Head of Microsoft Xbox: Continue to develop “stand-alone narrative games”_detailed interpretation_news_hot events_36氪

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Editor’s note: Nowadays, creating a massive narrative game is more risky than ever.MicrosoftThe person in charge proposed that the game concept should put player experience first, and plans to build a player community, adopt cloud technology Xcloud and subscription service Game Pass to allow players to try demos, design “early experience services”, acquire and establish a local cultural market The game studio and other methods continue to develop stand-alone narrative games to meet the needs of players and users. This article is translated from Medium, author Keith Stuart, and the original title is Phil Spencer on the future of Xbox: we still want to take risks with games, I hope it will inspire you.

Although it is more difficult than ever to develop traditional narrative games, Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft’s Xbox department, believes that the use of modern advanced game platforms and the integration of information technology is the development of new game story formats. Great opportunity.

In the past ten years or so, the concept of “game as a service” has completely changed the way the interactive entertainment industry operates. From the subscription model introduced by massively multiplayer online role-playing adventure games such as “World of Warcraft” to the seasonal battle pass of modern multiplayer online shooting games, we can notice that many game developers are trying to find ways in recent years. To retain old players and attract new players.

What unusual ideas and concepts can this bring to those game modes that cannot last? Taking into account the current development trend of the game, will there be “Metal Gear” (Metal Gear), “Red Dead: Redemption” (Red Dead: Redemption), or “Mass Effect” (Mass Effect) in the future? What about large-scale single-player narrative adventure games? Sony has been funding and supporting single-player narrative adventure games from beginning to end, funding studios to create such as “The Last of Us”, “Marvel’s Spider-man” and “God of War” “(God Of War) and others are familiar with several popular single-player adventure games.But it seems that Microsoft has focused its main energy on cross-platform interactive Internet games, just like the huge Minecraft game industry (Minecraft: Chinese andcalls meWorld, a 3D construction game that meets different terminals and interfaces and realizes user diversification. Microsoft acquired Minecraft in 2014).

Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft’s Xbox department, said: “I think in the history of the development of Xbox, we are currently developing more games than ever before.” Phil Spencer said: ” Whether it is a subscription platform, a hardware device, or a platform operator of a game store, they are actively investing in new things that may be more risky than before, because if new investment content is feasible, we can attract more new players into the game Platform, to maintain the normal operation of the game platform ecosystem and obtain value from it.”

The problem is that creating a large-scale narrative game of magnitude is now more risky than ever. The budget for developing a huge game project often requires investment of hundreds of millions of dollars, requires hundreds of developers to participate in it and continue to develop it for several years. The investment cost is high and the development cycle is long. Unlike “Sea of ​​Thieves” (Sea of ​​Thieves), “No Man’s Sky” (No Man’s Sky) and other constantly updated and iterative games, the income from stand-alone narrative games tends to be concentrated in the period after the official release. However, Spencer mentioned that it is possible for the game development team to use modern game platforms and advanced technology to test novel ideas and build a community of players before the game is officially released. At the E3 show last month, Microsoft revealed that the company is planning to combine the subscription service Game Pass with today’s mainstream cloud technology xCloud to allow users and players to try the demo version of the game before downloading the game.

Spencer said that Microsoft is likely to bring “early early access services” to the Xbox Series S/X platform. This experiential service can satisfy players and users who can still enjoy the game during the game development stage. Microsoft has experienced this unique mode in the control background through the game preview program, but the game effect of this mode is not very good. The cloud technology Xcloud can optimize this effect well. Spencer said: “When we can stream game data to any device, a computer or a mobile phone, we can really understand how we can get more of this early access experience. We are eager to do the next step of research so that game developers can design more early game experience models, and even this model can become a funding model for the company.” “I think this move can bring developers and consumers closer. The relationship between the creators makes the relationship between the two more intimate…Developing creators is our current focus.”

The so-called “developers”, Spencer’s “developers” refers not only to game developers, but also to game players’ contributions to the game, such as those in “Minecraft” and “Simulation”. Player users who create content, sell or share things with others in games such as Flight Simulator and Forza Horizon. “From the very beginning, Microsoft was a creator-led company.” Spencer said, “In the DOS era (Disk Operating System), anyone can build applications-as long as you have the compiler You are a game developer yourself. You develop a game, then copy the game program to a floppy disk, package it with plastic, and then sell it. This way you are a veritable game publisher. I like it very much. In this way, I also want to return to the game industry in the early years.”

Matt Booty, the head of Microsoft Game Studios, agrees: “I think we will see more games in the future that provide game modes that support gamers’ content creation.” Speed: Horizon 5″ game, we added the function that allows gamers to design challenges and track obstacles. “Halo Forge” (Halo Forge) game allows players to design their own multiplayer game levels. In “Microsoft Flight Simulator” “In “, the space allowed for gamers to play is greater, and it is relatively more complicated than what can be done in other games. Therefore, I think we will see the development of this trend in the future, and people will expect to be able to pass scripts and Mods (MODs) do more. Of course, Bethesda, who is new to the Xbox family, knows the value of the game itself as far as gamers make and design MODs themselves-“The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim” (Skyrim) is here It sets a model: the player can build a castle fortress by himself, and the NPC can be set up according to the player’s own ideas, become the player’s servant, and be ruled by the game player.”

MOD screenshot

According to Booty, under the leadership of Microsoft, the company will not force its game company studios to adopt a single method to develop and design games, or require a collective thinking design method.To designA game. Although the company often discusses topics such as game development, player retention, and subscription models, not every game must include a season pass. “We do not have any instructions or regulations that every game must be a continuous and constantly changing game. Take “Psychonauts” as an example: there may be “Psychonauts 3” in the future, but I will not Let the game designer Tim Schafer do it directly. Butty said: “Based on what I have learned about his historical experience in designing games, I don’t think he will design a game with a season pass. A game that lasts for five years. “.

“The game “Sea of ​​Thieves” (Sea of ​​Thieves) has been in operation for many years. The new game “Halo” also provides players with multiplayer games around the season, but we will not force Montreal The studio (Compulsion Games) makes a game that contains seasons or multiple DLCs (Downloadable Content, also known as additional download content, commonly known as download packs). “How” (Tell Me Why) This game tells a great Story, but in the same way, we will not force the development team to design a seasonal content section for this game.” Buti said here.

Both Spencer and Butty knew that if Microsoft’s video games are to expand users to players all over the world, they need to continuously develop and tell new stories—and this means that Microsoft needs to build new ones around the world. Different types of game studios. So does this mean that Microsoft will consider acquiring game studios in India, Africa or South America? “If this kind of acquisition does not happen in the future, then I will be very surprised.” Spencer said, “Based on historical experience, India, Africa and South America are not traditional game development hubs, but I still believe In the next 3-5 years, there will be more and more game studios here.”

Buti added: “In these areas, there should be a studio of hundreds of people. This is not to provide outsourcing services or to provide support services for other game studios, but to create a version of the game suitable for the local market. This is our vision.”

Spencer’s philosophy has always been to put gamers first. Therefore, if players still want to play some unusual games or large-scale narrative adventure games, and such games cannot be converted into a series of games that last for many years, then the platform owner must support and meet the needs of the players. The new tools of the contemporary interactive entertainment industry—the cloud subscription model to transmit data streams, and the game market full of content created by players themselves—must obey the game concept. When we turn on the game console and consider what to play, we are focusing on the game, not the business model.

Translator: Araon_


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