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Spencer: Titanfall not needed for XB1 launch

by William Schwartz

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A game that has been garnering a lot of buzz has been Respawn’s upcoming first-person shooter Titanfall. With the amount of positive reception surrounding it, some have wondered whether Microsoft was thinking of pressuring Respawn to release Titanfall as a launch day game. Phil Spencer, in a podcast with IGN, argued that releasing in March was a better choice.

“[Titanfall] looks great, there’s no doubt,” so said Spencer. “Respawn’s doing an amazing job with that game, they have a great pedigree as a studio that knows how to build shooting games, and to have them working on an Xbox game is incredible. And what the killer app will be – I think you’re right, if you look at all the press, Titanfall is it, and I’m sure it’s going to be amazing.”

Spencer continued by saying, “There’s always some surprises at launch, there’s always something that comes out and is the Minecraft, the thing that people wouldn’t predict. I like the number of titles we have – we’ve got over 20 titles at launch, and then you start to talk about what’s going to happen in early ’14. The strength of the portfolio all up is something that I really think will be great for Xbox One customers.”

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When asked if pressuring Respawn to release Titanfall on launch day was a good idea, Spencer disagreed. “The nice thing about the way our partners and I try to develop the games, is really trying to get the creative [side] right first. There’s the old axiom – a game is only late once, it’s bad forever. You want to make sure you’ve got the right time.

“For us, where the game is landing is actually really nice. Having it come in in March is fantastic, when you think about it. There’s a lot of content at launch, there’s obviously only a certain number of consoles early on in the life cycle, and then it will continue to sell. Having a great beat in early ’14 for core fans is going to be fantastic. So when I look at the timing of when that release is coming, it’s almost perfect for us at a platform.”

Also, as Spencer pointed out, those who buy at launch day already have their minds up long before the launch games are scheduled. As such, having a killer app past the original launch day would be more beneficial to the console maker, so he argues. “When I think about when Titanfall launches – would it have had an impact? Absolutely. A game that’s that spectacular would have had an impact. But I am actually really happy with where it’s coming because I think when you look at the people who are going to line up, the Xbox fans, the PlayStation fans, that certain [factionalism] out there that you can see play out, and people will just have their allegiance, they’ll buy the console that they care about.”

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“And we look at our preorder numbers, and we look at the anticipation in the market we’re hearing from retailers, and I think we’re going to sell about every piece of hardware we can build. Knock on wood. But then when you start playing it forward and you think well what happens in that second holiday, when do the other franchises come, and you have a lot more hardware in the market, so I think it’s a very good time.”

“Sure, it would have had an impact at launch, but I think it’s coming at a perfect time for us.”

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