Xbox’s Spencer on Booty promotion: ‘we’re going to invest more in content’

Xbox’s Phil Spencer last night announced that Matt Booty would be promoted to corporate vice president of Microsoft Studios – putting him in charge of games development and publishing. Booty was previously in charge of Minecraft development.

The good news for the platform as a whole, though, is that the new promotion should help kickstart exclusives on the Xbox – after what was a somewhat dismal 2017 for first-party releases. Spencer commented to Venturebeat on this point saying:

"… it’s also become very clear to me that we’re going to invest more in content, which we are doing, and that a unified studios leadership organization was going to be critical to our long-term success."

That comment coming just 24 hours after Eurogamer rumoured that Playground Games was putting its fledgling second studio to work creating a new open-world Fable game.

The promotion follows on from Spencer’s own recent upgrade to the senior management team at Microsoft, as executive vice president with responsibility for the overall strategy across gaming and gaming hardware. Meanwhile, Helen Chiang, Booty’s operations head will take his previous role.

In his new role Booty will take charge of the budgets and outputs of 343 Industries, The Coalition, Mojang, Rare, Turn 10 Studios, and Global Publishing.

Booty, again speaking to Venturebeat, described the new role, and showed respect to what were his fellow studio heads.

“I really look at it first and foremost as an opportunity to serve and provide a leadership layer to the studio heads, so they can focus even more on making great games. I’ve worked as a peer with Bonnie [Ross] and Shannon [Loftis] and Rod [Ferguson] and Craig [Duncan], and obviously very closely with Helen as the No. 2 person on the Minecraft franchise in Redmond.

"It’s a group I have a huge amount of respect for. It’s a world-class group of leaders and a world-class collection of studios. It’s a privilege to get in and help provide a layer of unification and collaboration across the studios, as we go forward helping drive the initiatives Phil talked about, getting behind the company’s vision for gaming.”

About Seth Barton

Seth Barton is the editor of MCV – which covers every aspect of the industry: development, publishing, marketing and much more. Before that Seth toiled in games retail at Electronics Boutique, studied film at university, published console and PC games for the BBC, and spent many years working in tech journalism. Living in South East London, he divides his little free time between board games, video games, beer and family. You can find him tweeting @sethbarton1.

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