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Phil Spencer on ‘Titanfall’, Direct 12 support and Microsoft’s clumsy Xbox One E3 reveal

Microsoft’s Phil Spencer has recently discussed the frustrations of the early Xbox One campaign while also hinting that Direct 12 support for Xbox One may enhance console graphics.

Phil Spencer

At this year’s SXSW event, Microsoft exec Phil Spencer reflects on Microsoft’s early blunders with the Xbox One campaign, freely admitting that last summer “wasn’t a high point” for him.

Shortly after the Xbox One was announced at E3 2013, the company’s overall message became quite confused and was met with near-universal disdain from the gaming sphere.

Much of the announcements were met with criticism, such as the hotly contested “always on” requirements as well as the dreaded Kinect concept where consoles wouldn’t function without the sensor. The presentation was largely seen as a failure in many respects, and Microsoft had to do a fair share of damage control and reverse many universally dislike policies in order to maintain a stake in the next-gen console war.

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During the interview (see clip above) Spencer echoes sentiments set forth by Marc Whitten, Chief Product Officer for the Xbox One, who said that the company needed to improve their communication skills with core gamers.

Contrasting to the frustrating and chaotic early days of the Xbox One campaign, Spencer feels that the console is facing greener pastures due to high-profile titles like Titanfall. Respawn’s innovative tech-shooter will not only send a fresh surge of acclaim and sales for the console–thanks to the Titanfall Xbox One bundle–but it’ll give Microsoft the chance to test out their highly touted cloud network, Xbox LIVE Compute.

Spencer recounts that over two million people played the Titanfall beta on PC and Xbox One, which is impressive for any given beta test, and the “massive” influx of gamers on the Xbox LIVE servers is a great opportunity for cloud testing.

Xbox One

It’s interesting to see Spencer, a prestigious higher-up Microsoft employee, speak with such candor regarding the company’s formative months in the Xbox One’s campaign. Even still the console has yet to take off as Microsoft had hoped, but the war is far from over and things may change once developers fully harness eSRAM as well as the enhancements offered by the cloud.

There may be another ace up Microsoft’s sleeve to even the playing field: Direct 12 support.

When directly queried by a gamer on Twitter regarding the possibility of Direct 12 support improving Xbox One resolution, Spencer delivered a somewhat teasing response–“stay tuned for GDC”.

While Microsoft is still building their strategies and laying out their plans for the future, Sony’s PlayStation 4 continues to gain momentum in terms of overall sales. Titanfall is assuredly a valuable asset for the lime-green half of the battlefield, however it’s not a full-on Xbox One exclusive, as gamers can still play it on Xbox 360 and PC, so it loses some of its value on the next-gen front.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens when Microsoft unveils–and fully implements–their plans for the Xbox One, and to see what improvements and enhancements can actually be offered by the cloud. Thus far we’ve heard claims that the cloud can amp up graphics as well as provide near-infinite virtual storage, but those days may be far away.

Via Dualshockers, Twitter, YouTube

Derek Strickland
Derek is an avid fan of gaming and everything geeky, and is compelled to make his mark in the field of games journalism. When he's not gaming on a console (everything from SNES to X360) you can find him reading about ancient civilizations or enjoying a fantasy epic or two.

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