Microsoft admits that it "lost" its strong relationship with developers following the release of the Xbox One. The comments come as the company is promoting its new Xbox One hardware SKU, having revealed the Project Scorpio's specs earlier today.
In an interview with Digital Foundry, the corporate vice president of the Xbox and Windows gaming platform at Microsoft, Mike Ybarra, revealed as much. He also says that when creating Project Scorpio, "The team looked back at developers and the developer relationship we have" and saw that "With Xbox 360 we had the absolute best platform for developers."
But, Ybarra says, the company "sort of lost that in a two-year time-frame" with the Xbox One, and so the team made it a priority to "win the mind-share" of those developers back. He explains that "We want the best games running on our box and there are tools, devkits and some arrows like that to win the developers back."
It's not difficult to guess why or how the Xbox One may have fallen out of favor with developers. In the early days of the console, Microsoft was heavily criticized for things such as the Xbox One parity clause, which saw that games on the console must be released the same time or before other platforms. Other policies such as an Internet connection requirement which meant that the console also had to have an online check-in once every 24 hours also saw huge backlash.
Now, though, it seems like Microsoft is doing plenty to get into developer's good graces again. Ybarra also mentions the fact that the upcoming Xbox One hardware "makes game creating easier" with its unified memory, something which was apparently the most requested feature by developers.
Moreover, Ybarra says, "We have to have the right toolset that lets them bring out their games across the whole family of products and let them create the absolute best versions of those games." Microsoft has already promoted that in a big way, with its Universal Windows Platform letting developers make games for all Windows 10 devices (including Xbox One) fairly simply, and it also helps them port a game from platform to the other more easily, too. It's also worth noting that Project Scorpio can run 4K UWP PC games natively, which again is incredibly useful for developers.
With the Project Scorpio release date still six months or so away, it may be a bit soon to say whether or not Microsoft has managed to totally repair its relationship with developers. For now, though, it seems like all the right notes are being hit, and the move could well pay off for Xbox players.
Fans should expect to hear more from Microsoft about Project Scorpio in the coming weeks and months.