Phil Spencer Likes Netflix Model For Story Based Games

by Dean James

Gaming has evolved much over the decades, with various changes coming each and every new generation, and even within generations thanks to system updates and services. With this approach, game companies always have to be proactive with ideas. Trying to come up with unique and different ways of presenting games is going to be important for the future and Xbox’s Phil Spencer has one potential idea for how to release story based games.

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In an interview with The Guardian, Phil Spencer talked about the current state of the industry and games as a service. Within this, he mentioned talk about microtransactions and their place in gaming.

Specifically, Spencer mentioned how something like FIFA’s Ultimate Team is a great way to handle this model, but how he would be very disappointed if he was playing a single player story based game and came across some sort of paywall part the way through. For that reason, he has an idea about how to handle story based games potentially.

“I’ve looked at things like Netflix and HBO, where great content has been created because there’s this subscription model. Shannon Loftis and I are thinking a lot about, well, could we put story-based games into the Xbox Game Pass business model because you have a subscription going? It would mean you wouldn’t have to deliver the whole game in one month; you could develop and deliver the game as it goes.”

Spencer’s idea very much sounds like the style that publishers like Telltale Games have done and what Square Enix did with the recent Hitman reboot. It does work well with Telltale Games in how the stories are split up well, but I could see this being a problem in the more expansive single player story based games.

Having a game like The Legend of Zelda: The Breath of the Wild split up into parts that were released over time as they were finished would definitely have taken something away from that experience without question, but this model could work for some types of games. Even though the number of big single player story based games from Xbox aren’t that common, we’ll have to wait and see whether they attempt something like this in the future.

- This article was updated on March 8th, 2018