Microsoft’s Phil Spencer Talks Digital Distribution Vs. Retail Game Sales

Corporate VP also talks about ID@Xbox.

Posted By | On 09th, Jan. 2014 Under News


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In a recent interview with OXM, Phil Spencer, Microsoft Studios corporate Vice President, offered up his perspective on the current trends in the gaming market. He observed that the boom in digital distribution in gaming has given mid-tier games a shot where, at a time when retail was the most relied upon way to get games, they were suffering in the face of the PC indie game boom. He was quoted as stating:

“I think a real saviour for us has been the advent of the digital stores, whether it’s PSN or Xbox Live Arcade. What it’s meant is that studios don’t have to look at retail as the only way that they can sell their content.

“I think five to six years ago, there was a real concern that we were going to lose those mid-tier games because they maybe weren’t games that could scale up to compete with Halo, Call of Duty, or GTA, and there was no other avenue for those games to actually find consumers. A couple things have happened: you’ve seen the advent of [Apple’s] App Store, Android, and large-scale devices where a lot of those developers have gone, and there’s been some great games created for those devices.”

Spencer went on to talk about Xbox’s self-publishing indie development program ID@Xbox: “The indie program that we’re running – Sony’s obviously running an indie program – we’re opening up the stores more on console, and the nice thing is, I think consoles will now start to feel more like the other devices in terms of the breadth of content.

“A unique capability on consoles is to play a game like Ryse; there may have some of that on PC, but most of the PC games are service based, just because the retail market for PC games is a real challenge: to sell a single-player offline game.

“There’s some things that have been successful, like Diablo, but it’s more challenging. I think console can actually manage on both ends of the spectrum, we can put beautiful, long triple-A content on-screen – it’s a unique place for that content – but also embrace the breadth of content that comes from smaller studios and us as publishers, we just have to be aware that both ends of the spectrum are important and can be successful.”

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