Image: 343 Industries/Microsoft
Things haven’t been going well for Xbox lately. Microsoft faces strong resistance in its bid to acquire Activision Blizzard. He hardly released any big exclusive blockbusters last year. And he just cut over 10,000 jobs last week, including many senior developers at the Halo Infinite 343 Industries studio. Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer tried to stay optimistic and damage-limiting on each of these and more in a new interview with IGN.
“Every year is critical,” he said. “I don’t find this year more or less critical. I feel good in our momentum. Obviously we’re going through some adjustments right now which are painful, but I think it’s necessary, but it’s really to set us and the teams up for long-term success.
This week has captured both the peril and the promise Xbox faces right now. On Tuesday, Microsoft announced a decrease in net income of 12% for the last fiscal quarter compared to the previous year. Xbox gaming hardware and software have fallen by similar percentages, and Microsoft hasn’t said anything about how many new subscribers its Game Pass service has gained since hitting the 25 million mark exactly one year ago. year.
Then, on Wednesday, Microsoft provided a sleek, streamlined preview of its upcoming games in a Developer Direct livestream copied directly from Nintendo’s playbook. Forza Motorsport has apparently been quietly delayed to the second half of the year, but looked like a beautiful and impressive showpiece of racing sim. Arkane’s Sandbox co-op vampire shooter Redfall has had a May 2 release date. Real-time strategy spin-off Minecraft Legends will arrive in April. And to top it off, Tango Gameworks, creator of The Evil Within, has lost the shadow Hi-Fi Rush on Game Pass, a colorful left-field rhythm-action game that has already become the undisputed top gaming hit of 2023.
Screenshot: Tango Gameworks / Bethesda
“2022 was too light on games,” Spencer confessed in his IGN interview. 2023 shouldn’t be thanks to Redfall and Starfield, Bethesda’s much-anticipated answer to the question, “What if Skyrim but space?” But both of those games were technically supposed to come out last year. Meanwhile, Hi-Fi Rush, like Obsidian’s Pentiment before that, is shaping up to be a critically acclaimed Game Pass release that might still be too small to move the needle on Xbox’s biggest fortunes.
Spencer remained vague when asked about the success of these games or their impact on Game Pass, whose growth would have stalled on console. “I think creative diversity grows for us when we have different ways for people to pay for the games they’re playing, and the subscription certainly helps there,” he said.
Hi-Fi Rush, Redfall, Starfield and a new The Elder Scrolls Online expansion coming out in June are also all from Bethesdawhich Microsoft finished acquiring in 2021. Microsoft’s former first-party game studios have been relatively silent in recent years while working on their next big projects, or, in the case of 343 Industries, have recently been hit by a number surprising layoffs. .
Following the news of the cuts last week, rumors and speculation began circulating that 343 Industries – which launched a well-received Halo Infinite single-player campaign in 2021 but struggled with seasonal updates of the multiplayer component in the months that followed – was benched. The released studio a brief statement over the weekend saying that Halo was here to stay and would continue to develop it.
Spencer doubled down on that in his interview with IGN, but offered little information about the reasoning behind the layoffs or his plans for the future of the franchise. “What we’re doing now is we want to make sure the leadership team is set up with the flexibility to come up with the plan they need to build,” he said. “And Halo will remain critically important to what Xbox does, and 343 is critically important to the success of Halo.”
Where Halo Infinite has been touted before 10-year plan fits into this, however, remains unclear. “They have other things, some rumored, some announced, that they will be working on,” Spencer said. And on the future of the series as a whole, he simply said, “I expect that we will continue to support and grow Halo for as long as Xbox is a platform for people to play. ” It’s hard to imagine Nintendo talking about Mario with a similar lack of conviction.
Microsoft’s ongoing difficulties with some of its internal projects may be part of the reason it’s so focused on seeking help outside of the company. Currently, that means trying to acquire Activision Blizzard for $69 billion and fighting an antitrust lawsuit by the Federal Trade Commission in the process. Microsoft originally promised that the deal to get Call of Duty, Diablo, World of Warcraft, and Candy Crush would be done before the end of summer 2023. That deadline is fast approaching, even as the company continues to offer compromises, as would have given Sony the option to continue paying for Activision’s games on its rival Game Pass subscription service, PS Plus.
Spencer told IGN that he remains optimistic about closing the deal, even though he claims to know nothing about the logistics of doing so when he started a year ago. “Given that a year ago, for me, I knew nothing about the process of making an acquisition like this,” he said. “The fact that I have more insight, more knowledge about what it means to work with the various regulators, I’m more confident now than I was a year ago, just based on the information I have. and discussions we had.
Article source https://kotaku.com/halo-infinite-xbox-layoffs-starfield-game-pass-1850043324