Phil Spencer Says Single-Player Game Sales Are Easier On Consoles

 Pages 1 2 NEXT
 

Phil Spencer Says Single-Player Game Sales Are Easier On Consoles

Phil Spencer

Phil Spencer of Microsoft says it's easier to sell an offline, single-player game on consoles than PC, because most of the PC market is "service-based."

In a recent chit-chat with OXM, Microsoft Studios Corporate VP Phil Spencer talked a bit about how the growth of digital distribution has saved "mid-tier" games because smaller studios no longer have to rely on retail as their only source of distribution. "The indie program that we're running - Sony's obviously running an indie program - we're opening up the [digital] stores more on console, and the nice thing is, I think consoles will now start to feel more like the other devices in terms of the breadth of content," he said.

But he followed that with a comparison of consoles and PCs, and that's where things get a little confusing.

"A unique capability on consoles is to play a game like Ryse; there may have [been] some of that on PC, but most of the PC games are service based, just because the retail market for PC games is a real challenge: to sell a single-player offline game," he continued. "There's some things that have been successful, like Diablo, but it's more challenging. I think console can actually manage on both ends of the spectrum, we can put beautiful, long triple-A content on-screen - it's a unique place for that content - but also embrace the breadth of content that comes from smaller studios and us as publishers, we just have to be aware that both ends of the spectrum are important and can be successful."

I have to admit that I don't really follow his reasoning on this one. It makes some sense if he's speaking strictly about the retail marketplace but given that the discussion was about the growth and equalizing power of digital, it doesn't really fit. And while it may be just a poor choice of words, the ability "to play a game like Ryse" (setting aside the fact that it's exclusive to Xbox One) is quite obviously and irrefutably not unique to consoles at all.

I honestly can't tell if Spencer's message was muddled by poor wording, if he's really that determined to portray the Xbox One as a unique new force in the industry or if I'm just too dull-witted to understand what he's talking about, but whatever the case I certainly can't agree with it. Thoughts?

Source: OXM

Permalink

That man is a moron. Now i dont talk PR-Speak but from what i can make out from it, he is essentially claiming that the PC as a platform itself is based around the software being a service, rather than a product, where as on the console, specifically microsoft's console, it is a product, which you essentially own without the need for streaming, internet and so forth.

So who else just realized how fucking dumb this man is? Just me or did everyone else catch on at the same time? Because here's the rub, for one this whole "service thing" that apparently makes the PC not as good as consoles is caused by publishers such as Microsoft, EA, Ubisoft and various others, they want to sell you a license to use a product, rather than selling you the product itself. You caused this you dipshit and dont even give me that crap how the console is any different when not even half a year ago your company tried to push what is essentially a PC in console-format on the market, in fact it would have been worse than a PC because it would have had all the downsides with none of the upsides.

This man has to stop speaking, now. And to be even worse after all this, he is also the guy that wants Microsoft to focus a little more on the PC, which is by itself contradictionary given these statements right now, but also spells quite a interesting picture.

"We here at Microsoft designed the Xbox One as an always online box, but it works best with single player games."

No, I can't really say I understand his reasoning either, unless he had a true felt change of heart. I personally like to think he's deliberately ignoring all of the sites that sell DRM free offline experiences, hoping that if he doesn't acknowledge them they'll just disappear.

SKYRIM

That should be all I have to say to refute this utter moron but I'll go a bit further. First of all this quote:

I think console can actually manage on both ends of the spectrum, we can put beautiful, long triple-A content on-screen - it's a unique place for that content - but also embrace the breadth of content that comes from smaller studios and us as publishers, we just have to be aware that both ends of the spectrum are important and can be successful.

Is it just me or does it seem like most Triple-A games these days other than those made by Ubisoft, Bethesda, and Rockstar North are actually on average VERY SHORT? In addition, while the console markets may be BEGINNING to recognise the Indie devs and middle of the road devs and allow their games to be added to console libraries without paying extortionate prices; the PC indie scene has been absolutely THRIVING in the last few years. Digital distribution and alpha-release business models have enabled very small devs to make and sell very successful games on PC, have direct dialog with their consumer base, and not pay ridiculous fees to get attention. Also say what you will about Greenlight but it's way better than the alternative of only being able to get sold on a platform by paying Microsoft and Sony thousands of dollars.

Also the only thing stopping single player games from selling on PC is the developper's unwillingness to either a) actually sell it for PC b)make a proper port that works and doesn't suck ass or c) stop tying the game to crippling DRM like GFWL

As an example, the demand for Dark Souls on PC was so high that the developers actually ported it to PC in response to a petition even though they had no previous experience with PC. There exist similar petitions for GTA V and Red Dead Redemption.

The PC is the best platform for single player games (and honestly, almost all other games too), ESPECIALLY if they provide modder support like Skyrim did. People are STILL making mods for Morrowind, Thief, Deus Ex, and other ancient games to make them stand up better to todays standards or to just make them more fun or fix bugs.

GOG as a platform wouldn't be able to exist if single player games didn't sell on PC because most of those old games are single player and even if they have multiplayer a lot of them don't work anymore without services like Gameranger to host servers.

To conclude, this guy is a dumb-ass. Nuff said.

Without thinking about it a whole lot, yeah I kind of agree. Aside from a few standout games, I rarely considered buying single player offline games until they started dropping down to as low as five and ten dollars around 2010.

I suspect a combination of seasonal affective disorder, stress from failing to meet end-of-quarter goals, and side effects from mixing alcohol and prescription medication. Nothing else, in my experienced opinion, can explain this complete failure of the human cognitive process. If his decline follows the same steps as mine did, he'll completely forget how to read and speak his native language within the week.

The good news is afterwards he can probably still land a job in fiscal analysis.

ticklefist:
Without thinking about it a whole lot, yeah I kind of agree. Aside from a few standout games, I rarely considered buying single player offline games until they started dropping down to as low as five and ten dollars around 2010.

But is that a PC-exclusive thing, or across the board?

I...what? I just spend the Christmas period and a good chunk of this week playing single player games. By myself. On a PC.

Along with many of my other friends who have seemingly followed suit on steam (creeping up on what they're playing none of which are service games nor online multiplayer)

So...excuse you princess but this is just a fresh can of marketing gibbery joo.

Andy Chalk:

ticklefist:
Without thinking about it a whole lot, yeah I kind of agree. Aside from a few standout games, I rarely considered buying single player offline games until they started dropping down to as low as five and ten dollars around 2010.

But is that a PC-exclusive thing, or across the board?

I think it's probably exacerbated on PC, because sales are much more frequent and much more generous. Maybe that's what the guy meant? It's hard to sell games at full extortionate money-grabbing price on PC because we know that we can get a 5-10 hour single player story game (ala Alan Wake) for $10-20 or less a year or two later and actually get our money's worth from the game?

Short single player games with no replay value will never be worth $60 and PC players know that better than console players because we have so many more options and so much more competition to drive the prices down?

Wh- what language was that?

I think he's trying to say that because a lot of PC game sales are now done through online DRM 'services' like the ones that his company are trying to make a mandatory part of accessing a game... that there's less of an interest in offline games...

Sure, I may walk to the shops, but that doesn't mean I want my local shops to replace half their stock with a new range of treadmills.

In a recent chit-chat with OXM, Microsoft Studios Corporate VP Phil Spencer...

There you go, it's a Microsoft Exec talking to a Microsoft magazine published for Microsoft fanatics. He might as well be saying this at a staff meeting. Same difference really.

Yeah, no. I knew what he was spewing would be too much stupid the second I saw his name.

If it's a single player game and I have the console and a PC and it comes out on both... I'm buying the PC version. No question. (I do have my computer hooked up to my TV, though.) I just prefer PC games. You can fiddle with graphics, you can play on keyboard or controller (and change the setup), you can import/export saves if your computer dies... and well, mods. I'm waiting for Black Flag to drop in price on PC to buy, and probably will buy GTA5 when it's cheaper and on PC. PC is great if you wait for sales... you'll hardly ever get big AAA titles on consoles for half price until a year later when you dig through the piles at Gamestop. On PC if you wait for a sale on one of the myriad sites, you could get it for half price within a few months. And you'll almost never get DLC on sale for console games, either. I never buy full-price DLC, I just wait. But I usually wait a few months before I buy a game for the price to go down anyway... but after 6 months it's not hard to find on a PC. I also don't have to pay shipping and handling to order it off Amazon or the like.

All my gaming this year (aside from FFXIV - which half my guild plays on PS3) has been single-player PC. State of Decay, Project Zomboid, Don't Starve, Civ 5, Walking Dead (I notice a theme here)... whatever else I have played. And I still count SimCity as single player. >.>

Andy Chalk:
Phil Spencer Says Single-Player Game Sales Are Easier On Consoles

Phil Spencer of Microsoft says it's easier to sell an offline, single-player game on consoles than PC, because most of the PC market is "service-based."

(snip)

I honestly can't tell if Spencer's message was muddled by poor wording, if he's really that determined to portray the Xbox One as a unique new force in the industry or if I'm just too dull-witted to understand what he's talking about, but whatever the case I certainly can't agree with it. Thoughts?

God, Spencer is so full of fail. If consoles are more SP based, why in the hell are they cramming MP services down our throats, and charging premiums for every little bit?

Moreover, many PC gamers are only as service based as Steam or GOG. Barring MMO's and private servers, this holds true for many. As for servers, older Blizzard and FPS games didn't even charge for that.

I remember when "Live for Windows" tried to take a system everyone was used to getting for free...then tried to charge yearly for it. It failed, and, I reiterate, Spencer fails.

As for his muddling of words, I imagine it's par for the course, just recall the XBONE pricing announcements. The dude seems to have inherited Don Matrick's penchant for being completely clueless and/or misleading.

Sight Unseen:

I think it's probably exacerbated on PC, because sales are much more frequent and much more generous. Maybe that's what the guy meant? It's hard to sell games at full extortionate money-grabbing price on PC because we know that we can get a 5-10 hour single player story game (ala Alan Wake) for $10-20 or less a year or two later and actually get our money's worth from the game?

I'm not sure what Sony is doing, but sales are really no more frequent on PC than on Xbox 360, and I'd imagine the same holds true for Xbox One. Both essentially have one or more games on sale at all times. Granted, I agree that PC game sales are more generous, as there are generally more games that are both more recent and of higher quality, but, at least on Xbox, you're almost always getting sales just like on Steam.

Anyways, back on topic:

What is this guy thinking? Does he honestly think we've forgotten about the mandatory 24 hour check-in that Microsoft wanted to add onto the Xbox One? Does he honestly expect us to believe that the consoles aren't flooded with games that aren't just services? Really, it is incredibly ironic that someone from a company who wanted to turn consoles into the most service-based gaming experiences out there wants to say that PCs are just service based like that's a bad thing. I might find this a little less humorous (and less insulting) if this came from a Sony executive, but not from a Microsoft one.

Andy Chalk:

ticklefist:
Without thinking about it a whole lot, yeah I kind of agree. Aside from a few standout games, I rarely considered buying single player offline games until they started dropping down to as low as five and ten dollars around 2010.

But is that a PC-exclusive thing, or across the board?

I only play PC games so for me, yeah, PC-exclusive thing.

It's been a long and hard Christmas for Microsoft. Something tells me their Easter isn't gonna be much better, to say nothing of the summer...

As of late, I'd be inclined to agree with him. There seems to be fewer and fewer 'PC-orientated" single player AAA games, and unless SteamOS takes off or Valve decides to invest in 1st party titles, I think that's only going to increase as the years go on. I mean, games like Thief, Deus EX, Half-Life, etc used to be the norm on PC. Now they're not, and games like it sell better on consoles. Sure we sell millions of copies of Diablo, Sim City, Starcraft, Battlefield, DayZ, and Starbound, and I guess you can argue indie games are filling that void for the single player PC games(Sherlock....Papers Please?), but it's not quite the same.

I believe that's what he's refereeing too.

What sort of inarticulate, semi-coherent babble was that? I regularly struggle to understand what these people are trying to communicate, because they seem to have difficulty with properly forming their ideas into clear concise sentences.

Everyone else has covered my thoughts well enough on how off the mark he is, but my babelfish is having a fit right now.

A-D.:
That man is a moron. Now i dont talk PR-Speak but from what i can make out from it, he is essentially claiming that the PC as a platform itself is based around the software being a service, rather than a product, where as on the console, specifically microsoft's console, it is a product, which you essentially own without the need for streaming, internet and so forth.

So who else just realized how fucking dumb this man is? Just me or did everyone else catch on at the same time? Because here's the rub, for one this whole "service thing" that apparently makes the PC not as good as consoles is caused by publishers such as Microsoft, EA, Ubisoft and various others, they want to sell you a license to use a product, rather than selling you the product itself. You caused this you dipshit and dont even give me that crap how the console is any different when not even half a year ago your company tried to push what is essentially a PC in console-format on the market, in fact it would have been worse than a PC because it would have had all the downsides with none of the upsides.

This man has to stop speaking, now. And to be even worse after all this, he is also the guy that wants Microsoft to focus a little more on the PC, which is by itself contradictionary given these statements right now, but also spells quite a interesting picture.

The funny thing being that Microsoft being the ones that were trying to turn their system into a service. Yep this answers it, Phil is the same as the others at M$, an utter moron.

Actually, if I stop and think about it for a second. Yeah, kinda. Most of my multiplayer titles are on PC. Why? No online fees to play unless it's an MMO, and services that require near constant internet access like Steam. I can't just go to the store, pick a copy of, oh let's say, Fallout New Vegas, install, and start playing. I have to register the key, install, wait to update, then play. Whereas if I had bought the same game for PS3, I could pop in the disc, opt out of any possible updates, and start playing. Simply put, I don't have to connect my consoles to the net if I don't want to. On PC it's almost a standard requirement, and because of that, it's no wonder so many multiplayer titles are being released there. Just look at how many units Day Z has sold, despite being online only.

I play most of my Single Player games on the PC and most of my community-based games on the Xbox...

I think I'm doing it all wrong! D:

Eh, I disagree. I mean, the consoles themselves are the one's who are scrambling to make everything online. I play lots and lots of single player games, or games that offer the option for single player. The indie market consists of almost all single player games and that is where a lot of the most interesting games are these days... and both the consoles have horrid indie game markets. I play those games almost exclusively on the PC.

I have to ask. Is there any wonder that he would be making these claims? His job is to make the XBox One look better to all other platforms.

Welp I saw this coming the moment I saw the title.

Shame people get too agitated by PR like this and feel the need to defend themselves and downplay a console rather than not giving a fuck what the guy says.

It sounds like he's just referring to PC industry staples like WoW and LoL, because they are the kinds of PC games everyone knows about.

What console gamers don't hear about (to pick a couple at the top of my Steam list) are things like The Witcher (although later ported to the Xbox) and Shadow Warrior.

It's like talking to an old granny about the difference between CoD and Battlefield.

I never play single player games on my 360 anymore. My 360 is only used for casual passing time multiplayer games like CoD these days.

Wait... they still make single-player games for the PC?

Good to know.

(Yeah, I'm being facetious here, but a helluva lot of reviewers seem to use "no multiplayer" as a NEGATIVE in reviews of games which were clearly never meant to be anything but single-player. Which leads me, as a gamer who's almost never actually played multiplayer games except one or two particularly specialised ones (TF2 for example) - why?!

MysticSlayer:

Sight Unseen:

I think it's probably exacerbated on PC, because sales are much more frequent and much more generous. Maybe that's what the guy meant? It's hard to sell games at full extortionate money-grabbing price on PC because we know that we can get a 5-10 hour single player story game (ala Alan Wake) for $10-20 or less a year or two later and actually get our money's worth from the game?

I'm not sure what Sony is doing, but sales are really no more frequent on PC than on Xbox 360, and I'd imagine the same holds true for Xbox One. Both essentially have one or more games on sale at all times. Granted, I agree that PC game sales are more generous, as there are generally more games that are both more recent and of higher quality, but, at least on Xbox, you're almost always getting sales just like on Steam.

I have to disagree with you completely on this one. Right now, after Steam had one of its largest sales of the year, there are currently 49 games/software on sale on Steam. Every week something new goes on sale. And this is just one distributor, you seem to forget that PC is not just 'Steam.' I'm not even counting all the deals on at Gamersgate, Origin, GMG etc. etc. I highly doubt you could go onto the Xbox marketplace and find me 49 things on sale, let alone 25 things. Not to mention that the sales on Xbox are only available to Gold members...

clippen05:

MysticSlayer:

Sight Unseen:

I think it's probably exacerbated on PC, because sales are much more frequent and much more generous. Maybe that's what the guy meant? It's hard to sell games at full extortionate money-grabbing price on PC because we know that we can get a 5-10 hour single player story game (ala Alan Wake) for $10-20 or less a year or two later and actually get our money's worth from the game?

I'm not sure what Sony is doing, but sales are really no more frequent on PC than on Xbox 360, and I'd imagine the same holds true for Xbox One. Both essentially have one or more games on sale at all times. Granted, I agree that PC game sales are more generous, as there are generally more games that are both more recent and of higher quality, but, at least on Xbox, you're almost always getting sales just like on Steam.

I have to disagree with you completely on this one. Right now, after Steam had one of its largest sales of the year, there are currently 49 games/software on sale on Steam. Every week something new goes on sale. And this is just one distributor, you seem to forget that PC is not just 'Steam.' I'm not even counting all the deals on at Gamersgate, Origin, GMG etc. etc. I highly doubt you could go onto the Xbox marketplace and find me 49 things on sale, let alone 25 things. Not to mention that the sales on Xbox are only available to Gold members...

1. I said that they were more generous, not more frequent. Frequency indicates that stuff goes on sale more often. Generosity indicates that more and better stuff is offered for less (or just one of those). Considering Xbox almost always has something on sale, you really can't say that they are holding sales less frequently, just that they are more stingy with it.

2. Not all sales are for Gold members only. Some might be, but I haven't been signed up for Gold for almost a year now and I'm still seeing sales and am able to take advantage of them.

Maybe because single player games are about the only thing trending on he Xbone? Not to mention the whole pay to use the online bits makes it harder for everyone to use the damn thing.

Crimsonmonkeywar:
As of late, I'd be inclined to agree with him. There seems to be fewer and fewer 'PC-orientated" single player AAA games, and unless SteamOS takes off or Valve decides to invest in 1st party titles, I think that's only going to increase as the years go on. I mean, games like Thief, Deus EX, Half-Life, etc used to be the norm on PC. Now they're not, and games like it sell better on consoles. Sure we sell millions of copies of Diablo, Sim City, Starcraft, Battlefield, DayZ, and Starbound, and I guess you can argue indie games are filling that void for the single player PC games(Sherlock....Papers Please?), but it's not quite the same.

I believe that's what he's refereeing too.

which is mainly because pc games are a long term investment for the most part, hell make one good enough like morrowind and include modding and you will have people still buying and playing the thing a decade later where as a console title well they make most of their money in the first couple of weeks then the sales tend to dry up as people trade the titles in

Just look at his face. "Heh, I did that whole interview on weed, and nobody will suspect a thing."

My favourite was the part about Ryse being a 'unique capability for console'. It sure does become unique when you pay developers for exclusivity...

RicoADF:

A-D.:
That man is a moron. Now i dont talk PR-Speak but from what i can make out from it, he is essentially claiming that the PC as a platform itself is based around the software being a service, rather than a product, where as on the console, specifically microsoft's console, it is a product, which you essentially own without the need for streaming, internet and so forth.

So who else just realized how fucking dumb this man is? Just me or did everyone else catch on at the same time? Because here's the rub, for one this whole "service thing" that apparently makes the PC not as good as consoles is caused by publishers such as Microsoft, EA, Ubisoft and various others, they want to sell you a license to use a product, rather than selling you the product itself. You caused this you dipshit and dont even give me that crap how the console is any different when not even half a year ago your company tried to push what is essentially a PC in console-format on the market, in fact it would have been worse than a PC because it would have had all the downsides with none of the upsides.

This man has to stop speaking, now. And to be even worse after all this, he is also the guy that wants Microsoft to focus a little more on the PC, which is by itself contradictionary given these statements right now, but also spells quite a interesting picture.

The funny thing being that Microsoft being the ones that were trying to turn their system into a service. Yep this answers it, Phil is the same as the others at M$, an utter moron.

Which was my point. He bemoans, or seems to bemoan, the state of the industry, the same exact state that his company let happen, if not even helped create to begin with. Honestly in retrospect i wish the Xbone would have kept all its announced features like 24 hour checks and such, just to see it fail so epicly that it would be a reminder for generations to come as to what not to do, to see all those console gamers, or specifically Xbox gamers go "Im just going to buy a PC then".

But alas, luck had it that this didnt happen, luck for them in any case. But its a matter of time before Microsoft, or Sony, or Nintendo or some newcomer will try a similar tactic and it will work, because nobody paid any attention. Which is why the industry is as it is, nobody cares or pays any attention until things already went downhill, when its already too late to prevent the descent into failure. I mean us older gamers can look back a couple years and wonder just when the industry changed this much, the same will hold true in a few years for all the young'uns gaming now.

Single-player offline games were the heart of PC gaming for decades. The introduction of the Internet and the advent of social media have changed things a bit, yes, but there are still plenty of people who crave rich single-player experiences; the furor over the latest version of SimCity, and the success of games like The Stanley Parable, Gone Home, and The Walking Dead ought to be proof enough of that.

Spencer's words sound like a man who isn't looking much further than Blizzard and all its would-be imitators who've gone Free-To-Play as their business models folded, and takes the usual rhetorical arguments about piracy as gospel. In light of Microsoft's increasing failures as a "service provider" within the PC realm, I half wonder if the statement is a mistaken expression that they're doing everything right but for some reason the consumers won't play ball, or a prelude to further MS retreat from those pernicious PC gamers and their demands for experiences that don't display a thorough lack of effort and actually work.

I predict this is the last console generation. Then we won't need to heart this junk anymore.

If he meant that a single player, story driven game is generally seen as a console experience, I can agree with that. I imagine it's a better experience playing a game like Ryse on a big TV with surround sound than on a computer monitor with headphones on. And honestly, there's been heaps of times where I can't be bothered playing a game on my PC because I have to sit at my desk and can't have my laptop open next to me.

Although, given what he said, I have no idea if that's what he meant. Someone needs to go through Microsoft and teach their employees, one by one, how to not stick their foot so far in their own mouths that it starts coming out their arse. It's beyond cringeworthy now.

I think this guy just likes to pretend that Steam Sales don't exist. It seems like the majority of games that are sold during those sales (and we can extrapolate to the rest of the year) are predominantly single player. Let's see some data before you make baseless points!

 Pages 1 2 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here