Over the weekend an interview was published by the Guardian in which Phil Spencer talked about how gaming has evolved into a service , what this denotes is that the developers support for the title extends far beyond launch, and undoubtedly this is were the future of gaming exists . However there is also the fact that the costs of running a server and upkeep might not be feasible for many smaller development studios , and Phil Spencer believes the solution lies in Microsoft Azure Cloud Computing platform being made available for many smaller studios, so that they gain access to a large global network of servers without having to incur increasing costs.
However Phil made some very interesting comments which seemed to irk many within the gaming community regarding games which make use of single player narratives. Here is what he had to say
“The audience for those big story-driven games… I won’t say it isn’t as large, but they’re not as consistent. You’ll have things like Zelda or Horizon Zero Dawn that’ll come out, and they’ll do really well, but they don’t have the same impact that they used to have because the big service-based games are capturing such a large amount of the audience. Sony’s first-party studios do a lot of these games, and they’re good at them, but outside of that, it’s difficult – they’re become more rare; it’s a difficult business decision for those teams, you’re fighting into more headwind.”
He went on to say that he himself is a big fan of story driven games , and wants them to do well. However he also feels that single player games suffer from design issues and tend to be part of ” Legacy Franchises” which can span a better part of a decade.
“As creators, we’ve got to think about accessibility of the content that we build. Our big narrative story-driven games are in some ways less accessible. They may be the nth iteration of a story that, if you didn’t play the first and minus-one versions you don’t feel connected to. From a mechanics standpoint, they know the core audience has been playing games since PS1, and they just assume you’re a master with a controller.”
Needless to say Spencer’s comments did not sit well with many among the gaming community , and many accused him of being sour with the success of PS4 and its exclusive Horizon Zero Dawn. However to his credit Phil did specify that everything is not necessarily related to the console wars, and jokingly said that he might even wear a Horizon Zero Dawn T-Shirt at E3
@XboxP3 Most of us do . But being such a big face in gaming community you should choose your words carefully, don't become AARON he's obnoxious
— aceitman🎮gameON (@aceitman2) April 30, 2017
@aceitman2 Feedback taken. Maybe I should wear a HZD t-shirt at E3.
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) April 30, 2017
In my opinion its disparaging that at times everything gets turned into the console wars , and the gaming community does at times have a habit of taking comments out of context, if anything Horizon Zero Dawn is one of the best games of the year , and its good to see Phil Spencer maintaining his position while clarifying that he isn’t bitter over the success of Horizon Zero Dawn.