In a frank discussion about the modern games industry, Phil Spencer discusses the potential of episodic games and the pros and cons of downloadable content
Something big has happened to the video game industry over the last five years – you may have noticed. All the old rules about consoles – the fact that they enjoyed five-to-eight-year life cycles, the fact that games “just worked” out of the box – they’re all gone. An accelerating consumer electronics sector and the mass penetration of broadband internet have led us into a new era of chaotic innovation and fraught business model evolution. And somewhere in the middle of all this, people are making and playing games. How do those people keep up?
These are very much the concerns of Phil Spencer, the ex-game developer who now heads up Xbox. Spencer has always put himself forward as a fan rather than a suit. His mantra is “we put the gamer at the centre of everything”. But what that actually means is changing – not just in terms of hardware, but in the way games are made and played.