Xbox Series X games aren’t being held back by cross-gen development, says Spencer

By Stephany Nunneley, Friday, 10 July 2020 14:40 GMT

Microsoft Studios developers are creating games that will work on both Xbox One and Xbox Series X, and according to Phil Spencer, this will not stop next-generation games from reaching their full potential.

Speaking with Gi.biz, Xbox boss Phil Spencer brushed off the opinion that Xbox Series X games will be “held back” by Microsoft’s development studios creating games that are also compatible with Xbox One.

Spencer likened cross-generation development to PC games, which have a diverse ecosystem when it comes to hardware. You have games that are powerful with the “highest fidelity” which will also “work across a set of hardware.”

“Frankly, held back is a meme that gets created by people who are too caught up in device competition,” said Spencer. “I just look at Windows. It’s almost certain if the developer is building a Windows version of their game, then the most powerful and highest fidelity version is the PC version. You can even see that with some of our first-party console games going to PC, even from our competitors, that the richest version is the PC version. Yet the PC ecosystem is the most diverse when it comes to hardware, when you think about the CPUs and GPUs from years ago that are there.

“Yes, every developer is going to find a line and say that this is the hardware that I am going to support, but the diversity of hardware choice in PC has not held back the highest fidelity PC games on the market. The highest fidelity PC games rival anything that anybody has ever seen in video games. So this idea that developers don’t know how to build games, or game engines, or ecosystems, that work across a set of hardware… there’s a proof point in PC that shows that’s not the case.”

Spencer went on to say that when it comes to next-gen consoles, better load times, fidelity, framerate, and input latency should be celebrated, but at the same time, you cannot “exclude people from being able to play.”

In order not to exclude Xbox One players, Microsoft previously said not to expect Xbox Series X exclusive gamess until at least a year after the console launches. Head of Xbox Games Studios Matt Booty said that like PC, Xbox developed games will play up and down the “family of devices.”

“We want to make sure that if someone invests in Xbox between now and [Series X] that they feel that they made a good investment and that we’re committed to them with content,” said Booty at the time.

Spencer brings home this point in his interview with GI.biz, by reiterating that when it comes to the company’s console strategy, Microsoft wants its customers to play its games on any device they want. When it comes to the upcoming console generation, it’s the player that’s at the center of its strategy because gaming is “bigger than one device.”

“Our device is not the center of our strategy, our game is not the center of the strategy,” he said. “We want to enable you to play the games you want to play with the friends you want to play with, on any device. On TV, the Xbox console is going to be the best way to play console games. Xbox Series X is the most powerful console out there and it will have absolutely the best versions of our console games. But that’s not to exclude other people from being able to play.

“Gaming is about entertainment and community and diversion and learning new stories and new perspectives, and I find it completely counter to what gaming is about to say that part of that is to lock people away from being able to experience those games. Or to force someone to buy my specific device on the day that I want them to go buy it, in order to partake in what gaming is about.”

“Gaming is bigger than any one device, and that is something as an industry that we’ve embraced all up as we bring more and more players in. I think it’s vital to the role that gaming can play on the planet.”

Xbox Series X is slated for release this holiday.

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