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Xbox Boss Talks Project Scorpio Pricing, Xbox Game Pass, E3 Timing, Cancelling Games, And More

Phil Spencer speaks.


Xbox boss Phil Spencer appeared on the newest edition of IGN's Unlocked podcast this week where he discussed a lot of interesting topics. In the hour-long conversation, Spencer talks about Microsoft's just-announced Xbox Game Pass, provides an update on Project Scorpio, and explains why Microsoft moved its Xbox E3 briefing this year from Monday morning to Sunday afternoon.

The full interview is incredibly fascinating and well worth a watch if you're interested in learning more about how the Xbox business works. You can watch the entire interview in the video below.

For Xbox Game Pass, which is a digital game subscription service where you can get access to an evolving library of games for $10/month, Spencer said it has been in the works for two or three years. It's taken so long because Microsoft had to get the under-the-hood, technical specifics worked out, while the company also had to sign business deals with third-party publishers.

Spencer also talked about how the Xbox Game Pass library, which will have more than 100 games in it, will not likely see a complete refresh every month. Only a "handful" of games will be added or removed every month. Whether or not a game drops out may come down to a third-party publisher's decision. Spencer said it's important that the games in the library don't feel like trials or demos, and that players can subscribe to the service feeling confident that a game will be there for a long time.

NeoGAF has a roundup of what was said during the talk.

On the subject of Microsoft's E3 switch from Monday to Sunday, Spencer said it was done to help Microsoft's news have more room to breathe. For Project Scorpio, Spencer teased a pre-E3 reveal (though the console will also have an E3 presence of course), but no plans are solidified as of yet. In terms of what the console will look like, Spencer said it will have a "premium" look to it, though it should appear familiar in the Xbox family ecosystem.

"I can't wait to show people what it looks like," Spencer said.

The much-discussed topic of pricing for Project Scorpio also came up. Spencer did not give anything away, but said again that people can expect a "premium" price.

"I call it a premium console because I want people to be clear that the customer we're building that for is the premium gaming customer," Spencer said. "The person who buys the majority of the games, the person who's playing the most games, spending the most hours, spending the most dollars. It's like our Elite controller. I call that a premium controller."

"I'm not trying to scare anybody on the price. We're going to come out on a price that we think is fair for the product that we build and the customers will tell us as they always do. I call it premium because I don't want people to get confused that somehow Scorpio is the thing that is going to take over the Xbox line."

Spencer added that he fully expects that Xbox One S, with its lower relative price point, will sell far better than Project Scorpio.

"The majority of the consoles that we're going to sell are the Xbox One S and I'm very proud of that," he said.

Spencer also discussed Microsoft's controversial decisions to cancel Fable Legends (and close Lionhead) and shut down Scalebound, two high-profile projects.

"When I look at the investment that I want to make in first-party and that the company wants to make in first-party, I think we're in a position where we're going to be able to do some new and interesting things," he said, adding that those decisions will be good for the company in the long run. "And that meant we had to stop doing some other things in order to create room for that. And that's just kind of the nature of running a business."

"One of the things that I wanted to do when I came into this job ... one of the things was our first-party and how I thought about needing to--this is an unfair word, but I'll say 'rework' our first-party. Regretfully, that meant certain things that we were doing, I thought we needed to do something different. It meant getting back to what I think is a core and building from that."

Also during the podcast, Spencer reiterated that Microsoft has no plans to release a dedicated handheld gaming device, though he has a "never say never" attitude about this.

Spencer also talked about how Microsoft has no deal in place with Alan Wake and Quantum Break developer Remedy for a new game and also revealed that the release date for Voodoo Vince will be announced sometime next week.

What are you looking forward to from Microsoft and Xbox this year? Let us know in the comments below!

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