Xbox boss Phil Spencer discusses AI, Activision Blizzard and mobile games in a new interview

What You Need to KnowMicrosoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer recently caught up with Xbox On’s Charleyy Hodson for an in-depth interview. During the interview, Spencer spoke about the games he plays as well as his upcoming plans. Hodson and Spencer also spoke about the ongoing one Activision The Blizzard Acquisition and the Impact of Mobile Gaming on Xbox. Finally, the interview ended with Spencer sharing his thoughts on the potential of AI to transform and improve video games.

Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer isn’t afraid to pose in front of a camera or sit down for an interview, and he recently did just that with Xbox On’s Charleyy Hodson. The interview lasts almost 23 minutes and sees the dynamic duo discuss the present and future of Xbox and video games in general. The upcoming plans of Xbox, Call of Duty and the ongoing acquisition of Activision Blizzard, mobile gaming and AI in video games were all topics discussed.

Spencer opens the interview, which took place at Bethesda in London, by revealing that he loves to play on his Xbox Series S while traveling, using the clever xScreen accessory to do so. Vampire Survivors, Hi-Fi RUSH, and Age of Empires 2 on Xbox have all been frequent visits to Xbox’s mind over the past few weeks.

Spencer will soon be visiting Ninja Theory for the first time to catch up on the studio’s progress on the highly anticipated Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II. He also praised the way Playground Games is helping Fable evolve with its remake, as Spencer helped ship the original Fable way back in 2004. Both projects are still a long way off, however, as Xbox has plenty of exciting announcements to make in the first half of 2023.

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Xbox is hard at work building an exciting showcase for June 2023, so players shouldn’t expect a plethora of major announcements until then. However, Spencer did hint that there will be more “Goldeneye-type announcements” ahead of the big showcase, referring to the recent launch of classic shooter Goldeneye 007 on Xbox and Xbox Game Pass.

There are also several high-profile Xbox launches confirmed ahead of June’s Showcase, including Minecraft Legends in April and Redfall in May. The Xbox platform is busier than it’s been in years. Of course, no interview with the Xbox boss could be long without touching on Microsoft’s ongoing acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

(Image credit: Microsoft)

When asked by Hodson about Call of Duty and Activision Blizzard, Spencer reiterated that “it was never about that,” explaining that Microsoft never intended to take Call of Duty away from competing platforms and that Xbox is focused on building a platform to reach players everywhere . Spencer also reiterated comments from a previous interview that the deal was ultimately about mobile games and not Call of Duty.

“How do we achieve more possibilities on mobile devices, both creatively and with users?” asked Spencer during the interview. The answer for Microsoft was obviously simple: acquire the largest mobile games publisher outside of China, Activision Blizzard King. Mobile gaming is the largest video game market, but also the weakest area for the current Xbox ecosystem. Activision Blizzard King offers the talent, creativity, and IPs to help Xbox address this weakness.

Jumping back into the discussion of Call of Duty and exclusivity, Spencer states, “We absolutely want to make the best version of Call of Duty for any player on either of these platforms.” According to the Xbox boss, there will be no exclusive skins or weapons for Call of Duty on Xbox as the same version of the game will be available for every platform in the same way as The Elder Scrolls Online, Fallout 76, Minecraft, Minecraft Dungeons and beyond.

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“This has to benefit gamers and developers or it hasn’t been successful for Xbox,” Spencer concluded of Xbox’s intent to acquire Activision Blizzard. Microsoft is currently working with a variety of government regulators and organizations to clear the massive deal, valued at nearly $69 billion. If the deal goes through, the Xbox platform will gain a plethora of new studios and franchises like World of Warcraft, Diablo, Overwatch, Call of Duty, and Candy Crush.

(Image credit: Windows Central)

Finally, Hodson and Spencer discussed the potential of AI to help developers create new and original video games. “The intersection of AI and games has always been there,” Spencer said, “and now the AI ‚Äč‚Äčcapability on the planet is just getting bigger.” AI has long played a prominent role in game development, and Xbox is actively exploring how improvements in AI, like Bing AI, can lead to improvements in the best Xbox games.

“Our developers are now spending a lot of time with AI engineers and thinking about how this can be an additional, positive force in the games we’re developing,” Spencer Hodson said towards the end of the interview. Xbox makes big investments in a variety of areas across its platform, covering Xbox consoles, Windows PCs, and cloud gaming. The future of Xbox over the next year and beyond could be exciting for gamers, and Spencer’s interview on Xbox On sums up what the Microsoft Gaming CEO is focusing on.

The setting of Windows Central

If you’re at all interested in the future of Xbox, or video games in general, this is a fascinating interview with Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer. While it doesn’t come with any earth-shattering reveals or industry-wide announcements, it offers some additional insights into the current Xbox strategy: Reach gamers where they are and build a platform that empowers developers.

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The future of Xbox is certainly looking bright, with Minecraft Legends, Redfall, Forza Motorsport (2023) and Starfield all on the immediate horizon (and the Xbox June Show no doubt shows what’s to come in the next six months). If Microsoft is able to negotiate closure on the Activision Blizzard deal, things will get even more interesting. I’m particularly excited to see how Xbox will leverage the publisher’s expertise to expand into mobile gaming, an area where Microsoft has struggled in the past.

Xbox Game Pass is the present and future of Xbox and will continue to grow as more games join the service. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate includes everything you need for consoles, Windows PC and the cloud.