The new head of Microsoft’s Xbox Division Phil Spencer never had any trouble in sharing words of praise for the competition at Sony, and he did it again during the “fireside chat” interview at GDC, when he was asked about his opinion on PlayStation’s approach to indies compared to Microsoft’s:
They did a nice job at the E3 presentation. I was there and I saw their focus on the smaller developers, and I thought even just the way they staged it was really well done.
And they had some great games to show, and they shown them in their booth. I guess for us it has always been part of our plan. It’s just when we were gonna talk about it, so they choose to focus on that part of their program earlier, and I think they did a good job.
To say that we’re behind when I look at the progress that we have talked about here… I feel really good about the success that we’re having with independent developers looking at Xbox One as the target platform for them, and bringing their games.
So… are we behind now? I don’t know. Right now I’d say that independent developers I’m hearing and talking to seem really happy with how we’re doing the program, and while we don’t control the dates of the independent developers – they own their own dates – I know we’re right on the cusp of games coming, and I think gamers will see the benefits of that program really quickly on Xbox One.
Spencer also mentioned that the ability to turn every Xbox One into a development kit is still on the table, but at the moment Microsoft is focusing on sending actual dev kits to those that signed up to the ID@Xbox program, and that’s the priority for the moment, alongside helping those teams make great games. The retail box to dev kit conversion will come further down the road.
That’s actually an option that always intrigued me, so I’m quite happy to hear that it’s still coming. As usual it’s also refreshing to hear executives like Spencer talk positively about the competition. That’s an attitude many should learn from.