Phil Spencer wants Epic Games Store and others on Xbox consoles

Phil Spencer doesn’t simply need Xbox video games on different consoles. He wants different online game retailers on Xbox, too.

In an interview with Microsoft’s CEO of Gaming through the annual Recreation Builders Convention, Spencer informed Polygon concerning the methods he’d like to interrupt down the walled gardens which have traditionally restricted gamers to creating purchases by way of the first-party shops tied to every console. Or, in layperson phrases, why it is best to be capable of purchase video games from different shops on Xbox — not simply the official storefront.

Spencer talked about his frustrations with closed ecosystems, so we requested for readability. May he actually see a future the place shops like Itch.io and Epic Games Store existed on Xbox? Was it only a matter of determining mountains of paperwork to get there?

“Yes,” stated Spencer. “[Consider] our history as the Windows company. Nobody would blink twice if I said, ‘Hey, when you’re using a PC, you get to decide the type of experience you have [by picking where to buy games]. There’s real value in that.” Spencer believes console gamers would profit from that freedom too — and so would console makers like Microsoft.

Spencer defined how, prior to now, console makers would usually subsidize the price of costly {hardware}, realizing {that a} portion of each greenback spent on video games for the platform through the years would ultimately make it again to the console maker. Then, in time, the console maker would recoup the subsidy — and hopefully extra.

Picture: Henry Hargreaves for Polygon

However, Spencer stated, “Moore’s Law has slowed down. The price of the components of a console aren’t coming down as fast as they have in previous generations.” Worse, he defined, the console market isn’t rising, with extra avid gamers transferring to PC and handheld choices. Now, the notion of subsidizing a console — and forcing gamers to buy video games by way of the official storefront to assist recoup prices — won’t make sense. The partitions meant to lock individuals into consoles is perhaps motivating them to remain out.

“[Subsidizing hardware] becomes more challenging in today’s world,” Spencer stated. “And I will say, and this may seem too altruistic, I don’t know that it’s growing the industry. So I think, what are the barriers? What are the things that create friction in today’s world for creators and players? And how can we be part of opening up that model?”

The reply, partially, is scrapping exclusivity on extra and extra Xbox video games. Spencer defined that the sport expertise is hindered when it issues what consoles we play on or what outlets promote us our video games. For example, he pointed to Sea of Thieves. A participant, he defined, shouldn’t have to fret about what {hardware} they or their associates personal. They need to simply know if their associates have and wish to play Sea of Thieves.

Now, Spencer stated, “if I want to play on a gaming PC, then I feel like I’m more a continuous part of a gaming ecosystem as a whole. As opposed to [on console], my gaming is kind of sharded — to use a gaming term — based on these different closed ecosystems that I have to play across.”

Xbox Series S front view with controller floating in front of it

Picture: Microsoft

Spencer’s view sounds cheap on paper. The console market is flat. The PC market is rising partially as a result of it provides gamers a alternative in the place they purchase video games. So, if consoles wish to carry gamers again, they’ll should be extra like PCs. And which means bringing down the walled gardens that, for many years, have protected the monetary mannequin of sport consoles.

If Spencer wants to make that imaginative and prescient a actuality, then it’s cheap that we may sooner or later boot up our Xboxes and see Epic Games Store, Itch.io, and different outlets ready to promote us video games — and hopefully competing with each other to carry gamers the absolute best offers.

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