Xbox’s Phil Spencer and Matt Booty have been speaking on the rise of live service games, and said that though they are getting more common, there’s still plenty of room for traditional narrative experiences too on Xbox consoles.
The two were speaking in an interview with The Guardian, where Spencer claimed there were still plenty of more traditional games still to come. “I think we’re probably building more of those now than we’ve been in the history of Xbox,” he said. “Platform holders, whether that platform is subscription or a hardware device or a store, are actively investing in new and probably more risky things, because, if it works, we get value out of bringing players into the ecosystem.”
With recent developments such as the recent announcement of Assassin’s Creed Infinity as a “live service platform” for future titles, it’s perhaps reasonable to think there might be a heavy push for live service games. But Matt Booty denied there’s any edict to developers to make them. “We don’t have any direction or mandate that says every game has to be an ongoing, sustained game. Take Psychonauts: there might be a Psychonauts 3, but I’m not going to tell Tim Schafer to go make it. Knowing the history of games that he makes, I don’t think he’s going to be making a game that has seasons and goes on for five years.”
Booty also mentioned a couple of live service titles already at Xbox, saying: “Sea of Thieves has longevity and we’re going to have Halo multiplayer start to be based around seasons, but Compulsion Games, our studio in Montreal, weren’t told to go build something that’s going to have seasons or six pieces of DLC or something.”
Of course, there’s also the question of Xbox buying up more studios in the wake of their Bethesda purchase this year, and it sounds like Microsoft might be widening their search for future acquisitions. When questioned about the possibility of purchasing a studio in India, Africa or South America, Spencer said: “It would actually surprise me if that doesn’t happen. Just knowing the talent that’s available, and the tools that are so much more accessible … I would be surprised if in the next three to five years, you don’t see numerous studios in places that aren’t the traditional hubs of video game development.”
It’s a fascinating interview, and it’s well worth your time giving the full thing a read. Psychonauts 2 is scheduled to release on August 25, while Halo Infinite will launch this Holiday on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC.