Phil Spencer has admitted Microsoft has shipped games “too early”.
Speaking to The Verge, the CEO of Microsoft Gaming was asked about the decision to delay Starfield and Redfall, two of the company’s biggest upcoming exclusives.
“It isn’t really a decision to move a game after spending the team’s effort over multiple years just to get to a point where you know you’re not going to deliver the game you want on the date that was promised,” said Spencer. “Now, it is at some level, because I have shipped games too early. We have experienced shipping games too early.”
He went on to discuss Starfield and Redfall specifically.
“In hindsight, when you look at a game like Starfield, it’s taken so long and so much investment in new IP from the team. The decision to give the team the time to build the game that they feel they should be building is just the right thing to do,” he said.
“There are financial implications to those decisions. Weighing what is going to happen, whether it’s platform growth, subscriber growth, or frankly, the revenue that you generate when a new game launches, those are business decisions. You definitely have to weigh the outcome of those decisions.”
Both games have been delayed, with their 2022 releases moving back to 2023.
Spencer also noted that Starfield and Redfall were the first big games from Bethesda owner ZeniMax since it was bought by Microsoft, adding extra pressure.
“For any game, but definitely for our games Starfield and Redfall – which are our first big Xbox games with ZeniMax coming into the team – I just wanted to make sure those teams felt they had all the support they could get from Xbox, and to maybe feel some of the benefit of being part of a larger organisation that has other revenue streams and other helpful things going on,” Spencer continued.
“In the end, I believe the quality of the games will be better and customers will find the experience to be more interesting, which will hopefully feel like the right decision in hindsight,” he added.”One of the things I have learned is that you want teams to feel like they own their dates. They deliver better when they feel like they own their own destiny with their games, so you wait for the real signal from the creative and production teams.”
The game Spencer referenced as shipping too early is, in all likelihood, Halo Infinite. That project was delayed by a year but still drew criticism for its lack of multiplayer options at launch.
Halo Infinite’s Winter Update just launched and sees the game in recovery mode.