Microsoft’s Phil Spencer is definitely one of the men that are more “hands on” with Microsoft’s upcoming console Xbox One as the Head of the company’s Game Studios. Today he gave some definitely interesting pieces of info on what’s waiting for us this November and the Japanese audience next year as part of an interview on Famitsu.com, which includes an unannounced exclusive Japanese title.
Here’s a summary of the most relevant points he made:
- The possibility for the upclock of the CPU of the console surfaced in the summer during the final stage of the development of the hardware. It turned out that there was a little margin of improvement, since engineers normally estimate hardware specs conservatively at first. Spencer thinks it’s good news for developers.
- The number of pre-orders is unprecedented when compared to the original Xbox and the Xbox 360. It’s “far beyond expectations.” Microsoft is working to be able to provide as many units as possible at launch.
- Spencer feels that the line up between launch and the 2014 holiday season is great, with a variety of titles like Titanfall and Halo. He also feels that if the launch of the games will be successful then the Xbox One will be successful as well.
- When asked if launching for 100 dollars more than the PS4 is an disadvantage, Spencer responds that the Xbox One can provide a full service, including the ability to use the cloud, and that’s great value both for developers and for gamers. He feels that fans should judge the value of the console based on that.
- A stand-alone version without Kinect is not being considered, as Kinect is essential for the Xbox One because many important features of the console won’t work without it.
- Japan is still an important market for Microsoft. Spencer feels that titles like Metal Gear Solid V and Dead Rising 3 will appease the Japanese audience. Also, the space required for Kinect to operate has been reduced, and that will help its acceptance in Japan, where rooms are normally smaller.
- Spencer had a meeting with some Japanese developers about the release of Xbox One in Japan. He intends to develop an exclusive title in collaboration with those developers. It will be announced officially closer to the Japanese launch of the console.
- Working with Japanese developers for Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey was a wonderful experience, and this time he looks forward to the partnership with new Japanese devs. He got a great reaction from them.
- Since the Xbox One is region free, it’s also advantageous for Japanese developers to develop for the console, since they can get global visibility.
Spencer also talked about three main uses for Xbox One’s cloud services at launch.
- The first is to provide dedicated servers for Call of Duty: Ghosts, codenamed “ThunderHead.” In this case the cloud provides the developer with a low-cost online environment on a consistent basis. In the future there will be many games taking advantage of those dedicated servers.
- Forza Motorsport 5 will save the information of friends in the cloud, then in the game it’ll give you the feeling of playing with them, by giving the AI the same playing style.
- The third is giving developers the ability to shift part of the computing from the CPU to the cloud. The CPUs of the cloud do the computations and then send them back to the Xbox One that displays the results locally. That improves performance. Millions of dollars have been invested in the Cloud and Spencer thinks it will be very important for the future growth of the gaming industry.
That’s quite a lot of interesting information, and my interest is especially piqued by the exclusive title developed in collaboration with Japanese developer. Will it be a JRPG like Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey, or something entirely different?
We’ll have to wait until the Japanese launch of the console will be closer, but whatever it’ll be, I hope we’ll be able to enjoy it in the west as well.