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GameSpot: Phil Spencer Is Exactly Who You Think He Is

kung-fu-owl

Alt account
Banned
Jul 27, 2019
513
I think it was reported quite recently and credibly that MS are aiming to publish 4 AAA titles per year next gen.

That’s very exciting.

If they can have a consistent flow of high quality, polished AA games in between, that’s downright perfect.

Games like Plague Tale, Hellblade, Wasteland 3, Psychonauts 2 and Outer Worlds demonstrate the kind of quality and production those kinds of games have nowadays. AAA production value with a smaller scope and better polish sounds like a dream to me.
 

In Amber Clad

Member
Aug 26, 2018
832
London
Hellblade was AA given the AAA treatment, if we get more games like that, MS is onto something really special.

That allows for an unseen level of diversity in gameplay types, genres, pretty much everything.
Yeah, if this means we get a steady stream of games like Hellblade and The Outer Worlds (granted, haven't played it yet, but from everything I'm reading and seeing, it looks like exactly the kind of game I want right now - an RPG with plenty of player choice, but not blown up to a hundred hour monster), then I'm more than happy with that.

Hellblade itself is in contention for my game of the generation, so I can't wait to see what that team are cooking up.
 

Bradbatross

Member
Mar 17, 2018
4,290
Oh god...

It's really going to be Halo, Gears, Fable and Forza again? Those 4 will (again) suck up all the big budgets (maybe we're lucky and get one new big AAA ip?) and the new guys can make smaler titles to fill the Game-Pass ranks with fodder (some games will be fantastic i'm sure).

If this is the internal strategy i'm sad that they don't have the balls to tell their fanbase this. Don't beat around the bush, be honest.

I'm quite sure the backlash from their own fanbase will be quit big if the new studios don't make big games that can battle with Breath of the Wild or God of War.

New ips for the indies - AA games and established franchises (the big 4 again, because people were so happy with them in the end of the 360 era) get the big bucks to create AAA+ games.

And then nobody will understand (again) why people still prefer Nintendos or Sonys games...
Why would there be any backlash? Xbox gamers are going to get a lot more games thanks to this strategy.
 

khamakazee

Banned
Oct 27, 2017
3,937
Why would there be any backlash? Xbox gamers are going to get a lot more games thanks to this strategy.
Obviously if you don't plan on supporting Microsoft either through Windows or Xbox there will be a backlash now that these studios won't be making games for Sony and Nintendo. I think this also plays into the whole downplaying of these studios and whether they will bring AAA games or not.
 

DocH1X1

Member
Apr 16, 2019
420
Obviously if you don't plan on supporting Microsoft either through Windows or Xbox there will be a backlash now that these studios won't be making games for Sony and Nintendo. I think this also plays into the whole downplaying of these studios and whether they will bring AAA games or not.
FYI all these studious are staffing up big time so ease up on the AA talk for now. Also if bleeding edge is any indication having played the alpha I'm 100% on board with this strategy. But again if your not into Xbox who cares about "backlash" from somebody with an agenda? From my stand point I'm getting tons of great games at an amazing value with game pass ultimate. So basically haters gonna hate.

The only studious I would say based on past output I would lable as AA would be double fine, Inxile, compulsion games, and undead labs. However compulsion and undead are staffing up big time. I don't put Ninja there cause they punch above their weight.

Rare, 343, Coalition, The Initiative, Obsidian, Playground and Turn10 are all outputting AAA

I personally think it's healthier to have a good mix of AAA and AA.
 
Last edited:

Dynomutt

The Fallen
Nov 11, 2017
965
So Xbox doesn't have a right to have 1st person studious? And also release all 1st party on pc, something the other two platforms refuse to do?
Refuse.....eh.......

I'd argue it a bit differently.

Sony nor Nintendo have a operating system to support. MS kinda has too.

I firmly believe is Xbox was never related to MS the console centric approach would be there standard for business just like Sony and Nintendo.

Now this doesn't take away from the fact that they are miles ahead when looking at things in a services oriented console agnostic perspective.
 

khamakazee

Banned
Oct 27, 2017
3,937
So Xbox doesn't have a right to have 1st person studious? And also release all 1st party on pc, something the other two platforms refuse to do?

And fyi all these studious are staffing up big time so ease up on the AA talk for now.
I'm on Game Pass now on the PC and have bought quite a few Microsoft titles on the PC. I'm good to go. My comment was towards those who continually come into Xbox threads and want to put a negative spin on things.
 

Yasuke

Member
Oct 25, 2017
12,054
Whatever my general disinterest with Xbox (and disbelief that his vision will ultimately pan out), Spencer’s always seemed pretty damn cool. This was a dope read.
 

HairyFist87

Member
Jun 17, 2018
666
"One of the first calls we got after the Minecraft acquisition was from Sony saying, ‘Are you going to pull it off PlayStation?'," Spencer said. "And I'm like, ‘Why why would I do that? People like playing it on PlayStation.'"


Kinda shows what Sony would do in that situation to be honest.
I'm surprised nobody picked up on this sooner since I'm almost certain they would do something like that.

I do feel that Spencer is really trying hard to make gaming a more inclusive space and not take things away from anyone.

I know he is a business man at the end of the day but he certainly looks like he is trying to make the gaming industry a far more positive place for everyone and everytime I read about something he had said or done, I feel like he is achieving just that.
 

khamakazee

Banned
Oct 27, 2017
3,937
I'm surprised nobody picked up on this sooner since I'm almost certain they would do something like that.

I do feel that Spencer is really trying hard to make gaming a more inclusive space and not take things away from anyone.

I know he is a business man at the end of the day but he certainly looks like he is trying to make the gaming industry a far more positive place for everyone and everytime I read about something he had said or done, I feel like he is achieving just that.
Of course they would. It's why Sony continues to put business before what their users may want. Look how long it took before they allowed EA Access, look at how apprehensive they've been with console crossplay. Or how they won't support new updates for Minecraft because it requires Xbox Live even though Playstation supports EA and Ubisoft accounts. Even MGS4 had to require a seperate sign-in.

Then you take a look at how they continue to be aggressively active with third party deals like the FF VII Reamke.
 

Rion

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,736
I think it was reported quite recently and credibly that MS are aiming to publish 4 AAA titles per year next gen.

That’s very exciting.

If they can have a consistent flow of high quality, polished AA games in between, that’s downright perfect.

Games like Plague Tale, Hellblade, Wasteland 3, Psychonauts 2 and Outer Worlds demonstrate the kind of quality and production those kinds of games have nowadays. AAA production value with a smaller scope and better polish sounds like a dream to me.
I don't know how 4 AAA next gen games per year will be possible tbh.

Sony have many more studios with great pedigree and can't do it this gen.

Nintendo struggle to have four of their 'AAA' games per year even while using several other companies development resources and you could easily argue that Switch is much more last gen in terms of budgets and development time than XB1.

Two AAA games and two AA games per year is a much more reasonable target imo.
 

khamakazee

Banned
Oct 27, 2017
3,937
I don't know how 4 AAA next gen games per year will be possible tbh.

Sony have many more studios with great pedigree and can't do it this gen.

Nintendo struggle to have four of their 'AAA' games per year even while using several other companies development resources and you could easily argue that Switch is much more last gen in terms of budgets and development time than XB1.

Two AAA games and two AA games per year is a much more reasonable target imo.
Agreed
 

Bits N Pieces

Member
Oct 27, 2017
4,599
Scotland
I don't know how 4 AAA next gen games per year will be possible tbh.

Sony have many more studios with great pedigree and can't do it this gen.

Nintendo struggle to have four of their 'AAA' games per year even while using several other companies development resources and you could easily argue that Switch is much more last gen in terms of budgets and development time than XB1.

Two AAA games and two AA games per year is a much more reasonable target imo.
How do Sony have many more studios, are they not about equal in numbers now?
 

SuikerBrood

Member
Jan 21, 2018
11,123
I don't know how 4 AAA next gen games per year will be possible tbh.

Sony have many more studios with great pedigree and can't do it this gen.

Nintendo struggle to have four of their 'AAA' games per year even while using several other companies development resources and you could easily argue that Switch is much more last gen in terms of budgets and development time than XB1.

Two AAA games and two AA games per year is a much more reasonable target imo.
Yup.

Let's look at the first years of next gen, without knowing what the publishing arm of XGS is doing, my expectation is this for triple A:

2020: Forza (either Horizon or Motorsport) & Halo Infinite
2021: Forza (either Horizon or Motorsport)
2022: Playground Games Action RPG & Gears 6
2023: Forza (either Horizon or Motorsport) & The Initiative game
2024: Forza (either Horizon or Motorsport) & Halo 7

We need to count things like Obsidian's new game, maybe a new Perfect Dark, maybe a new Rare title, etc. to really fill the portfolio. But, as I said, we don't know what XGSGP is doing.

The other 9 studios will fill the holes in the line-up with AA titles. Things like Hellblade, Psychonauts, The Outer Worlds, etc.
 

cyrribrae

Member
Jan 21, 2019
854
Hooee! This thread sure is something. I'm pulling random quotes from the places I skipped around, cuz boy there are some TAKES! Before I start, just want to say that Spencer is clearly doing something right if the division is not only still here, but actually getting investment. What a turn around!

And at least in the case of Mark Cerny he was directly involved with the PS4? How many people even know who was the lead on the Xbox One or the BC program? There's so many people who've turned Xbox around why aren't they given more of the time of day?

And that basically underlines my problem. There's so many people who have been doing a great job at Xbox but no one knows who they are because the focus is on Phil and because of that you can see why Phil will be called a "cult of personality". And that's how he's treated differently, he's the only person at Xbox who anybody either knows of and by extension we treat that person as the sole person running the company which is objectively untrue. There's nothing wrong with Phil, but we don't talk about other companies like one man is behind it all.
I'd say your perspective here is kinda just wrong. Phil Spencer is one of those people who name drop employees like nobody's business. He talks about the team when he touts Back Compat - he never takes credit, if you've been listening you might know all about Bill and the team. He credits engineers (Ashley Speicher), business (Sarah Bond), hardware (Kareem), studio heads (Tameem, Craig, Bonnie, Guillaume) when he talks about their initiatives - these are just the people he's mentioned in interviews and/or have been on stage at E3. He literally says things like "I'm just the guy reading the teleprompter, the teams are the ones who should get all the credit". He makes a point of echoing and amplifying female voices in leadership, something that doesn't always happen in tech (and certainly could still be better at Xbox). Phil might just be best executive among the gaming platforms right now who is so obviously involved in just about every aspect of the division (it's very clearly his strategy, and Phil mans up when it goes wrong), but still highlights the people working on it all. These are Best Practices. We should celebrate these things not because Phil Spencer is so great, but because he is doing the things we would like to expect from all executives.

Yeah I dont really like articles that try to romanticize executives, any executives, but videogame, music and movie execs more so. They must love these tings, sure, but they dont get to that level by being fans. For most, becoming fans of the art comes later. They need to be business oriented first. If you get to love the product you are selling, hey, great. Im so glad Myamoto never became CEO of Nintendo or anything like that, for example.
What are your thoughts on Iwata? I thought he was a fantastic CEO of Nintendo, an extremely personable and lovable human, and incredibly passionate fan of gaming. All at the same time. Sure, Iwata was a rare one. Perhaps Phil is too.

Spencer's career is pretty exceptional, interesting and deserves to be profiled but there is no figure that gets more positive press for just existing with less to show for it this entire gen than Phil Spencer.

This is the type of article that should be written 2-3 years in to next gen if he has actually succeeded in his vision for MS's future.
Well.. once again... you'll notice that in the article, Gamespot highlights the fact that Xbox was very much on the chopping block as soon as Spencer took over. Would you have been surprised if Xbox had been shut down? I'm not sure I would be - it was the prevailing rumors in business circles for quite a while. And certainly not without reason, as we now know. Less to show for it? He not only saved the division from an existential threat, he has turned the perception of the brand around fundamentally. It wasn't all him of course, but boy I don't think Xbox would be here without him.

thanks to some of the insightful posters in this thread, I've learned that Microsoft is a company that exists to make money, and Phil's job is to further that goal. burning all my action figures of him as i type, ive never felt so betrayed.

this article is clearly terrible too, as it conveniently skips the xbox one's rocky launch that it still hasn't fully recovered from, and instead talks in detail about the xbox one's rocky launch that it still hasn't fully recovered from.

I thank you all for opening my eyes to the fact that a businessman who is doing an ok job is ACTUALLY just a businessman who is doing an ok job.
LOL

Oh god...

[...]

I'm quite sure the backlash from their own fanbase will be quit big if the new studios don't make big games that can battle with Breath of the Wild or God of War.

New ips for the indies - AA games and established franchises (the big 4 again, because people were so happy with them in the end of the 360 era) get the big bucks to create AAA+ games.

And then nobody will understand (again) why people still prefer Nintendos or Sonys games...
Wait this seems.. wrong. Nintendo's success this gen came from... big AAA games from their most established and well-worn franchises? What?! No way! I'm obviously lying when I say that most of Nintendo's new IP has done relatively quite poorly, even on the Switch, even though that's totally true! You can't possibly mean the huge attention and narrative built up around Sony is built almost entirely on a few AAA big budget games (so far mostly from established franchises)?! Seriously though, IF ONLY Microsoft were investing in new IPs like Zelda and God of War!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!

There's nothing wrong with investing in the IPs that you have with fanbases that want to see more. There's nothing wrong with spreading the budgets out to allow smaller studios to have the support and pipeline they need to create excellent experiences at cheaper costs - especially if that means more excellent games overall. There's DEFINITELY nothing wrong with doing both at the same time. And I will 100% certainly for sure not complain if you deliver every single one of those games to me day and date of release for $10 a month.
 

nofriendo

Member
Jun 4, 2019
69
What if they just aimed to release good interesting games and we stop caring about how many A's we assign to them. Some of my best gaming experiences this year have come from games like the outer wilds and edith finch.

Really looking forward to seeing what Ninja Theory, Double Fine and Compulsion do next no matter how big or small they are.
 

Granjinha

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,952
Oh god...

It's really going to be Halo, Gears, Fable and Forza again? Those 4 will (again) suck up all the big budgets (maybe we're lucky and get one new big AAA ip?) and the new guys can make smaler titles to fill the Game-Pass ranks with fodder (some games will be fantastic i'm sure).

If this is the internal strategy i'm sad that they don't have the balls to tell their fanbase this. Don't beat around the bush, be honest.

I'm quite sure the backlash from their own fanbase will be quit big if the new studios don't make big games that can battle with Breath of the Wild or God of War.

New ips for the indies - AA games and established franchises (the big 4 again, because people were so happy with them in the end of the 360 era) get the big bucks to create AAA+ games.

And then nobody will understand (again) why people still prefer Nintendos or Sonys games...
Why the hell people think that AA+ games are not as good as some of the tired formulaic AAA games? Psychonauts 2 interests me far more than most of the big tentpole releases of this year and next. Nier Automata was AA and one of the best games of this generation. I wouldn't even call Bloodborne a AAA release if we compare it to stuff like Horizon, Uncharted and more.

Nintendo also constantly releases smaller games between it's tentpole releases, stuff like Captain Toad is really, REALLY good.


It's going to be a lot of the AA titles, with the marquee ones thrown in too, just not as frequently. There will be Gears, Halo, Forza, but also Fable, PD, some other stuff...

Look at Netflix and replace the movies with games. That's the model.
How do you personally feel about that? I think it will lead to a far more diverse and interesting lineup, similar to what Sony did earlier this gen with a lot of it's indie and ~mid tier stuff, but i'm curious as to what someone that has more ~inside info thinks. From what we know, i think they're giving way more time to these not big nor small devs (like delaying Psychonauts 2 and Wastelands 3 and Ori 2 having such a big dev time), but that could be me from an outside perspective.
 

Leflus

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,447
Yup.

Let's look at the first years of next gen, without knowing what the publishing arm of XGS is doing, my expectation is this for triple A:

2020: Forza (either Horizon or Motorsport) & Halo Infinite
2021: Forza (either Horizon or Motorsport)
2022: Playground Games Action RPG & Gears 6
2023: Forza (either Horizon or Motorsport) & The Initiative game
2024: Forza (either Horizon or Motorsport) & Halo 7

We need to count things like Obsidian's new game, maybe a new Perfect Dark, maybe a new Rare title, etc. to really fill the portfolio. But, as I said, we don't know what XGSGP is doing.

The other 9 studios will fill the holes in the line-up with AA titles. Things like Hellblade, Psychonauts, The Outer Worlds, etc.
I think we can slot in SoD3 as a potential AAA game. Matt Booty seems pretty high on the State of Decay series and where he wants it to go next.
 

Camonna Tong

Member
Mar 2, 2018
1,184
I doubt Compulsion is going AAA. They are still the smallest studio atm MS has. Going from Happy Few to AAA is also a big step. I liked Happy Few as the story and world are great. But the technical side of things is atm far away from AAA. Dont see them make the leap. Studio wise and technical wise. They need to grow still.
It’s taking awhile, but they’re slowly building. Job listings show AAA requirements. They can also contract out too if need be. They’re obviously not going to make the most expensive AAA game, but it’s definitely going to be in the AAA range.
 

Theorry

Member
Oct 27, 2017
20,945
It’s taking awhile, but they’re slowly building. Job listings show AAA requirements. They can also contract out too if need be. They’re obviously not going to make the most expensive AAA game, but it’s definitely going to be in the AAA range.
Think it will take a while. Offcourse the are hiring people with AAA experience as thats how you grow. But they are at 40 people atm.
Think its best for them to make a solid AA game first to be fair. Having not to worry about kickstarter and etc will help with that already. As that really influenced Happy Few with how the game changed in development. and was abit messy because of it.
 

TsuWave

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,744
so would every big first party game on competing platforms but you don't see that happening often. i'm pretty sure if mojang was bought by another platform holder it would have been pulled from other platforms (other than PC, probably).
You’re “sure”. Lottery numbers please
 

kung-fu-owl

Alt account
Banned
Jul 27, 2019
513
I don't know how 4 AAA next gen games per year will be possible tbh.

Sony have many more studios with great pedigree and can't do it this gen.

Nintendo struggle to have four of their 'AAA' games per year even while using several other companies development resources and you could easily argue that Switch is much more last gen in terms of budgets and development time than XB1.

Two AAA games and two AA games per year is a much more reasonable target imo.
I think by the numbers MS has gone from the smallest first party stable to the biggest in just 12 months and change and they’re still adding studios and expanding their current studios.

No one other publisher is trying to become the “Netflix of games” like Microsoft. I think they’re capable of 4 AAA titles per year, that’d be 1 per quarter, which would help them drive up and retain subscriptions to Game Pass.

I think it’s as viable of a goal as MS is motivated for it to be.
 

Rion

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,736
I think by the numbers MS has gone from the smallest first party stable to the biggest in just 12 months and change and they’re still adding studios and expanding their current studios.

No one other publisher is trying to become the “Netflix of games” like Microsoft. I think they’re capable of 4 AAA titles per year, that’d be 1 per quarter, which would help them drive up and retain subscriptions to Game Pass.

I think it’s as viable of a goal as MS is motivated for it to be.
I'm happy to be proven wrong but I don't see any single company (not even giant third party conglomerates like EA or Ubisoft who own a ton of different studios) able to put out four AAA games per year, every single year. AAA game development simply takes too long and it's only going to take longer next gen.
 

kung-fu-owl

Alt account
Banned
Jul 27, 2019
513
I'm happy to be proven wrong but I don't see any single company (not even giant third party conglomerates like EA or Ubisoft who own a ton of different studios) able to put out four AAA games per year, every single year. AAA game development simply takes too long and it's only going to take longer next gen.
You have to bear in mind other publishers operate by completely different business models.

If EA or Ubisoft wanted to push 4 AAA games per year to bolster their own subscription model, that would be easily achieved.

They’d have to make some adjustments but they could do it if they wanted to, but they don’t because they still prioritise conventional sales models.

Game Pass is the new priority for MS. No one else is putting up a service that can compete, just like no one really tries to compete with Netflix until it was too late and they’d already put a huge distance between themselves and their competitors in terms of market share, mindshare and brand awareness.

I’d actually bet money on MS accomplishing their goal of 4 AAA games per year if that is in fact their goal. They’re not done acquiring studios for a reason.
 

Slyfox

Member
Oct 28, 2017
199
Phantom Dust in 2020 would be great. Start off with a base model. Slowly introduce more cards, characters through seasons and this game can be huge.
Phantom Dust > Perfect Dark.
 

Rion

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,736
You have to bear in mind other publishers operate by completely different business models.

If EA or Ubisoft wanted to push 4 AAA games per year to bolster their own subscription model, that would be easily achieved.

They’d have to make some adjustments but they could do it if they wanted to, but they don’t because they still prioritise conventional sales models.

Game Pass is the new priority for MS. No one else is putting up a service that can compete, just like no one really tries to compete with Netflix until it was too late and they’d already put a huge distance between themselves and their competitors in terms of market share, mindshare and brand awareness.

I’d actually bet money on MS accomplishing their goal of 4 AAA games per year if that is in fact their goal. They’re not done acquiring studios for a reason.
And most of the studios they've acquired do not make traditional, large scale AAA games like Halo, Gears, Uncharted, God of War, Zelda etc.

Ubisoft come closest to hitting 4 AAA games per year but even then there's years they fall short or miss entirely and that's with giant teams with almost two generations worth of AAA development experience under their belts.

As I said I'll be glad to be proven wrong as a Game Pass subscriber on PC myself.
 
Nov 30, 2017
1,420
Phil is like a hot bowl of soup on a cold winter day.. /jk

There is no doubt he is good for MS and what they are trying to do. He is one of the best PR guys Ive ever seen.

Gaming media does really pump the guy up though as the face of all things good in gaming..
 

Huntersknoll

Member
Oct 25, 2017
982
This is an article someone would pay to write if THEY WERE A FREAKING ROBOT. No chance this guy is human. I knew it was too good to be true. The Xbox's are all going to turn into skynet. We are dooomed.
 
Jan 4, 2018
907
I'm happy to be proven wrong but I don't see any single company (not even giant third party conglomerates like EA or Ubisoft who own a ton of different studios) able to put out four AAA games per year, every single year. AAA game development simply takes too long and it's only going to take longer next gen.
Not in the next 1-2 years maybe, but if Game Pass subscriber base keeps growing it'll give them justification to keep getting more and more studios and making said studios grow, eventually reaching the point where they can indeed put 4 AAA games a year in the service
 
Jun 22, 2018
1,172
I'm happy to be proven wrong but I don't see any single company (not even giant third party conglomerates like EA or Ubisoft who own a ton of different studios) able to put out four AAA games per year, every single year. AAA game development simply takes too long and it's only going to take longer next gen.
Unless you're trying to claim that sports games aren't AAA games, EA routinely puts out 4+ AAA games per year.
 

kung-fu-owl

Alt account
Banned
Jul 27, 2019
513
And most of the studios they've acquired do not make traditional, large scale AAA games like Halo, Gears, Uncharted, God of War, Zelda etc.

Ubisoft come closest to hitting 4 AAA games per year but even then there's years they fall short or miss entirely and that's with giant teams with almost two generations worth of AAA development experience under their belts.

As I said I'll be glad to be proven wrong as a Game Pass subscriber on PC myself.
EA and Ubisoft have thousands of devs per title and they both put out close to 4 AAA games per year if not more.

Not all AAA need to be large scale, open world titles either. There’s a big difference between a BioShock and a Halo. Both are AAA.

I’m just saying, and I think Phil Spencer has talked about this, once they have the pipeline in place that they’re building now, XGS will be capable of doing 4 AAA games per year. Especially as they continue to expand through hiring sprees and acquisitions.

They’re not all gonna be from first party studios either. Age of Empires IV is being developed by Relic. MS Flight Sim is being co-developed by Asobo. They’re probably doing another Killer Instinct with Iron Galaxy. I expect a bunch more games through these partnerships of all sizes.
 

harSon

Member
Oct 30, 2017
3,461
I think it's going to be:

AAA:
  1. 343i
  2. Playground Games
    1. Forza Horizon Team
    2. RPG Team
  3. Turn10
  4. Rare
  5. The Coalition
  6. The Initiative
AA/AAA:
Studios capable of AAA-esque titles, that may or may not create an actual AAA title - but will at least create AA titles that are bordering on AAA titles like Outer Worlds and Psychonauts 2
  1. Ninja Theory
  2. Obsidian
  3. Undead Labs
  4. Double Fine
  5. Age of Empire Studio
AA:
  1. IneXile
  2. Compulsion Games
  3. Mojang
 

Matt

The Terror that Flaps in the Night
Moderator
Oct 24, 2017
2,458
How do you personally feel about that? I think it will lead to a far more diverse and interesting lineup, similar to what Sony did earlier this gen with a lot of it's indie and ~mid tier stuff, but i'm curious as to what someone that has more ~inside info thinks. From what we know, i think they're giving way more time to these not big nor small devs (like delaying Psychonauts 2 and Wastelands 3 and Ori 2 having such a big dev time), but that could be me from an outside perspective.
Besides the fact that it’s the only practical and economic way for MS to proceed, I think it will be great for players as well. I will be very happy to see a major rebirth of AA games, which will allow developers to take more chances and bring us a wider variety of experiences.

Plus, there is nothing stopping them from turning a AA game into a AAA sequel if something really hits well.
 

VeePs

Member
Oct 25, 2017
10,607
I'm not sure what defines AAA and what defines AA, but I really enjoyed a lot of different titles for PS2 and I think that's why that gen was my favorite. Big blockbusters like Jak II and God of War, and other games like Downhill Domination and War of the Monsters ( love this game).
 

harSon

Member
Oct 30, 2017
3,461
Besides the fact that it’s the only practical and economic way for MS to proceed, I think it will be great for players as well. I will be very happy to see a major rebirth of AA games, which will allow developers to take more chances and bring us a wider variety of experiences.

Plus, there is nothing stopping them from turning a AA game into a AAA sequel if something really hits well.
I've written about it before here, but I think GamePass is a more potentially lucrative venture than people give it credit for - and would bring in enough revenue to support a substantial investment into AAA development should they see the need to.

$10/month is the equivalent of 2 full priced games a year. $15/month is the equivalent of 3 full priced games a year. And $20/month is the equivalent of 4 full priced games a year. With any consumer group, there are power users and those that aren't. With that logic in mind, there are people who spent well over the price of 2-4 full priced games a year, and there are those who spend less. Depending on the price point, while you're losing potential revenue from your more engaged gamers, you're making more than you otherwise would have from those who are less engaged - so it balances out in a way in the end.

I'm pulling these numbers out of my ass, but lets be conservative (I have no idea if I'm being conservative) and say that at its peak - Microsoft has 20,000,000 active subscribers to Gamepass. That would be $2.4 billion to $4.8 billion in revenue annually, depending on the $10-20/month subscription cost. Every additional 5 million subscribers would be $600 million to $1.2 billion in additional revenue annually. Now that's revenue exclusively from the subscription. That doesn't include consumers who are still purchasing games, and the purchase of downloadable content - given that Gamepass only gives you the base game and not season passes / expansion packs. That seems like a fairly significant amount of money to me?

I think this model is beneficial to Microsoft in a way the AMC's A-List subscription is beneficial to AMC. I'm a subscriber to AMC A-List for $20/month, and while I easily make out like a bandit in terms of how many movies I'm watching a month - I ultimately find myself watching movies I otherwise wouldn't have. Yes, had I had to pay for the 8 movies I saw this month in theaters - AMC would stand to make more money. But I probably would not have watched 6 of those movies. Furthermore, since I find myself in the theater more often, I'm probably not saving as much as I feel like I am given concession purchases. The same is true for Microsoft. Simply because consumers are playing all of these games on Gamepass, does not mean that Microsoft is losing money - because someone consuming something on a subscription model does not mean they would purchase that item through traditional means had they not been able to play it through the subscription service. And since they're going to have consumers trying games they otherwise would not have, Microsoft stands to have situations where consumers enjoy games they otherwise would not have - and then purchase DLC / season passes for games they otherwise would not have.

I think Microsoft's short term and mid term goals for GamePass and First Party development is to create a value proposition that is irresistible to gamers, and bolster the existence of a subscription game platform to a generation of gamers - establishing it within the zeitgeist of gaming, similar to what Netflix did from 2012 until recently with streaming television. It's not a matter of what's practical, economical, or sustainable in the short term - it's a matter of creating a culture of dependency. And to do so, I believe they'll be willing to pump a ridiculous amount of money into creating that foundation. That's why they've purchased seven studios, created two (three if you include Playground Games second full team), significantly bolstered the workforce of existing and newly acquired studios -and on top of the fact that they're seemingly not done acquiring studios.
 

crazillo

Member
Apr 5, 2018
1,713
Stuttgart, Germany
It's weird how some people are mourning the death of AA titles yet now demand new AAA experiences from some of the smaller studios Microsoft has acquired. They will certainly continue with AAA development, and yes, maybe they need to add even more capacities in this regard to their portfolio. But polished AA experiences with financial security for studios like inXile and Double Fine will just be great to the Xbox portfolio diversity, and while they might not move consoles alone, they collectively can have a huge impact IMO.
 

Matt

The Terror that Flaps in the Night
Moderator
Oct 24, 2017
2,458
I've written about it before here, but I think GamePass is a more potentially lucrative venture than people give it credit for - and would bring in enough revenue to support a substantial investment into AAA development should they see the need to.

$10/month is the equivalent of 2 full priced games a year. $15/month is the equivalent of 3 full priced games a year. And $20/month is the equivalent of 4 full priced games a year. With any consumer group, there are power users and those that aren't. With that logic in mind, there are people who spent well over the price of 2-4 full priced games a year, and there are those who spend less. Depending on the price point, while you're losing potential revenue from your more engaged gamers, you're making more than you otherwise would have from those who are less engaged - so it balances out in a way in the end.

I'm pulling these numbers out of my ass, but lets be conservative (I have no idea if I'm being conservative) and say that at its peak - Microsoft has 20,000,000 active subscribers to Gamepass. That would be $2.4 billion to $4.8 billion in revenue annually, depending on the $10-20/month subscription cost. Every additional 5 million subscribers would be $600 million to $1.2 billion in additional revenue annually. Now that's revenue exclusively from the subscription. That doesn't include consumers who are still purchasing games, and the purchase of downloadable content - given that Gamepass only gives you the base game and not season passes / expansion packs. That seems like a fairly significant amount of money to me?

I think this model is beneficial to Microsoft in a way the AMC's A-List subscription is beneficial to AMC. I'm a subscriber to AMC A-List for $20/month, and while I easily make out like a bandit in terms of how many movies I'm watching a month - I ultimately find myself watching movies I otherwise wouldn't have. Yes, had I had to pay for the 8 movies I saw this month in theaters - AMC would stand to make more money. But I probably would not have watched 6 of those movies. Furthermore, since I find myself in the theater more often, I'm probably not saving as much as I feel like I am given concession purchases. The same is true for Microsoft. Simply because consumers are playing all of these games on Gamepass, does not mean that Microsoft is losing money - because someone consuming something on a subscription model does not mean they would purchase that item through traditional means had they not been able to play it through the subscription service. And since they're going to have consumers trying games they otherwise would not have, Microsoft stands to have situations where consumers enjoy games they otherwise would not have - and then purchase DLC / season passes for games they otherwise would not have.

I think Microsoft's short term and mid term goals for GamePass and First Party development is to create a value proposition that is irresistible to gamers, and bolster the existence of a subscription game platform to a generation of gamers - establishing it within the zeitgeist of gaming, similar to what Netflix did from 2012 until recently with streaming television. It's not a matter of what's practical, economical, or sustainable in the short term - it's a matter of creating a culture of dependency. And to do so, I believe they'll be willing to pump a ridiculous amount of money into creating that foundation. That's why they've purchased seven studios, created two (three if you include Playground Games second full team), significantly bolstered the workforce of existing and newly acquired studios -and on top of the fact that they're seemingly not done acquiring studios.
That’s absolutely not the plan right now. They can make (at least) 4 AA games for the price of a AAA game in significantly less time. They bought studios that were cheap and good at operating on budget and on schedule so that they would have a stable of developers that operate cheaply and on a reliable schedule. AAA game development is long and complicated, and MS simply won’t have the resources to do what you are talking about, even if they increased the size of all of heir studios by 50%.

We are not returning to the Xbox of the 2000s where money was no object and losses are largely irrelevant. Spencer sold Nadella on staying in the game space by promising that becoming the Netflix for games would mean a profitable gaming division.

As for your back of the napkin math, the issue is the larger the GP user base, the more it will cost to license third party content. Adding in that fact the all major third parties are exploring their own subscription services, you can see the parallel to Netflix runs even deeper: Microsoft needs to start producing a lot of content, fast, so that they can continue to fill out GP as third parties leave it, just as Netflix is doing now.

Don’t sell yourself on the idea that MS with GP will be releasing AAA game after AAA game. It’s straight up not possible, and wouldn’t be for a very long time.
 
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Rion

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,736
Unless you're trying to claim that sports games aren't AAA games, EA routinely puts out 4+ AAA games per year.
I don't think I've ever heard anyone call a yearly sports game (where the biggest changes are in most cases updated kits and player transfers) AAA, either on here or on the old place.

At least from my point of view, the conversation was based around big AAA games like GTA, RDR, AC, TLOU, Halo, God of War, Gears, Horizon, BotW etc.

In terms of those sorts of experiences I don't think there's any chance of MS or any publisher having four per year. Two is a stretch once you take into account a generational leap in visuals due at the end of next year.
 

Taylo207

Member
Jan 10, 2018
1,849
I'm happy to be proven wrong but I don't see any single company (not even giant third party conglomerates like EA or Ubisoft who own a ton of different studios) able to put out four AAA games per year, every single year. AAA game development simply takes too long and it's only going to take longer next gen.
I think that whole 4 AAA games a year thing is slightly off, it’s obvious they’re going for consistently having 4 1st party games per year (ideally one per quarter I’d imagine) regardless of whether theyre AAA or AA, plus it’s a lot more achievable.

It’s something they’ve been trying to achieve for a while, this year for example was supposed to be Ori 2, Crackdown 3, Battletoads and Gears 5 but Ori and Battletoads got bumped to next year, having more studios means they have more flexibility in their lineup in terms of pushing things back and giving them more time.

This guys knows what's up.

All we need now is a large scope Shadow Run game by Obsidian!

Also did Matt just low key tease Perfect Dark?
We’re getting a new PD and it’s being made by Ready at Dawn (well one can dream).
 

Granjinha

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,952
Besides the fact that it’s the only practical and economic way for MS to proceed, I think it will be great for players as well. I will be very happy to see a major rebirth of AA games, which will allow developers to take more chances and bring us a wider variety of experiences.

Plus, there is nothing stopping them from turning a AA game into a AAA sequel if something really hits well.
Yeah, that's what i imagined. Thanks for the answer! I love these mid tier and different experiences, so i'm all in for this kind of strategy, especially if stuff like what InXile and Ninja Theory are talking about is true, of MS supporting them and giving them more financial stability, time and resources for these experiences.
 
Feb 10, 2018
13,428
I think that whole 4 AAA games a year thing is slightly off, it’s obvious they’re going for consistently having 4 1st party games per year (ideally one per quarter I’d imagine) regardless of whether theyre AAA or AA, plus it’s a lot more achievable.

It’s something they’ve been trying to achieve for a while, this year for example was supposed to be Ori 2, Crackdown 3, Battletoads and Gears 5 but Ori and Battletoads got bumped to next year, having more studios means they have more flexibility in their lineup in terms of pushing things back and giving them more time.



We’re getting a new PD and it’s being made by Ready at Dawn (well one can dream).

Are ready at dawn going to be brought by Ms?