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Last year was Xbox's biggest for PC revenue, Spencer says

Last year was Xbox's biggest for PC revenue, Spencer says

The head of Microsoft's Xbox arm Phil Spencer (pictured) has said that last year was the company's biggest yet for PC games revenue.

Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, the exec said that Xbox Game Studios projects had brought in more money on PC than ever before. This follows the firm launching giant first-party titles like Gears 5, Halo: The Master Chief Collection and Age of Empires Definitive Edition on Steam at the same time as on its own Microsoft Store. That's on top of Xbox Game Pass being rolled out to PC in August 2019.

Spencer said that the studios it has acquired over the last few years will allow this subscription platform to continue to grow, but for that to happen, it needs to support the developers it brought into its stable. Xbox announced it had bought Ninja Theory, Playground Games, Compulsion and Undead Labs at E3 2019, as well as the fact it had set up a brand new studio in Santa Monica called The Initiative.

Later that year, Microsoft bought RPG makers Obsidian and InXile, before snapping up adventure game specialist Double Fine at E3 2019. It's also set up a new arm dedicated to looking after the Age of Empires IP.

"We acquired quite a few new studios in a short amount of time, and we want to make sure that those studios are on-boarded in the right way," Spencer concludes. "As Matt [Booty, head of Xbox Games Studios] and I were talking about it, we just wanted to make sure that we treated the incoming studios as full parts of the organisation. That they felt supported.

"The Game Pass portfolio and subscriber base continues to grow. We're launching a new console. Last year was our biggest year ever on PC in terms of revenue as Xbox Game Studios. A lot of the business is doing really well, so we're always in the market for new opportunities with studios.

"The first priority was making sure the studios had the things that they needed to build the best versions of their games. That means extending some of the timelines, and giving them more budgets. We have really strong support from Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, and Amy Hood, the CFO. And there's been no signal at all that we should be slowing down, but just to go at a pace that is maintainable for us as a leadership team. We're always out there talking to people. But it has to be the right opportunity."


Editor - PC Games Insider

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he was hired to launch PCGamesInsider.biz for Steel Media before departing the firm in October 2019.

He has also written for GamesIndustry.biz, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.

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