The Xbox division has “a focus on cost controls and profitability”.
That their first party isn’t even close to being strong enough to compete against their competitors Sony and Nintendo has always been one of the most common criticisms levelled at Microsoft. Recently, Phil Spencer confirmed that Microsoft would be allocating extra funding to strengthen that area, just as they’d earlier done with their hardware division and with Xbox Live. According to new information, though, that isn’t actually going to happen.
An industry insider known on NeoGAF as “Matt” has reported that Microsoft haven’t made any meaningful upgrades to their investments of their general focus toward building and developing a stronger first party lineup. You’d expect that with the Xbox One lagging severely behind the PS4 in sales, and with the Switch catching up, Microsoft might want to do everything in its power to change that. “Microsoft is not meaningfully increasing their investments in or focus on first party. That could change, I would love for that to change, but it hasn’t,” the insider stated.
However, as per the insidre, it has been unable to done so because the Xbox division of Microsoft does not have a blank check as far as making new IPs goes. The Xbox division has “a focus on cost controls and profitability”. What also hasn’t helped is the fact that Microsoft’s first party this games this generation have not performed as well as they’d hoped. “Their software efforts have underperformed this gen, and the Xbox division doesn’t have a blank check to do whatever they want. They have a focus on cost controls and profitability. Spending a lot on game dev doesn’t fit into that in their view,” he further added.
As usual, take this information with a grain of salt. Phil Spencer did mention around E3 that there was more from Microsoft in the pipeline, and while that doesn’t seem in line with this report, there’s every chance we might hear something from Microsoft in the near future. The question is, will it be more of Halo and Gears of War, or can we expect more new franchises? Not that more Halo and Gears would be a bad thing, but the latter option would be preferable. It remains to be seen.