Xbox CEO Phil Spencer has discussed the value of giving developers freedom to take on novel projects, as well as ensuring 2023 doesn’t repeat the brand’s troubled 2022, in a recent interview. The talking points came as part of a wide-ranging discussion between Spencer and IGN following the Xbox & Bethesda Developer Direct earlier this week.
One of the highlights of the show was the surprise release of throwback action-platformer Hi-Fi Rush. Picking up on that as a smaller game, Spencer said that he thinks about giving development teams a “creative outlet” to explore ideas that “they might not get to do” if sales were the sole metric.
”I like when we can create opportunity for teams to do some unique things that are maybe outside of what they’ve normally done, then really find either new customers for the studios or find people that really enjoy the work that they’re doing,” he said.
That’s possible because of Game Pass, which enables “creative diversity” by providing “different ways for people to kind of pay for the games that they’re playing.”
The launch of Hi-Fi Rush is also something of a statement that Xbox will have a better 2023 than 2022, which Spencer acknowledged “was too light on games.” Beginning 2023 with the Developer Direct, “it was important for us to show games, to show dates,” he said. Of course, Xbox did so, providing dates for Redfall, Minecraft Legends, and the Elder Scrolls Online expansion, as well as reiterating that Forza Motorsport will launch this year.
He also mentioned plans for an event specifically for Starfield.
Later in the interview, Spencer reaffirmed that 343 Industries remains in charge of the Halo franchise and said that he continues to be confident that Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard will close in 2023.