Just because Microsoft Game Stack exists doesn't mean you'll see Xbox Game Studios branching out to other consoles.
Xbox head Phil Spencer said he isn’t considering the use of Microsoft Game Stack to release first-party titles like Halo on other platforms. According to Spencer, consoles including the PS5 and Switch wouldn’t offer the full “Xbox experience” that gamers expect from the brand.
Microsoft Game Stack was announced earlier in the year, a “device agnostic” offering that has the ability to bring services like Xbox Live support to platforms beyond Xbox and Windows PC. Though we’ve seen it in play — at least in part — on Xbox Game Studios titles published to the Nintendo Switch, Spencer says that support doesn’t equate to “the full Xbox experience”.
“We have done some work on the Switch with Ori [and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition] and Cuphead… and Minecraft’s obviously there,” acknowledged Spencer, speaking with Stevivor at X019 in London. “But I’d say our strategy is really to think about the full Xbox experience; we want that full Xbox experience to be amazing.”
That strategy means Microsoft will focus on its own consoles, Windows PC and Project xCloud streaming service instead of branching out onto platforms like the Switch or Sony’s upcoming PS5. In 2019, that mentality has resulted in improvements to parental controls and the manner in which text-based messages are filtered across the Xbox Live service. Spencer stressed that those features are an integral part of the overall Xbox offering.
“When you think about other hardware platforms, I’d want to think, holistically, is there an opportunity to bring all of Xbox there? And in most cases the other partners probably aren’t that interested in the whole Xbox ecosystem coming onto their hardware,” Spencer said.
That notion of the Xbox experience is precisely the reason why upcoming titles like Halo: Infinite won’t be multi-platform beyond Microsoft’s own ecosystem.
“Halo is such a great example — such an intrinsic part of Xbox,” Spencer said, praising it for its part in “the evolution of Xbox Live” alongside the Xbox brand itself.
“I don’t want to get into this world where we… pick apart [an IP] because then we lose the ability to build a cohesive experience,” he continued. “We lose the ability for those services to provide value… if we don’t have the full Xbox experience to bring to our customers.”
Stay tuned to Stevivor for more from Phil Spencer at X019 in the days to come.
Steve Wright attended X019 in London, England as a guest of Microsoft. Travel and accomodation were supplied by Microsoft.