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Xbox’s Phil Spencer wants to see fewer platform exclusives, more cross-play in future

Xbox boss Phil Spencer has said he’d like to see more game releases that are not tied down to one specific platform, which will in turn allow for more cross-play opportunities.

Chatting to Bloomberg, Spencer stated that platform exclusives are something we were all going to see “less and less of” in future, as he hopes for an industry that encourages people to feel safe and included “regardless of what device” they play on.

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Spencer said he also wanted to see more cross-play possibilties on the market. “Maybe you happen in your household to buy an Xbox and I buy a PlayStation and our kids want to play together and they can’t because we bought the wrong piece of plastic to plug into our television,” he explained.

When thinking of cross-play, Spencer stated he therefore believed fewer exclusives would be “good for this industry” in the “long run”.

He continued: “Maybe in the short run, there’s some people in some companies that don’t love it. But I think as we get over the hump and see where this industry can continue to grow, it [will prove] out to be true.”

This all comes following Microsoft’s accusations towards PlayStation, with the company claiming that Sony was intentionally “blocking” games from making their way onto Game Pass.

On the flip side, Sony argued that Activision’s Call of Duty was a franchise with no rival. In short, the PlayStation maker suggested, among other things, that the inclusion of Call of Duty on Microsoft’s Game Pass service would hamper its ability to compete.

As for this particular franchise, Microsoft has said that, at least for now, Call of Duty will remain a multi-platform release, even though it is in the process of buying Activision.

Spencer has previously spoken about his views on the ‘console wars’, asking fans not to “weaponise” games for “battles between platforms”.

“I look at everybody who is brave enough to create something, put it out… have their peers, the industry, players, play and analyse and talk about what they do,” Spencer said earlier this year. “Let’s just celebrate the fact that so many great games are coming out from so many creators and realise that’s such a foundation for where this industry is going to go.”

Meanwhile, on Microsoft’s proposition to buy Activision Blizzard in a record breaking $68.7bn deal, Spencer said he is seeing positive progress being made.

“I feel good about the progress that we’ve been making,” he shared. “I’ve never done a $70bn deal, so I don’t know what my confidence means… [but] I will say the discussions we’ve been having seem positive.”

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