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E123: Phil Spencer takes responsibility for the disastrous release of Redfall.
Good morning gamers! Xbox Head Phil Spencer was featured on the ‘Kinda Funny Xcast’ to chat about Redfall, the current state of Xbox, the video game console market and the CMA’s decision to block Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard King. We highly recommend you watch the entire interview, but in the meantime, here are the best tidbits.
Redfall’s critic/user reviews were double-digits lower than what Xbox’s internal mock reviews expected.
Arkane didn’t meet their internal goals or standards for Redfall. The game would have been delayed if the issues were only performance based rather than game direction based. They are working on improving the game with help from The Coalition.
Phil takes full responsibility and admitted that Microsoft should have gotten involved and offered support much earlier in development.
Phill is optimistic about the future of Xbox and says that the roadmap is coming together with big games releasing every quarter (Starfield, Forza, Hellblade 2, Avowed and a few surprises). Their summer showcase will be big.
He will never force studios to make certain types of games just because of their track record. He wants them to have creative freedom.
Xbox is focused on a diverse lineup of games. They don’t want to produce the same genre of games over and over again.
Activision Blizzard King
Xbox remains committed to the ABK deal, especially since they have received 9/14 approvals so far.
They are working with the EU and FTC, and are appealing the CMAs decision.
Phil reiterated that Xbox is 3rd place in the console market and that they’re “not in the business of out console-ing Sony or out console-ing Nintendo”.
There’s no world where Starfield is an 11/10 and people “start selling their PS5s”.
Phil says that a major downfall was that Xbox “lost the worst generation to lose (Xbox One), where everybody built their digital library of games”.
In an interview with Axios last week, Vince Zampella, the CEO of Respawn Entertainment discussed the release of Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, two other new Star Wars games, Titanfall 3 and the Battlefield franchise.
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor was mainly developed during the pandemic while its developers worked remotely. According to Zampella, the game was delayed in March because “it just wasn’t ready”. Zampella says the sequel is more than just telling a story but also about refining their work.
Star Wars is the subject of two new games currently in development at Respawn. A strategy game is being made alongside new studio Bit Reactor, and a first-person shooter game is being fully developed internally.
Titanfall 3 is not currently in the works at Respawn. Zampella would love to make a new Titanfall game, but it has to be the right situation and time. Steve Fukuka, the former Titanfall series game director is leading a small team at Respawn working on a new IP.
Battlefield is the main challenge for Zampella going forward. He has been tasked with returning the series to greatness. Zampella is working alongside former Call of Duty executive Byron Beede to revamp and expand the studios working on the Battlefield franchise.
Team Liquid, one of the most reputable and long standing esports organizations in the industry has opened up a 13-floor Alienware training facility in São Paulo, Brazil. The facility will serve the teams staff and players, and comes fully equipped with everything needed to work, play, eat and sleep. Most importantly, it includes on-site mental health support.
EA has reportedly ended revenue sharing negotiations with their partnered Apex Legends Global Series (ALGS) teams after they requested a 50/50 revenue split. EA allegedly offered teams a one-time $60,000 flat payment for each in-game item but 14 of the 20 involved teams preferred a 50/50 uncapped split. Five major organizations have left the ALGS since the negotiations started in September 2022 (Team Liquid, G2 Esports, Cloud9, NAVI and Spacestation Gaming).
Riot Games have permanently banned Valorant Pro Vilius “krea60n” Malinauskas (from team VAMONOS) from competing in Valorant Challengers East due to repeated toxic behavior. This is a major step-forward in making the gaming and esports ecosystem more inclusive and less toxic.
Esports market research firm Niko Partners has reported that an estimated 56% of the global esports revenue for 2022 was generated by the Asia and MENA regions (these figures exclude revenue generated by microtransactions and game/in-app sales). The global esports market has an estimated value of $1.3b, with China being the single biggest market accounting for 34.2% of that.
Activision Blizzard has admitted concerns over the longevity of the Call of Duty and Overwatch Leagues in their latest SEC filing. They basically say that the current business model is facing multiple operational issues and although they’re working to remedy the situation, the cost and effort to do so may be unsuccessful.
Hermen Hulst, the head of Sony Interactive Entertainment Worldwide Studios says they’re creating games for different audiences and genres.
Avalanche Software, the studio behind Hogwarts Legacy is hiring software engineers for an “unannounced AAA console title” according to new job postings.
Hogwarts Legacy has sold more than 15 million units since launch. WB Discovery says they’ve generated more than $1 billion in revenue.
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 prequel comic was released for Free Comic Book Day on May 6th. The game will reportedly be released in Fall 2023.
Superman could potentially get a new game closer to the release of the next film according to Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav.
Halo Season 2 has officially completed filming according to actor Pablo Schreiber. The show is expected to be released in the second quarter of 2024.
Assassin's Creed codename Red will reportedly be the first game to launch on Ubisoft’s new Infinity platform.
Destiny 2 cheat seller Mihai Claudiu-Florentin has been ordered to pay Bungie over $12 million for violations to the DMCA and Copyright Act.
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