Phil Spencer wants Xbox users to feel like "first class citizens"

Why Microsoft insists on indie parity

Microsoft has explained why it includes a parity clause in deals with indie developers, claiming it’s for the benefit of players.

Talking on The Inner Circle podcast, head of Xbox Phil Spencer said the clause – which demands that indie games are released on Xbox One at the same time as other platforms – is to make gamers feel "first class", according to GameSpot.

"I look at all the people who buy an Xbox, and they invest their time and their money in Xbox One, and, as millions of people obviously own Xbox Ones, I want them to feel like they’re first class because they are," he said.

"When a third party game comes out, it comes out on all platforms at the same time, and when indie games come out, I want them to come out and I want Xbox to feel like it’s a first-class citizen when an indie game launches.

"So for me the parity thing is, if you own an Xbox One, I want to work for you to make sure that when great content launches, if it’s coming to XBox and another platform, that you kind of get it at the same time everybody else does."

Earlier this year, Microsoft said it discusses exceptions to the parity clause on a ‘case-by-case basis’. And Spencer acknowledges that for some studios, launch parity is simply not possible.

"I have a lot of friends that run small indie studios, and I get that timelines around when they just can’t get both games done at the same time, all three or four games, depending on how many platforms they’re supporting," he said.

"So I always just say, ‘Let’s have a conversation’. And it’s worked; today, I think we’ve done a good job of working with the indies on, when they’ve had parity concerns, if it’s just a dev issue for them."

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