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‘Games need to find players’: Phil Spencer talks Game Pass, Series X as next gen looms

“Our job as a platform is to create the broadest platform for gamers so they can find the broadest set of games that they can go play.”

– Xbox head Phil Spencer shares why Xbox’s current plans are attracting players to the Xbox platform, not just its latest new console generation.

Xbox Game Pass is one facet of the player-centric strategy Xbox head Phil Spencer says the team is taking into the next console generation, alongside decisions to offer backward compatibility on the Series X and forgo generation exclusives at launch.

Spencer weighed in on those decisions in a recent chat on GamerTag Radio, taking moments later in the conversation to talk why Xbox hasn’t dipped into virtual reality quite yet after discussing the role services like Game Pass play in its next-gen plans.

“The thing that we’re seeing in the service is that people inside of GamePass play significantly more games, they buy more games than they were before they were GamePass subscribers, and the subscriber numbers are continuing to grow,” says Spencer. “The third parties are finding players that would never be playing their games if they were solely relying on retail as the only way for people to find their games.”

Despite that, Spencer says Xbox isn’t keen on a future where subscription services like Game Pass eliminate traditional game sales. Rather, he notes that offering a way for players to discover and experience older titles on GamePass or even Xbox Game Studios titles on day one furthers the Series X-generation goal of “putting the player at the center, and not putting the device at the center.”

The decision to release flagship Xbox Series X games for the previous generation at launch, essentially forgoing an exclusive-laden launch library, is another facet of this, and one informed by what Xbox has already seen on the PC side of things.

“Obviously we built our strategy with Series X, we started with that in mind. We wanted to go build a gaming console that was going to be the absolute best that we could deliver on a television, and deliver unique capability to creators that they could use to go create the best games.”

“But you don’t want to do that to the exclusion of everybody else and you also want to do that hand-in-hand with developers because developers want to find the widest audience possible at the same time.”