Traditionally, the Xbox brand has focused on multiplayer genres such as shooters or driving games, with certain exceptions, but after the significant growth of its internal studios after the purchase of Bethesda and many other studios, Microsoft claims to have a significant focus on the traditional storytelling games for one player, despite the fact that, in principle, they may seem incompatible with the business model of a subscription service like Xbox Game Pass.
«I think we are probably building more narrative games now than in all of Xbox history“Says Xbox Director Phil Spencer in an interview with The Guardian. “Platform owners, whether it’s a subscription, a hardware device, or a store, are actively investing in new and probably riskier things, because if it works, we get value from bring players to the ecosystem«.
While there are multiplayer experiences that fit seasonal models, such as Sea of Thieves or Halo Infinite, Microsoft says that it would be absurd to force it into other types of games and force the creators to do something that conflicts with their tradition. “We have no direction or mandate that says every game has to be a continuous and sustained game (game as a service),” says Matt Booty, Head of Xbox Games Studios. Let’s take Psychonauts: there could be a Psychonauts 3, but I’m not going to tell Tim Schafer to do it. Knowing the history of the games that he does, I don’t think I’m going to make a game that has seasons and lasts five years, ”he says.
“Compulsion Games, our studio in Montreal, weren’t told to build something that will have seasons or six pieces of DLC or something. Tell Me why was an important story for us, but there is no mandate that they have to figure out how to make seasons for that game, “says the manager. Spencer and Booty agree that to continue expanding the Xbox brand, they must count new stories and have new teams.
Will Microsoft buy new studios?
Regarding the question of whether Microsoft will be able to buy new studies in growing territories such as India, South Africa or South America, far from denying all possibility, Spencer does not rule out the idea in the future. “In fact, I would be surprised if that didn’t happen«Says the Xbox boss. “Only knowing the talent available and that the tools [como los motores Unity y Unreal] they are much more accessible, I would be surprised if in the next three to five years I do not see numerous studies in places that are not the traditional axes of video game development.
Ideally, in Booty’s words, each of these new industries could have a large study of several hundred people, “not for outsourcing or support, but for team building, whatever the version of the best blockbuster game for that market. That is very much the vision.
In any case, we will still have to wait a while to see Microsoft’s new bets in the field of narrative games with proposals such as Hellblade II, Starfield, Avowed and any other game that the company has yet to announce.