The Microsoft acquisition of Bethesda-parent Zenimax yesterday rocked the games industry. And while it was a huge important event, and an exciting one, there are of course 2,300 people working for the company globally, who will have felt understandably uneasy – along, to a lesser degree, its numerous partners in development and publishing.
Speaking on CNBC Phil Spencer looked to settle such worries. “Our plan is to leave it alone,” said the Xbox boss.
“Zenimax has an amazing track record of building great games. Our goal is to make Zenimax the best Zenimax they can be. Working individually with their studios on the great platform technology that we have, getting their creators’ feedback into the things that we need to go build. That’s just a critical flywheel for us [when] innovating, getting the feedback of the world’s best creators on our platforms.”
Spencer went on to say that Microsoft would obviously be committed to any arrangements made in the past on upcoming games, but that going forward from then Xbox Game Pass was the key here.
“The commitments we’ve already made with the gamers out there on the games that people know about, we will continue with those commitments.
“The thing this is really about is a huge investment in our Xbox community. They know the great games coming from Zenimax. And all of those studios, we’re now at over 23 Studios, inside of Xbox, those games will be able to come to the Xbox community, they’ll come to Game Pass day and date. And people have just an amazing collection of great games to continue to play on Xbox.”
And he also commented on the impact of the pandemic on development schedules when asked about the delay to Halo: Infinite.
“We’ve seen incredible engagement in the great gaming community over the last few months. And we’re really proud of the way that gaming has been able to play such a pivotal role for people. But you’re absolutely right, today hundreds of people come together to build these massive games. And it’s important that we’re conscious of the safety of our teams. And it does have an impact on production and you’re seeing some of that out there.”
Despite that Spencer was bullish about the pre-orders for Xbox which launched today, which seems to be born out by the speed with which they were taken up, though there has been little information about the amount of hardware available.
Finally, speaking on Microsoft’s current disagreement with Apple over games streaming on Apple’s devices, Spencer simply said that they were sure that they would “be able to come to some solution.”