Phil Spencer ruffled some feathers over the weekend when he commented on the “difficult business” nature of story-driven video games.
Citing the recent releases of Horizon: Zero Dawn and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the Xbox boss stated that such single-player experiences perform inconsistent in the market. The audience is also not that large when comparing with games featuring multiplayer modules.
Spencer further added that both the aforementioned games failed to have a real impact in the market, and that story-driven games are losing value. He analyzed that developers should focus on releasing games that have long-lasting engaging content through multiple and post-release means.
The audience for those big story-driven games… I won’t say it isn’t as large, but they’re not as consistent. You’ll have things like Zelda or Horizon Zero Dawn that’ll come out, and they’ll do really well, but they don’t have the same impact that they used to have because the big service-based games are capturing such a large amount of the audience. Sony’s first-party studios do a lot of these games, and they’re good at them, but outside of that, it’s difficult – they’re become more rare; it’s a difficult business decision for those teams, you’re fighting into more headwind.
His comments were not appreciated by fans because it seemed like Spencer was downplaying the games. Horizon: Zero Dawn released earlier this year and sold just under three million units. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, on the other hand, sold nearly four million units since its release last month. Both titles have achieved smashing success, which is why many took to social media to call out Spencer over his earlier comments.
“Not downplaying anything. Some try to turn everything into console wars, I don’t. […] I apologize if that’s how you took my comments. That wasn’t my point. I honestly want all games to succeed,” clarified Spencer later.
He also playfully teased that he just might have to wear a Horizon: Zero Dawn shirt at E3 2017 to appease fans.
Feedback taken. Maybe I should wear a HZD t-shirt at E3.
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) April 30, 2017
via The Guardian