According to Phil Spencer buying up developers to ensure that you are able to make great games for your system really isn’t needed, saying that their work alongside Epic to make the Gears of Wars franchise is a perfect example of that.
Whilst speaking on IGN’s Podcast Unlocked he said that he isn’t “fixated on that.”
I think to some out there there’s a fixation with which studios you own, which studios you work with, and for better or worse I’m not fixated on that.
I lived through the Xbox 360 generation and we had a great relationship with Epic, and we built Gears of War, and really that franchise was born on the Xbox 360 and hit incredible heights on the Xbox 360. And whether we owned Epic or simply worked with Epic was not part of the conversation [about whether] that game was going to be great.
Spencer then went on to say that he “respects” anyone who wants to be independent and that the deal they have with Respawn and EA is a “strong relationship.”
Certain people will look at how many Microsoft-badged employees do you have versus Sony-badged employees, and when they start to weigh the different first parties. And I know there are some people that want to own their own studio, be independent, drive their business, and go completely their own way, keep their own culture.
And I respect that – if people want to work that way, we’ll continue to work with them. I don’t see it as a barrier to what we can do together. Whether it’s Remedy, whether it’s Insomniac, whether it’s Crytek. So the relationship with Respawn? Obviously they have a publisher, EA, for their game, but it’s a strong relationship and we feel great about what they’re bringing to Xbox.
I think we can look at the Wii U as an example on why games that come from only the first party publishers, such as Nintendo, are bad for games and consoles. It is often the third-party developers that are more adventurous than the first-party ones, and they more often than not produce the more awesome game.
That’s not to say that first-party games are bad, of course they’re not, but a console needs the third party developers to be able to breath life into it – as evidenced by Remedy and Epic who both made some amazing franchises on the Xbox 360 and didn’t need Microsoft owning them to do it.