Xbox division president Phil Spencer made some eyebrow-raising remarks recently on the Guardian. He gave his insights about the current status of the video game industry. His remarks were met with criticism across social media. Here are four main takeaways from Spencer’s comments:
- Single-player games are not as lucrative as they once were
The bulk of the criticism from Phil Spencer’s comments came from his view on the current status of single-player based games. Video game development budgets have burgeoned as modern graphics have become more demanding and labor intensive. While Spencer did single out Horizon: Zero Dawn and Zelda: Breath of the Wild as exceptions to the rule, many games have to sell millions of copies just to break even. Final Fantasy XV, for example, required at least 5 million copies just to break even. Often times, sales of single-player games lose relevancy weeks after their initial release, unlike multiplayer games that sell well in the long-term.
- Games as a service is the current market trend
Modern consumers have many devices that fight for their attention, and video games are no different. Customers are increasingly sensitive to value propositions from entertainment. That is one reason why Netflix and HBO GO have grown steadily. Phil Spencer understands this notion and plans to replicate a similar service via Xbox Game Pass.
- Multiplayer games rule the roost
It is no surprise that multiplayer-centric games regularly appear on NPD top-selling lists. Overwatch, Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto V are all regulars on top-selling games list for a good reason, they consistently add new content and value to their respected games while continue to bring in new players. Spencer is a big fan of Destiny, who has put hundreds of hours into Bungie’s MMOFPS also noted this trend and he believes such games will continue to bring in gamers in the long-term. Microtransactions, online distribution and new content prolong multiplayer games’ lifespans; this is one reason why Microsoft tries to incorporate these trends in their exclusive games.
- Xbox One will have upcoming single-player focused games
Although the Xbox head’s opinions on single-player games received criticism, it is not an admission that Microsoft will phase out single-player games. On the contrary, Spencer indicated that there are Microsoft IPs in the pipeline without mentioning specifics. The Xbox boss also said on Twitter that there will be single-player Xbox console exclusive games to look forward to in the near future. Expect unannounced Microsoft IPs to appear at E3.
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