Microsoft Still 'Committed' to Xbox, Will Improve 'Games with Gold'
Back when Stephen Elop was being considered as Microsoft CEO, it was rumored that part of his plan included selling Xbox. As most know, Elop didn’t end up getting the job; it instead went to Satya Nadella. Elop will soon lead the company’s hardware division, though; the same division where the Xbox currently resides. Are the days numbered for both the console and the brand, then? Microsoft’s Phil Spencer doesn’t seem to think so.
“In terms of Microsoft’s commitment in the space, I know both Satya and Stephen Elop, I know them well,” Spencer said during a panel at South By Southwest. “I’ve had explicit conversations with them about Microsoft’s commitment to Xbox. They’re extremely committed to Xbox.”
So it appears that both Xbox owners and developers who have committed to the platform have nothing to fear; Microsoft is still throwing its full weight behind the system.
Another interesting bit of info came up during that same South By Southwest panel, and it had to do with Games with Gold. I’ve been a pretty big critic of Microsoft’s approach to this program, especially in light of Sony’s PlayStation Plus offerings, but it appears Microsoft may be working to fix this, too.
“I think you’ll see at least something that feels, at least, more true to what I think Games with Gold should look like with the constraints that are there,” Spencer stated.
Getting some better quality games into Games with Gold would go a long way toward making the offering feel more equal with Sony’s. I’m not exactly pumped up by the mention of “constraints,” however. It sounds more like excuse making than a push to improve Games with Gold in a serious way. If Microsoft’s model does not allow for better games and Sony’s does, then perhaps the company needs to explore the “rental” model used by its competitor.
Spencer’s remarks come as Microsoft prepares a major offensive to catch the PlayStation 4. Sony’s newest console has been a runaway hit, forcing Microsoft to bundle a major title — Titanfall, which drops tomorrow — with the Xbox One in order to move more systems. Will the Titanfall bundle narrow the gap? We’ll have to wait and see.
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