If you don’t like the games for Xbox One, blame Phil Spencer. As head of Microsoft Game Studios, his job is to create a line-up of titles that make Microsoft’s new game console a must-have during the holidays, even in the face of competition from the PlayStation 4.
Spencer has had about three years to put together a line-up of the games that Microsoft is internally producing at its own game studios for the Xbox One. Now we’re about to see the fruits of that strategy. We caught up with him at a recent Xbox One preview event to play the games and ask him about his plans.
Here’s an edited transcript of our interview.
GamesBeat: So how do you feel about the launch titles?
Phil Spencer: At least from a first-party standpoint, all of our games are in certification. We’re well along the way to finishing. It’s been a long journey. I feel good about the games. The thing I’m most proud of, other than just the effort the teams are putting in, is the breadth of content. From your core-est of core franchises like Ryse: Son of Rome to a game like Zoo Tycoon, some retro things like Killer Instinct, Forza, the breadth of content is going to be good for consumers.
GamesBeat: Do you feel like you hit your plan, or do you wish you had more of something out on the floor?
Spencer: From a numbers standpoint, it’s a lot of content that’ll be available day one. I haven’t gone back and added up the number of franchises that shipped on every other console, but it feels like there’s a lot of content available day one.
Day one is a unique point in time for franchises. Some might say it’s the smallest installed base, but some of our biggest franchises in the industry were created with day one launches, because there’s so much excitement. There’s a bit of hit-and-miss around being a launch title. If you can create a Halo — if you’re so definitive of what the platform means — that’s the opportunity.
Spencer: It seems like it. I’ll focus on something like Ryse. For me, it’s one of the most visually stunning things I’ve seen on screen. That’s a real opportunity. People go buy their new hardware. They’re going to want to have experiences that show off the capability of their investment. Rewinding 20 years, I go buy a new graphics card for my PC, and I go buy Flight Simulator so I can show people the number of polys there that I can pump out. Maybe four? [laughs]
Now, Gears wasn’t a launch game on 360, but when you went from standard def on the original Xbox to high def on the 360, people wanted the high def experiences that were going to be there. The Kinect launch was the same way. The announce we did very recently around Kinect Sports Preseason, having a couple of the Kinect Sports available there day one, is really important. The Kinect value proposition is something we believe in.