Following game delays, Spencer says Xbox will strive to deliver ‘quality and consistency’

Microsoft’s head of gaming has said Xbox will strive to meet the expectations of fans disappointed by the company’s first-party product release strategy.

On Thursday it was announced that Starfield and Redfall had been delayed from this year to the first half of 2023, leaving some big holes in Xbox’s line-up for the remainder of 2022.

Following up on the news, Xbox boss Phil Spencer acknowledged that fans are eager for more first-party games, while reiterating the importance of giving studios the time they need to create quality products.

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“These decisions are hard on teams making the games and our fans,” he said. “While I fully support giving teams time to release these great games when they are ready, we hear the feedback.

“Delivering quality and consistency is expected, we will continue to work to better meet those expectations.”

It’s unclear how recently the decision to delay the games was made, but Spencer had earlier this week visited the teams at Bethesda.

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Over the past few years Xbox has invested heavily in its portfolio of first-party studios. As well as setting up The Initiative (Perfect Dark) and a new Age of Empires studio, it has acquired Ninja Theory (Hellblade), Playground Games (Forza Horizon), Obsidian (Fallout: New Vegas), InXile (Wasteland 3), Double Fine (Psychonauts), and most recently Bethesda for $7.5 billion.

It was also announced in January that Microsoft intends to purchase Activision Blizzard in a $68.7 billion deal—the game industry’s biggest ever by some distance—that would give the Xbox maker exclusive ownership of franchises including Call of Duty, Warcraft, Overwatch, Crash Bandicoot and Guitar Hero.

Upcoming first-party games include Starfield (Bethesda), Redfall (Arkane), Avowed (Obsidian), Everwild (Rare), Fable (Playground Games), Forza Motorsport 8 (Playground), Perfect Dark (The Initiative), Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II (Ninja Theory), State of Decay 3 (Undead Labs) and The Outer Worlds 2 (Obsidian).

However, none of these games currently have confirmed release dates. That could change when Microsoft holds its E3-style Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase event on June 12.

Discussing Microsoft’s software release strategy last June following the completion of the Bethesda acquisition, Xbox Game Studios head Matt Booty said the platform holder wanted to “get to a point of releasing a new game every quarter”.

He added: “Games take up to four or five years to make, and the reality is that not every project we start will make it to launch. But if you add all that up, that’s how we’ve gotten to our state today, with two dozen studios making games across a variety of genres.

“And we know that a thriving entertainment service needs a consistent and exciting flow of new content. So our portfolio will continue to grow as our [Xbox Game Pass] service grows.”