Microsoft’s new gaming strategy isn’t focused on Xbox hardware alone. Microsoft is releasing its games on PC, too, and Xbox boss Phil Spencer has now reiterated Microsoft’s stance on bringing its first-party games to PC and explained why the company isn’t focused on one platform in particular.
Spencer told GameReactor, “If we are shipping a first-party game, it’s coming to PC. If we are shipping a first-party game on PC it’s coming to Steam and our own store.”
This is a big change for Microsoft, as the company did not previously release all of its games across console and PC. Microsoft was criticized in the past for its stance on PC gaming, and Spencer acknowledged that this criticism was valid.
“If I rewind five years ago, I would say over and over, that we are committed to PC and then get a bunch of eye rolls, and rightfully so, for we weren’t doing much,” Spencer said. “But I think now when you look at what our standing is on Steam and Game Pass on PC, we have shown that our commitment over time has paid off. PC customers may or may not love what we do, but they know that when we are shipping things, we’re gonna do our best effort on PC as well as on Xbox.”
The term “Xbox” no longer means a gaming console, according to Spencer. Instead, “Xbox” pertains to any place where Xbox games are available–and this can include console, PC, or mobile.
“When we say ‘playing on Xbox’ it doesn’t mean an Xbox console,” he said. “It means somebody who is logging in and playing a part of our ecosystem, whether first-party or third-party. And it could be on an Android phone. It could be on a Switch. It could be on a PC. That’s how we think about it.”
In the interview, Spencer acknowledged that having games that are exclusive to one platform can help improve sales of the hardware in question, but other data shows this may not be true.
“I think exclusive games for closed platforms are a marketing tool to drive adoption of those closed platforms. And do they work? There is data that says they do, and data that says they don’t,” he said. “Let’s take this holiday, obviously, PlayStation and Xbox are shipping new consoles. We are both going to ship as many consoles as we can, and I am going to predict that we are both going to sell every console we build in 2020. And if I had another exclusive game, all I could do would be to sell out more quickly, right.”
Microsoft’s next consoles, the Xbox Series X and S machines, are scheduled for release on November 12 worldwide.