Xbox's Phil Spencer Talks About Bringing Games To Film And TV

"We don't have the deep expertise that Sony obviously has from their movie studios that make world-class video content," Phil Spencer says.


Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer has acknowledged that Microsoft is lagging behind its competitors in the area of bringing some of its gaming franchises to TV and film. Speaking to The Washington Post, Spencer said Microsoft is "earlier in our journey" to adapt its franchises for other mediums.

Sony, for comparison, operates a gigantic film and TV studio and has its own gaming-specific label called PlayStation Productions that's behind HBO's The Last of Us and many upcoming projects. Nintendo recently partnered with Universal for the massively successful The Super Mario Bros. Movie.

Microsoft does have the Halo TV series, which it's producing with Paramount; a second season is now in the works. Years earlier, Microsoft partnered with The Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson to make a Halo movie, but it famously fell apart. Looking ahead, Microsoft is working with Netflix to make a Gears of War movie and anime, while there is a Minecraft movie with Jason Momoa, and a Fallout series from Westworld's creators.

"We don't have the deep expertise that Sony obviously has from their movie studios that make world-class video content, and Nintendo did a great job obviously," Spencer said. "I do think it's important for these worlds we're creating in games. We used to have a lot of envy in our industry of Hollywood and what they created, then you see comics kind of take over, and now you're going to see video game stories continue to grow in importance because our creators are as capable as creators of any medium."

Years ago, Microsoft had a different strategy. It launched a unit called Xbox Entertainment Studios, tapping media industry veterans to run it and signing a number of high-profile projects. However, Microsoft closed the division in 2014.

Beyond the projects mentioned above, Xbox boss Matt Booty has said fans should be on the lookout for more announcements. "There are some things that we've got going on as well that I can't, you know, they're not public yet, but there's a lot there," Booty said in June 2023 after being asked outright if there were plans to adapt Starfield.

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