Speaking to fans on Twitter, Head of Xbox Phil Spencer criticizes the practice of console exclusive DLC, and discusses how to grow the console gaming market.
Consoles used to compete for consumer dollars by securing exclusive games, and while that still happens, what we’ve seen more of in recent years is the rise of console exclusive DLC. Console exclusive DLC deals are an attempt to convince gamers to purchase a multiplatform game on one console over the other, with both Sony and Microsoft guilty of the practice. However, fans may see less console exclusive DLC for the Xbox brand, if recent comments by Xbox boss Phil Spencer are any indication.
Spencer spoke out against console exclusive DLC on Twitter, saying that the practice “doesn’t feel like growth.” Spencer went on to say that console gaming needs growth, and the way to achieve it is to have a balance between old franchises to keep core fans happy and new IP to grow the market.
Besides growing the market with new gaming IP, Spencer pointed to other recent Xbox initiatives as another way to bring in new gamers. According to Spencer, programs like EA Access, Xbox Play Anywhere, and Game Preview are all ways to move console gaming forward, not to mention the recent introduction of console mods through games like Fallout 4 and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Special Edition.
@BeastFireTimdog @Sobski117 @Manfry75 Paying marketing funds so another consoles base can't play a piece of content doesn't feel like growth— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) December 20, 2016
While Spencer seems to have a clear vision of how he thinks console gaming can grow, it’s worth noting Microsoft has engaged in the very practices he is criticizing, and has been since he has been in charge. In fact, it was just last year’s E3 when it was announced that The Division’s DLC would be Xbox timed-exclusive. Prior to that, Microsoft had timed-exclusive rights to Call of Duty‘s DLC for years.
Considering Microsoft’s past with console exclusive DLC, some may think Spencer’s comments are hypocritical. However, Spencer clarified that he’s not trying to call out the competition for doing the same thing, and he’s not denying that Microsoft is guilty of paying for console exclusive DLC. He’s just pointing out a practice he doesn’t like.
Of course, it could be that Spencer has changed his tune because of PS4 having more high profile console exclusive DLC deals than Xbox One. For example, Call of Duty‘s DLC is now timed-exclusive for PlayStation, and there’s plenty of PlayStation exclusive content in Destiny. And while we can’t say definitively either way, there’s a distinct possibility that PlayStation’s timed-exclusive DLC for major third party releases has played a significant role in PS4 crushing Xbox One in the console sales race.