Sony and Nintendo are a formidable force in the gaming industry- not only are they among the leading providers of gaming hardware, but they have an arsenal of enviable franchises and games that are exclusive only to their systems, because they are made and owned by them and their internal studios. The reason that PlayStation and Nintendo consoles sell is because they are guaranteed compelling games that you won’t be able to play anywhere else.
Microsoft, though, seems to disagree with this philosophy. OXM reports that Microsoft Studios boss Phil Spencer believes that owning a wealth of first party studios is not necessary to deliver a catalog of compelling exclusive content.
“I think to some out there there’s a fixation with which studios you own, which studios you work with, and for better or worse I’m not fixated on that,” he said.
“I lived through the Xbox 360 generation and we had a great relationship with Epic, and we built Gears of War, and really that franchise was born on the Xbox 360 and hit incredible heights on the Xbox 360. And whether we owned Epic or simply worked with Epic was not part of the conversation [about whether] that game was going to be great.”
This is the kind of philosophy that seems to be driving Microsoft on the Xbox One as well- games like Dead Rising 3, Sunset Overdrive, Ryse: Son of Rome, or TitanFall are all exclusive to its console without being owned by Microsoft.
“Certain people will look at how many Microsoft-badged employees do you have versus Sony-badged employees, and when they start to weigh the different first parties,” he continued. “And I know there are some people that want to own their own studio, be independent, drive their business, and go completely their own way, keep their own culture.
“And I respect that – if people want to work that way, we’ll continue to work with them. I don’t see it as a barrier to what we can do together. Whether it’s Remedy, whether it’s Insomniac, whether it’s Crytek. So the relationship with Respawn? Obviously they have a publisher, EA, for their game, but it’s a strong relationship and we feel great about what they’re bringing to Xbox.”
It’s certainly a good way to get unpredictable exclusive content on your system, though it leaves you without the safety net of something like a Pokemon or an Uncharted.