Technology

Xbox Head Says Exclusives Aren’t Future As Company Buys Them Up

Head of Xbox Phil Spencer speaks on stage.

Photo: Kevork Djansezian / Kotaku (Getty Images)

Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, recently described the progress of Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard as heading in a “positive direction,” as the company awaits regulatory approval of the deal that would see it owning wildly popular franchises such as Call of Duty and World of Warcraft. He also believes that we’re likely to see exclusives play “less and less” of a role in the console space moving forward. These comments come after Xbox recently acquired Bethesda Softworks—making upcoming, highly anticipated games like Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI console-exclusive to Xbox—and seeks to finalize the aforementioned Activision deal.

In a preview of an interview with Bloomberg’s Emily Chang due to air tonight on Bloomberg Studio 1.0 at 9:00 p.m. ET, Phil Spencer touched on a variety of topics, including the company’s recent moves to acquire Activision Blizzard, the scrutiny of Activision’s documented culture of sexual harassment, the unionization efforts seen at Activision, and how he believes that the very concept of exclusives is due to go the way of the dinosaur.

Commenting on Xbox’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Spencer said that while he’s never done a “70 billion-dollar deal,” he’s optimistic that it’s all going according to plan. Team Green has recently gone on a spending spree, buying up Bethesda, the company that produced legendary titles like The Elder Scrolls series and the recent Fallout sequels, before setting its sights on the CoD publisher. Spencer also believes that the experience of gamers not being able to play the same games together online because they “bought the wrong piece of plastic to plug into [the] television” is an outdated concept. He’s previously pledged to keep Call of Duty as a multiplatform title for at least some period of time, saying in the new interview:

“We really love to be able to bring more players in reducing friction, making people feel safe, secure when they’re playing, allowing them to find their friends, play with their friends, regardless of what device—I think in the long run that is good for this industry.”

Speaking of people feeling safe and secure, Spencer also stated that he believes Activision Blizzard is “committed” to improving the company’s wretched reputation concerning sexual harassment. Stating that he knows some “studio leaders” at Activision Blizzard “very well,” and that “some of them [are] former Xbox members,” he commented that they’re committed to the “journey” of addressing systemic issues surrounding sexual assault and harassment in the workplace.

The full interview is scheduled to air later tonight, which may offer some more context for Spencer’s comments, including the desire to acquire more content for Xbox.

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