In a recent podcast, Phil Spencer, the CEO of Microsoft Gaming, discussed his plans for Activision Blizzard games now that the company is under Xbox’s umbrella. Spencer proposed a thoughtful approach, prioritizing game quality and community expectations over quick profits. He confirmed that no Activision Blizzard games would be part of the Xbox Game Pass this year, though 2024 looks promising.
Spencer expressed a keen interest in revisiting old franchises but insisted that the motivation be right. He believes that games, especially classics, hold sentimental value for many and should not be revived to make money or grab headlines.
“We have to be a great custodian for the content that we touch. These are memories from people on different platforms, different decades,” said Spencer.
The CEO acknowledged that the sheer volume of franchises in Activision Blizzard’s portfolio is inspiring and challenging. Spencer emphasized that he intends to start with the teams, understanding their passion before making any moves.
“It’s always a trade-off between what do you do that’s new and going back and doing something,” he noted.
Spencer also touched upon the Xbox Game Pass as a potential medium for reviving old franchises. Although he didn’t confirm any particular plans, he did hint at the possibility of revisiting a couple of franchises every year through the platform.
Recalling breakthroughs in gaming, such as Guitar Hero and Skylanders, Spencer believes that there are moments in Activision’s history worth revisiting. These are instances where the original teams thought out of the box and came up with something extraordinary. Spencer has a soft spot for adventure games like King’s Quest and Zork.
Above all, Spencer stressed the importance of treating classic games with the respect they deserve instead of turning them into quick cash grabs or PR stunts.
“Most important is that we treat them with the respect that they deserve, and we don’t turn it into some way for us just to do like I said, a PR moment or something else,” he explained.
It looks like Phil Spencer is taking a cautious yet enthusiastic approach towards managing Activision Blizzard’s extensive portfolio.