced the formation of The Initiative – a brand new studio under the Microsoft name. Later on last year, they also purchased inXile Entertainment (Wasteland) and Obsidian Entertainment (Fallout: New Vegas and Pillars of Eternity.)
Reworking The Vision
Most of these studios are nothing short of incredible, and it seems that these titles will also be coming to other consoles as well. This further pushes Spencer’s belief in bringing gaming to as many people as possible. What’s interesting on the PC front, however, is the Microsoft Store. Players hate buying from the Microsoft Store, especially when there are alternatives like Steam, GOG, the Epic Games Store, and more. Spencer commented on this:
“While we are proud of our PC gaming heritage, we’ve made some mistakes along our journey. We know we have to move forward, informed by our past, with the unique wants, needs and challenges of the PC player at the center of decisions we make. I know we’ve talked quite a bit over time about what we want to deliver for the player on PC, but at E3 this year, and throughout 2019, you’ll begin to see where we’ve been investing to deliver across Store, services, in Windows and in great games. It’s just the beginning.”
This may sound like generic PR talk, and it is. However, Spencer has delivered on every single one of his promises and we can expect him to follow through on this one as well. He’s reworked the Xbox brand many times before, and we can expect him to do it again this time.