Phil Spencer Defends Halo’s Future Amid Cuts and Criticism

picture: 343 PPG/Microsoft

Things haven’t been going well for Xbox lately. Microsoft is facing stiff resistance in its bid to acquire Activision Blizzard. She released hardly any major exclusive movies last year. It cut more than 10,000 jobs last week. Including many top developers in infinite aura Studio 343 Industries. Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming, tried to stay optimistic and do damage control on each of these points and more. In a new interview with IGN.

He said, “Every year is crucial.” “I don’t find this year more or less important. I feel good about our momentum. Obviously, we’re making some painful adjustments now, but I think they’re necessary, but it’s really in order to set us up and the teams for long-term success.”

This week captured both the danger and the promise facing Xbox right now. On Tuesday, Microsoft announced decrease in net income by 12% For the last fiscal quarter compared to the previous year. Xbox gaming hardware and software are down in similar proportions, and Microsoft has said nothing about the number of new subscribers Game Pass has gained since it crossed the 25 million mark exactly a year ago.

Then, on Wednesday, Microsoft presented a sleek and streamlined look at its upcoming games in the Live broadcast of the developer Copied directly from the Nintendo manual. Forza Motorsport It seemed to have been quietly delayed to the second half of the year, but it looked like a beautiful and impressive racing masterpiece. Arkane’s co-op sandbox vampire shooter Redfall Got a release date May 2nd. Real-time strategic view Minecraft Legends It will strike in April. And to cap things off Tango Gameworks, a game maker inner evilDrop shadow Hi-Fi Rush On Game Pass, a colorful left-field rhythm action game that has already become the undisputed number one hit of 2023.

Hi-Fi Rush hero jumps through a colorful city skyline.

screenshot: Tango Gameworks / Bethesda

“2022 was too light on games,” Spencer confessed in his IGN interview. 2023 shouldn’t be thanks to Redfall and Starfield, Bethesda’s much-anticipated answer to the question, “What if Skyrim but space?” But both of those games were technically supposed to come out last year. Meanwhile, Hi-Fi Rush, as Obsidian repentance Before that, it’s shaping up to be a critically acclaimed Game Pass release that might be too young to move the needle in the fortunes of the larger Xbox.

Spencer remained vague when asked about the success of these games or their impact on Game Pass, whose growth has stalled on the console. “I think creative diversity expands for us when we have different ways for people to pay for the games they play, and subscribing definitely helps there,” he said.

Hi-Fi RushAnd RedfallAnd starfieldand new The elder scrolls online The expansion is also scheduled for June All from Bethesda, which Microsoft finalized its acquisition in 2021. Microsoft’s older first-party game studios have either remained relatively quiet in recent years while working on their next big projects, or, in the case of 343 Industries, have recently experienced a surprising number of layoffs. .

After news of the cuts last week, rumors and speculation started swirling that 343 Industries — which shipped the well-received Halo Infinite single-player campaign in 2021 but struggled with seasonal updates to the multiplayer component in the months since — has been discontinued. . studio mode Brief statement over the weekend saying Hello It was here to stay and it will continue to evolve.

Transformation of Starfield awaits the game's new release date.

picture: Bethesda / Microsoft

Spencer doubled down on that in his interview with IGN, but offered little insight into the reasons behind the layoffs or her plans to move the franchise forward. “What we’re doing now is we want to make sure that the leadership team is set up with the flexibility to build the plan that they need to start building,” he said. “And Hello It will continue to be very important to what Xbox does, and the 343 is very important to its success Hello. “

where infinite aurapreviously described 10-year plan Fits it, however, is still not clear. “They have a few other things, some of which are rumored, some announced, that they will work,” Spencer said. On the future of the chain as a whole, he simply said, “I expect that we will continue to support and grow Hello As long as the Xbox is a platform where people can play.” It’s hard to imagine Nintendo talking Mario With disbelief it looks similar.

It’s possible that Microsoft’s ongoing struggles with some of its internal projects are partly why it’s so focused on looking outside the company for help. Currently, that means trying to acquire Activision Blizzard for $69 billion and fighting back Antitrust lawsuit by the Federal Trade Commission in the process. Microsoft had originally promised to get the deal Call of dutyAnd DiabloAnd World of WarcraftAnd candy crush It will end before the end of summer 2023. The deadline will come quickly, even as the company continues to make concessions, such as It is said to give Sony a choice To continue paying to get Activision games on its competing Game Pass subscription service, PS Plus.

Spencer said IGN He remains optimistic about closing the deal, despite claiming he knew nothing about the logistics of doing so when he started a year ago. “A year ago, as far as I was concerned, I didn’t know about an acquisition like this,” he said. “The fact that I have more insight, more knowledge about what it’s like to work with different regulatory boards, I’m more confident now than I was a year ago, simply based on the information that I had and the discussions we had.”

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