Phil Spencer is the head of Xbox who recently shared his views over single player story-driven games. Spencer shared his analysis, saying that such experiences perform inconsistently in the market. He believes that games like Horizon Zero Dawn and Zelda Breath of the Wild don’t have a worthwhile impact in the gaming world. Story heavy titles are losing their value compared to service games that offer post-release content.
Horizon Zero Dawn released on PlayStation 4 in early 2017. Horizon Zero Dawn player numbers are in millions and is currently among the most popular games on the console. Breath of the Wild on the other games has sold almost a million units since its release in March. According to the latest numbers, the game has sold more copies than Nintendo Switch units.
“The audience for those big story-driven games… I won’t say it isn’t as large, but they’re not as consistent. You’ll have things like Zelda or Horizon Zero Dawn that’ll come out, and they’ll do really well, but they don’t have the same impact that they used to have because the big service-based games are capturing such a large amount of the audience. Sony’s first-party studios do a lot of these games, and they’re good at them, but outside of that, it’s difficult – they’re become more rare; it’s a difficult business decision for those teams, you’re fighting into more headwind.”
Phil Spencer’s comments sparked a debate in the gaming community regarding how well Zero Dawn and Zelda did and how Spencer’s comments made no sense. Spencer came out to Twitter to clarify his statement, saying that some people try to turn everything into console wars, when some accused him of downplaying Xbox One’s lack of narrative-driven experiences, he said.
“Not downplaying anything. Some try to turn everything into console wars, I don’t. […] I apologize if that’s how you took my comments. That wasn’t my point. I honestly want all games to succeed.”
Do you think story-driven games are not as impactful anymore? Share your views in the comments.