Spencer: I wouldn’t say our strategy is to unify Xbox and PC

Xbox boss Phil Spencer has played down previous reports saying that Microsoft wants to bring down some of the walls between Xbox and Windows PC.

Spencer said earlier this week that the company is adopting a more all-encompassing approach to its game releases, with its new Universal Windows Applications standard allowing it to roll out games in a less platform specific way.

However, speaking to PC Gamer, Spencer has attempted to calm fears that this could in any way threaten the position of Xbox as a robust, standalone platform.

I wouldn’t say our strategy is to unify, because when I hear ‘unify’ I worry a bit that people will interpret, my own teams included, ‘Hey, we just want to say a game is a game and all games should run everywhere,’” he said.

Spencer went on to stress that he still views each platform as having individual strengths and weaknesses, and that games would continue to cater to this.

I think there are a real two factors that today differentiate what I consider PC and console gaming,” he explained. One is input. We’ve said we’re going to support keyboard and mouse on console, and clearly you can plug a controller into a PC, so that’s not a trump card, but [while] PC games… can support keyboard and mouse, console games today usually don’t and for the most part can’t.

The other thing is the play space itself. I’m usually closer to my monitor, it’s a smaller screen. All these are ‘usually’s. And my TV experience on a console, I’m further away, it’s more of a communal play experience. But the console experience is a dedicated gaming hardware device that is very appliance-like, instant on, ability to basically do one thing, which is play games, very well.”

Spencer did add, however, that hardware specs between the two platforms are increasingly overlapping and that the differentiation is becoming blurred”

An example of this would be the freshly announced Forza Motorsport 6: Apex on PC. Unlike the console game, it will be a trimmed down, free-to-play experience.

We don’t think Forza 6 is what the PC racing fan thinks of as a racing franchise,” he argued. If you look at the racing franchises that are on PC today and do incredibly well, they’re not, kind of, $60 shrinkwrapped products the way we built Forza 6. This is a good example of not trying to make all games the same everywhere you go. So we’re going to learn.”

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