Xbox Boss Talks Game Pass Service, Confirms More E3 2017 Changes

Phil Spencer discusses a number of interesting topics.


Xbox boss Phil Spencer has shared more details on Microsoft's recently announced Netflix-like Xbox subscription program, Xbox Game Pass. Appearing on the latest episode of Major Nelson's podcast, Spencer started off by saying Xbox Game Pass has been in the works for "quite a while." Earlier in the week, he said it's been planned for two or three years.

On the subject of the service's $10/month pricing, Spencer said he thinks this is "fair"; for that price, you get access to a catalog of 100 games (see all the confirmed titles here). Some games could drop out of the library, based on what third-party publishers want, but Spencer has said people can subscribe with confidence.

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"It is true that certain games will come into the program for a little while, certain games will go out of the program for a while, but obviously our motivation behind this is a majority of the games are there month in and month out," Spencer said. "We just know some publishers will make decisions, so we wanted to be transparent about when games will be there."

Also during the podcast, Spencer said he believes Xbox Game Pass could eventually grow to a place where games are released episodically into it.

"One of the things that we didn't talk about that I'd to take a second and talk about, because I think there's an opportunity here for this to not just be about games that have already shipped. I'd actually like to see this grow to a program that you can see frontline games, first shipped games, come into Xbox Game Pass as something, as a way that they get distributed," he said. "I think you've seen this in the TV space with Netflix. You've seen Netflix at first was really about movies or TV shows that I might have missed and I subscribe to Netflix and I go watch it. Now some of the best TV out there is actually being created as Netflix originals, Amazon originals. HBO's doing the same thing.

"I'd love to see us be able to grow Game Pass to a program where maybe like episodic and smaller story based games could see this as a way that they actually launch because obviously there's a business model behind Xbox Game Pass and I think it could really support that. Best thing for me, parent walks into the store, they buy a console. For a fairly minimal monthly amount, they're able to get access to a hundred games for everybody in the family. That's great."

Xbox Game Pass is currently available on Xbox One for testers before its public rollout this Spring.

The subject of E3 also came up during the podcast. Microsoft is moving its E3 briefing this year from Monday morning to Sunday afternoon. Spencer said this should help Microsoft's announcements resonate possibily better than they did on Monday when it would share a day with other publishers. Additionally, Spencer said Microsoft now has the freedom to have its show run longer, but it might not necessarily do that. Microsoft's E3 2017 briefing starts at 2 PM PT, with Bethesda's lined up for later that evening, though a specific start time has not been announced.

Another change for Microsoft at E3 this year is that its booth will be in a different hall and will feel have a new layout compared to last year, as the company is changing things up to accommodate the public. For the first time ever, E3 is open to the public this year.

"What we're trying to make sure this booth is about, and we're going to learn so bear with us, everybody that's going to be there," Spencer said. "We're trying to make a booth that will allow more people to play as many games and getting, as you said, our meeting rooms and everything else out of the way. It shows no lack of commitment to E3. I think E3's an incredibly important point for our industry and something that we're committed to make great and I can't wait to see all of our fans down there."

Spencer added: "The booth's size from people that have kind of done math on our booth size, there's no conspiracy theory behind the size of the booth. We know consumers are coming to the booth this year so our booth will probably feel a little different than it has in the past because when you open the show floor to 15,000 people who are really there to play games and maybe not stare at some of the big things that we've kind of had around."

You can listen to the full Major Nelson podcast here.

This story has been updated.


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