Microsoft Studios’ Phil Spencer Named “Head of Xbox”
Sir Phil Spencer, longtime Xbox figurehead and, up until now, head of Microsoft Studios, has been announced as the Head of Xbox today.
Spencer will now take the reigns of not only the Xbox and Xbox Live divisions of Microsoft, but he’ll oversee Xbox Music and Video as well as his old digs, Microsoft Studios. “Combining these teams will strengthen the connection between some of the world’s most innovative creators and those building the Xbox itself,” wrote Xbox’s new honcho in his open letter, “A New Day at Xbox.”
Most of the letter reaffirms Xbox’s stance to usher in growth and innovation into the console, mobile, and PC markets, while harboring a platform for both microscopic indie developers and gigantic, years-cemented publishing partners.
What instills confidence in me that Phil is the right man for the job came about in this simple, shot-to-the-heart statement: “Games and gamers have always been at the core of Xbox and the core of my work—and gaming will be our core as we take Xbox forward.”
Xbox One in particular was initially criticized for trying to become more of an entertainment hub than a gaming driven experience. The console is young and its path is still being paved, but with people like Spencer in charge who remember what put Xbox on the map to begin with – namely the games and not Netflix, if you can fathom such a dark age – I’m more willing than ever to see where the trail goes.
Best of luck to you, Phil.
Microsoft Buys Up Gears of War From Epic
Already a flagship Xbox exclusive four games running, Epic’s blockbuster Gears of War IP has been bought up by Microsoft Studios.
The deal puts Microsoft in ownership of all current and subsequent games, media, and merchandise. The Big M announced its intent to put all future development duties of the series onto Black Tusk Studios’ shoulders.
The production house, formerly known as Microsoft Vancouver, is having its staff bolstered by one Mr. Rod Fergusson, whom you may recall as having worked at Epic in a Director of Production role. Fergusson most recently has been bombin’ around 2K supposedly setting up a new studio for the company, but his assuming of a “key leadership position” at Black Tusk means 2K is a Rod short these days.
Epic released a fluffy statement saying that they’re pleased Microsoft will be able to “forge ahead with the Gears universe on their industry-leading platforms” and yada, yada, and some-such. It would seem Epic is moving onto other projects but fully intends on licensing out their Unreal 4 Engine to the Xbox One – which could mean a future Gears may benefit from it.
This isn’t the first shakeup in a renown franchise under Microsoft’s belt. Halo saw its creators in Bungie leave the property behind for greener virtual pastures while Microsoft coordinated internally to create a dev studio solely for the purpose of proliferating Master Chief’s universe. Hopefully Gears of War’s transition into new hands will be handled as carefully as Halo 4 was.
(Also interesting to note, both Bungie’s and Epic’s last titles in their respective IP’s ended in prequels. History will eat itself as they say… If they say that.)
Still from the XBLA exclusive in the works, Deadlight.
Crafted by Tequila Works (featuring some of the creative forces behind the likes of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow and Diablo III), this puzzle platformer has you fending off the 1986 post-apocalypse. You do recall the post-apocalypse of the late ‘80’s, right?