In response to an interview of Phil Spencer done by Axios where he discussed Bungie’s departure and mentioned that they could’ve held on to them today, Thomas Mahler, founder of Moon Studios who are responsible for the amazing Ori series, has recently criticized Microsoft for not fully acting on their vision and for creating “artificial barriers”. Mahler has posted on a ResetEra forum where he says he disagrees with Phil Spencer’s statement, saying that, “Microsoft is in this weird ‘between a Rock and a hard place’ position where they’re saying that this is the vision they want to see happening in the future, no artificial walls, no boundaries, but then they’re not necessarily acting accordingly”
When bringing up Bungie’s departure, he talks about his upcoming game while mentioning that, “And I get Bungie- This is also one of the reasons why we decided to make our next game with Private Division instead of Microsoft. We always got so many gamers saying that they love Ori, but hate that they can’t play it on PlayStation. Well why not? Because it was funded by Microsoft hence they call the shots” He also criticizes the exclusive culture in the industry, pointing out PlayStation and Nintendo as being “scared of change” and that they still believe in “walled gardens”
Mahler further talks about an ecosystem where each game is ported to every Platform but mainly highlighting Microsoft due to their vision of a joint eco-system. Microsoft have been delivering on a combined eco-system, through services like Game Pass and their heavy support towards the PC market through Steam. He further mentions that Microsoft should “have the guts” to commit to their vision. He continues, “Make their games and port them to ALL platforms, not leave anyone behind. The 13 year old kid whose parents were able to only afford to buy one system for their child now won’t grow up playing Halo because Microsoft believes that it makes the most financial sense to leave PlayStation players out. How does that benefit anyone but Microsoft?”
He proceeds to talk about Microsoft creating an artificial barrier for players who can’t afford the systems. Saying that, “Your goal as a platform holder should be that these games play the best on your box, not that you force people to buy your box cause you’re creating an artificial barrier for other players out there who won’t be able to afford the system you’re making.” He ends saying that, “I hope I’ll live long enough to see the industry embracing this kinda openness”
A culture of exclusives has been dormant in the gaming industry for as long as time, whether it be during the Atari days or the early GBA or PS1 days. However, things are slowly starting to change as both PlayStation and Microsoft are investing into the PC market. I think the closest we have to a combined eco-system that has the best of both worlds is the PC space, and while Nintendo still hasn’t put their hands in the pile, who knows what might happen in the future? Expecting Sony to release games on PC was just as much of a pipe dream in the past as is expecting a Nintendo game on anything other than a Nintendo console today. A change is certainly happening, but its one that’s going to take place very slowly.
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