Phil Spencer speaks openly about studio closures: I have to manage a viable business

It was during a recent interview that Phil Spencer, the head of gaming at Microsoft, spoke about the closures of Tango Gameworks and Arkane Austin. Pragmatism, did you say pragmatism?

Remember, at the beginning of May, the green giant swept aside Alpha Dog Studios (Mighty Doom), Arkane Austin (Prey, Redfall), and Tango Gameworks, the former studio of Shinji Mikami responsible for The Evil Within, Ghostwire Tokyo, and most notably Hi-Fi Rush, the highest-rated Xbox game of 2023. This caused a huge wave of support for the impacted teams, as well as a torrent of insults towards the American company. Matt Booty, the head of the brand’s first-party studios, explained these « changes » as the need to « focus on high-impact titles » and to identify « the best opportunities for success » in order to « invest more in Bethesda’s portfolio of successful games ». « Don’t use us as doormats for miscalculations, » lamented Dinga Bakaba of Arkane Lyon on X following the sad news.

We were waiting for post-Xbox Games Showcase interviews to learn more about Microsoft’s motivations and some of the criticized choices in its recent policies. In the presence of an audience and alongside Ryan McCaffrey of IGN, Phil Spencer addressed these layoffs. « It is obviously a very difficult decision to make, and I want to ensure, through severance pay and other measures, that we are doing what is right for the team members, » he said.

Regarding the closure of Tango Gameworks, Microsoft’s gaming head said he made this decision even if he didn’t like it. « I have said and repeated that I have to manage a viable business within the company and grow it, » he stated. « And that means that sometimes I have to make tough decisions that, frankly, are not decisions that I like, but decisions that someone has to make, » he said. Spencer concluded: « we will continue to move forward, we will continue to invest in what we are trying to do with Xbox, and we will build the best business possible, which will allow us to continue to do shows like the one we just did. »

In addition to reflecting on the recent studio closures, Phil Spencer also touched on the future of Xbox and the direction they are heading towards. He emphasized the importance of managing a viable business while also making tough decisions for the company’s growth. Despite the challenges faced, Spencer remains committed to investing in the Xbox brand and delivering quality content to fans worldwide.

As the gaming industry continues to evolve, it is clear that companies like Microsoft are constantly adapting to meet the demands of players. While studio closures can be difficult, they are sometimes necessary to ensure the overall success and sustainability of the business. Phil Spencer’s candid remarks shed light on the complexities of managing a gaming empire and the tough decisions that come with it.