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Microsoft Xbox head Phil Spencer talks about preserving games, console refreshes and more

Microsoft Xbox head Phil Spencer traveled to Cologne, Germany this week as the company had a huge booth of playable games at Gamescom 2023. He also conducted some new interviews where he talked about a number of different subjects.

Over at IGN, Spencer stated that Xbox gamers shouldn't expect a hardware mid-console refresh for the current Xbox Series X and S consoles right now, similar to what Microsoft did with the Xbox One X several years ago. Spencer stated:

No, no. We're focused right now on the increased storage Xbox Series S . . . But no, like I said, we're kind of at the end of the beginning in my mind. So I think we need to let devs settle on this hardware and get the most out of it.

Spencer was referring to the upcoming black-colored Xbox Series S console with 1TB of storage. It's available for pre-order now and will launch one week from today on September 1 for the price of $349.99.

Of course, the subject of Microsoft's proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard came up. The UK Competition and Markets Authority, which blocked Microsoft's previous plan, is now investigating a new proposal from the company that, if approved, give Ubisoft the cloud gaming rights to Activision Blizzard's current and future games for 15 years.

Spencer told IGN that if the deal does close, gamers should not expect titles like Call of Duty games or Blizzard's titles to show up immediately on Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass.

So, for the people who think the deal is going to close and then everything's available, that's not true. And it hasn't been true in other acquisitions that we've done. There's work for us to go do, just mechanical work for us to go do. So, it'll take us time, definitely time to get the games in the portfolio.

A graphic showing Microsoft acquiring Activision Blizzard

In another interview with Eurogamer, Spencer repeated what he previously said about Microsoft's main goal with the Activision Blizzard purchase. Spencer says It's not about trying to get access to Call of Duty or for more cloud gaming titles, but for Microsoft to enter the mobile gaming market thanks to the company's ownership of King, the makers of Candy Crush, and other titles.

We obviously already have Call of Duty on our platform, we already have Diablo on our platform. So it's not about new games that Xbox players don't have access to today. It is about a capability on mobile, and some broader ambitions that we have on the largest gaming platform, which is mobile phones.

Spencer also talked to Eurogamer about possibly trying to preserve the many Xbox 360 games that might be lost forever when the console's Marketplace shuts down in late July 2024.

I will say for us that preservation that's linked to only one piece of hardware is a challenge. Because there can be hardware love as well - people who love and want this device to do this forever - but mechanical things will break over time. But that's why we gave people with this decision a year. Let's say 'hey, if you want to go buy things in the 360 store, we're going to give you a year headstart, and you can go get those things'. And just know that the list of the 220 games is something that we see, and we would love to find solutions for those games to continue to play.

Spencer also stated that he doesn't see Xbox component part prices going down right now, which is why he felt launching the cheaper Xbox Series S console was important so that first-time gamers and families can get an Xbox console at "an entry level price point".

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