Phil Spencer Approves Of Delays Of Xbox Keystone, Starfield And Redfall

The Xbox boss wants the device used for streaming to be sufficiently cheap, and for the two games under Bethesda, he believes that delaying them was the best decision.


In an interview with The Verge, Phil Spencer explained why the Xbox hardware, codenamed Keystone (which could be as small as a USB drive), capable of playing games in the cloud, received a delay: “The console we built that now people have seen, Keystone, was more expensive than we wanted it to be when we built it out with the hardware that we had inside, and we decided to focus that team’s efforts on delivering the smart TV streaming app. With Keystone, [we’re] still focused on it [and] when can we get the correct costs. Still, when you’ve got [the Xbox Series] Series S at $299, and like during the holidays, you’ll see some price promotion, you’ll have [the Xbox] Series X higher, I think, for a streaming-only box to make sense, the price delta to [the Xbox Series] S has to be pretty significant. I want to include a controller in it when we go do that.

So, it was about if we could build the right product at the right price, or if we can’t, how can we focus the team’s effort? And we decided to do the TV app with Samsung, and we’re delighted with the results. I don’t want to announce pricing specifically, but you’ve got to be $129, $99, like somewhere in there for that to make sense, in my view, that we just weren’t there. We weren’t there with the controller. And I love the effort. The reason it’s on my shelf is the team rolled up their sleeves, and in nine months, they built that thing. And a bunch of us took it home, and it worked. It worked well,” Spencer said.

He then discussed why Starfield, which is being developed at Todd Howard’s studio, Bethesda Game Studios, and Redfall (Arkane Austin), were delayed: “I think positioning it as a decision might be slightly wrong, at least for me. It isn’t a decision to move a game after spending the team’s effort over multiple years to get to a point where you know you’re not going to deliver the game you want on the promised date. It is at some level because I have shipped games too early. We have experienced shipping games too early. In hindsight, when you look at a game like Starfield, it’s taken so long and so much investment in new IP from the team. Giving the team the time to build the game they feel they should be making is the right thing to do. There are financial implications to those decisions. Weighing what will happen, whether it’s platform growth, subscriber growth, or frankly, the revenue you generate when a new game launches, those are business decisions. You have to weigh the outcome of those decisions.

For any game, but definitely for our games Starfield and Redfall — which are our first big Xbox games with ZeniMax coming into the team — I just wanted to make sure those teams felt they had all the support they could get from Xbox and maybe feel some of the benefit of being part of a larger organization that has other revenue streams and other helpful things going on. In the end, I believe the quality of the games will be better, and customers will find the experience more attractive, which will hopefully feel like the right decision in hindsight,” Spencer added.

His rationale seems logical.

Source: WCCFTech, WCCFTech

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