from the say-what-now? dept
Xbox’s management team’s inability to put out a clear public message regarding exclusive titles is becoming a real thing. When the season of acquisitions kicked off last year and Microsoft bought up Zenimax/Bethesda studios, the muddled messaging began. First were conflicting statements over the exclusivity of those studios’ titles, then came Microsoft saying those titles would be “first/better” on Xbox, before finally landing on at least one title from Bethesda going as an Xbox exclusive. The confused messaging continued after Microsoft announced it was looking to acquire Activision Blizzard, with some vague messaging about how that studio’s games would be handled.
And so here we are, with the Xbox folks saying lots of words about not really being into exclusives while churning out exclusives. And amidst all of that, just to keep things as confusing as possible, is Xbox chief Phil Spencer saying again that exclusives aren’t really part of Microsoft’s vision for the console.
Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, recently described the progress of Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard as heading in a “positive direction,” as the company awaits regulatory approval of the deal that would see it owning wildly popular franchises such as Call of Duty and World of Warcraft. He also believes that we’re likely to see exclusives play “less and less” of a role in the console space moving forward. These comments come after Xbox recently acquired Bethesda Softworks—making upcoming, highly anticipated games like Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI console-exclusive to Xbox—and seeks to finalize the aforementioned Activision deal.
Now, we could take Spencer at his word and assume that Microsoft has some plan to ween itself off exclusivity. But I’m not sure how that makes any sense. For one thing, why the need for the weening at all? If Xbox doesn’t believe in exclusivity as a business philosophy, then don’t plan to make these new titles, which won’t come out any time in the very near future, exclusive. What’s the problem?
Add to that how the public has been conditioned to not take Spencer at his word, and it leaves me wondering why anyone wouldn’t assume that Spencer’s statement will soon transform into something that leaves more room for exclusive titles. That is what has happened every step of the way thus far.
Spencer touched on a variety of topics, including the company’s recent moves to acquire Activision Blizzard, the scrutiny of Activision’s documented culture of sexual harassment, the unionization efforts seen at Activision, and how he believes that the very concept of exclusives is due to go the way of the dinosaur.
But again, all the current actions by Microsoft amount to them roaring at the sky and waving tiny arms like a T-Rex. So why can’t Spencer just put out a transparent message, whatever the truthful message might be?
Filed Under: exclusives, phil spencer, video games, xbox
Source by www.techdirt.com