The Xbox and Microsoft press conference at E3 2017 had a number of big talking points, from the price tag of the Xbox One X through to more light-hearted matters like the meme-worthy banana eating of Sea of Thieves. However, some Xbox fans were a little disheartened, and were expecting a larger number of first party game announcements for the console. Now, Xbox head Phil Spencer has offered up and explanation, and promised that more is in the pipeline.
In an interview with Eurogamer, the subject of first party games for the Xbox One was brought up, and Spencer teased the prospect of more to come, stating “we’ve signed some things we haven’t announced.” However, it appears as though Microsoft is waiting until the time is right to unveil exactly what is planned for the Xbox One. “I’ve lived through announcing things too early and then had to live up to the hype while you’re trying to go build the game, and I’m learning. I’m not a big fan of that. So I want to give teams the time,” explained Spencer.
Spencer believes that the need to push out reveals before developers are necessarily ready is something that many companies struggle with. “We’re not alone in putting games on-stage early that then have a second E3, a third E3 before they actually come out. That’s an industry thing.” As a particular example, Spencer brought up the next Halo game, stating “as a platform holder there’s tension because, if I had shown Master Chief running around in 4K on the screen, the place would have gone crazy.”
However, Spencer explained that an early reveal is not always good for the development process, saying that “the time it takes to just get ready for the screen is real time away from production on the game.” It could also impact on fan expectations of the final product, particularly if a gameplay reveal does not align with the overall feel of the finished article. Instead, Spencer is waiting for the right time to announce and show games, stating “I’m going to be conscious of putting things on-stage when I know I can make a commitment to my fans and customers that they’re going to get to play those games.”
Spencer’s comments, and the use of Halo as an example, certainly match up with statements made by 343 Industries with regards to an update on Halo 6. The developer stated that the team is “heads down” working on the title, but that it is not quite ready to announce just yet, which certainly mirrors what Spencer was saying about Xbox announcements at the minute.
Over the course of E3 2017, Spencer has certainly been the catalyst of a number of discussions, be it Xbox first party titles or whether platform exclusive content and items are bad for the industry. Hopefully, there will be future talking points, too – and maybe some of them will relate to some much-wanted first party support for the Xbox One.