Microsoft’s head of gaming has acknowledged Xbox’s disappointing 2022, stating that “we need to have a steady release of great games” going forwards.
Delays to Bethesda’s much-anticipated Starfield and Redfall meant that last year was relatively light in terms of first-party Xbox titles, with just five games having been published by Xbox Game Studios, and only one – Obsidian’s Pentiment – was an all-new game developed internally.
The others were indie-developed As Dusk Falls, a Forza 5 expansion, an Age of Empires re-release and Obsidian’s Grounded (which had been in Game Preview for two years).
Speaking in a new interview with IGN, Xbox boss Phil Spencer took the blame for last year’s light release schedule, but said he felt good about the 12 months head, which should see significant exclusives released for Xbox Game Pass on consoles and PC.
“Our commitment to our fans is that we need to have a steady release of great games that people can play on our platform, and we didn’t do enough of that in 2022, there’s no doubt,” Spencer told IGN. “And fundamentally, that’s on me. I’m the head of the business.”
He added: “The commitment we have to our customers, to continue to deliver great games, is something I take seriously, the teams take seriously, and 2022 was too light in games.
“We’re excited to about getting to roll into 2023, having the Developer Direct – I felt really good about the games that we were showing – and also knowing that Starfield is a game that we’re going to highlight in its own show, and then just start off 2023 with good momentum. Like you said, I think we needed that.”
In a ‘Developer Direct’ digital event streamed this week, the platform holder committed to release dates for several games, including Redfall, Minecraft Legends and Forza Motorsport, alongside the surprise release of Tango Gameworks’ Hi-Fi Rush.
Spencer said that, after months of telling fans to wait for news, he felt it was important to show games with release dates.
“I hesitate to get ahead of the launches, because I know there’s rightfully some fatigue in the community about us just saying, ‘just wait until…’ That’s one of the reasons it was nice to be able to launch Hi-Fi Rush during the show, to show that we can launch,” he said.
“We had things like Pentiment, which came out in November and was a really high-quality game, but there has to be more. When I look at Minecraft Legends, when I look at Redfall, the work that we’re doing at Forza Motorsport, and one of my favourite franchises, The Elder Scrolls Online… I think it was important for us to show games and show dates.”
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