Following Starfield and Redfall delays which considerably weakened Xbox’s 2022 lineup, Microsoft gaming boss Phil Spencer assured fans that Xbox studios “will continue to work to better meet expectations.”
“These decisions are hard on teams making the games and our fans,” Spencer said in a tweet sharing Bethesda’s delay announcement. “While I fully support giving teams time to release these great games when they are ready, we hear the feedback. Delivering quality and consistency is expected; we will continue to work to better meet those expectations.”
Regarding “quality and consistency,” Spencer appears to be skirting discussions around Xbox’s first-party lineup. Despite a massive and ongoing spending spree which has seen the company gobble up Bethesda and now Activision for tens of billions, Xbox is still light on big games and exclusives.
Starfield was the tentpole Xbox title for 2022, and Redfall was also positioned as a major get with Arkane’s pedigree behind it. Losing both to 2023 has sapped quite a bit of wind from Xbox’s sails and, by extension, lowered the impact of its upcoming joint showcase with Bethesda. This has put the Xbox Series X in almost the exact situation it faced at launch following the big Halo Infinite delay.
There’s also something to be said for the ever-widening gulf between promised release dates and realistic ones, especially in the uncertain circumstances that the games industry is still grappling with. Xbox is far from the only company facing this challenge, but as “the feedback” Spencer mentions would indicate, it is acutely aware of it right now.
This news has come at a bad time for Xbox, as the company faced heavy criticism of its DRM policy after a recent outage left many players unable to launch any games for days.