The Xbox platform is investing more heavily into single-play and narrative-driven games, according to Xbox boss Phil Spencer. He believes that the platform is likely more invested in the endeavor now than at any other point throughout the companies history.
In a recent interview with The Guardian, Spencer defined how the company approaches what was referred to as ‘Traditional forms of narrative games’ for the Xbox Series X. This boiled down to games with an emphasis on the single-player experience, and not multiplayer led or live service titles.
Phil Spencer explained that:
I think we’re probably building more of those now than we’ve been in the history of Xbox. Platform holders, whether that platform is subscription or a hardware device or a store, are actively investing in new and probably more risky things, because, if it works, we get value out of bringing players into the ecosystem.
Already, a few companies jump out as fitting this mold for Xbox. The company had purchased Obsidian, who is currently working on a single-player RPG named Avowed. The acquisition of Zenimax brings with it several studios known for their single-player work such as Bethesda. And of course Ninja Theory, developers on Hellblade 2.
Historically, single-player experiences work well as a console seller. This has proven to work extremely well for the PlayStation console, owing much of their success to the likes of God of War, The Last of Us, and Horizon: Zero Dawn to name a few.
Xbox, on the other hand, has been moving away from the traditional console space, focusing on the ecosystem created by Xbox Game Pass across several marketplaces. Since game pass has been heavily marketed for PC as well, an increase in narrative games might not sell more systems but it could see a solid increase in subscribers.
Since most of Xbox’s big-name narrative-driven titles are slated for 2022 at the earliest, we will have to wait and see how this shakes up their ecosystem.