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Phil Spencer Isn’t Fully Opposed to the Idea of Xbox Game Pass Exclusives

Phil Spencer, Microsoft’s VP of gaming, isn’t ruling out the notion of Xbox Game Pass getting Netflix-style exclusives for its growing library of games. He said in a recent interview that although development teams have already pitched the idea — especially for projects that are serialized by design — he’s hesitant to deny consumers the option to purchase games outside the subscription-based service.

“You’ll have teams come and say, ‘Hey, don’t you want to just put something exclusive in Game Pass because you can?’ And I’m a little reticent on that because I believe the customer wants a choice. Gaming has a history of people buying their games and, frankly, having a local place to download those games so they can play them when they’re offline or whatever. And I think that’s an important point,” Spencer told Polygon.

“But it is interesting. We’re starting to see teams bring ideas [that factor Game Pass into] the actual creative of the game,” he added. “The easy one to go to is episodic games. I’m not saying episodic is new, but this isn’t an online service-based game. It’s actually a single-player narrative game where we want time to be one of the things that builds drama across the game’s arc. And we want to use a subscription model so that we always know that we have more and more people ready to engage every time [we release a new episode].”

Xbox Game Pass first launched on consoles in May 2017; by November 2018, Spencer said, the service had attracted “millions” of subscribers. A beta for Game Pass on PC went live on June 9. The next Xbox, codenamed Project Scarlett, will ship alongside 343 Industries’ “Halo Infinite” sometime in late 2020.

The annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3, takes place at the Los Angeles Convention Center from June 11 to 13. As is tradition, however, things kicked off early on Saturday at 12 p.m. ET with Electronic Arts’ EA Play event, which was held at the Hollywood Palladium on June 8 and 9.

Microsoft had its big Xbox E3 2019 Briefing on Sunday, June 9, at 4 p.m. ET.

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