Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox, has spoken briefly about Nintendo to Eurogamer at this year’s Gamescom event in Cologne, Germany. Spencer says that he doesn’t believe that there’s a first party studio that has the strength that Nintendo IP has and says that they are an inspiration to the team over at Xbox. He also said that people downplay just how many units the Wii U has sold.
Do you think exclusive games are necessary to sell hardware? It traditionally would seem that way, but if that’s the case, surely more people would have the Wii U, as that’s got the best exclusives out there.
Phil Spencer: On the Wii U, I think people downplay how many units they’ve sold. I’ve got a Wii U, I think there’s some great games on there. I think Splatoon’s a really nice game and I don’t think there’s a first-party out there that has the strength of IP that Nintendo has. They’re always a beacon to me when I look at what it means to build a first-party portfolio of products, they’ve done a great job.
For us, having exclusives, especially on the platform side as we continue to innovate, being able to have studios that push the envelope of what’s possible, and partnering them with a platform and the hardware teams, I think it’s a magical equation for coming up with things that aren’t possible. We sit around, the Xbox leadership team, I’ve got Kudo, Shannon Loftis and Bonnie with Halo, the whole Xbox platform leadership team and we all think about the opportunities of moving hardware and service and content together. Really, the only way to have that in such a tight loop, I think, is to have a strong first-party portfolio to try things to push. It’s not only critical from a sales perspective, but also for innovation for what our platform’s about. I love sitting at that platform, and the ideas that come out of anywhere and seeing the different franchises grabbing on to something and say yeah, we should try to go do this in Forza, we should try do this in Minecraft. It’s a great opportunity.