Speaking to OXM shortly before we first laid eyes on Xbox One, Microsoft Studios corporate vice-president Phil Spencer has applauded Sony's handling of digitally distributed, smaller-scale games, and promised that Microsoft will deliver more in the way of Minecraft-style hits on its next generation hardware.
"I'm pretty proud of the work that we've done digitally over the last three to four years on Xbox 360," he began. "Games like Castle Crashers, Limbo and Terraria right now - that game's pretty fun. I do think it's about quality in the end, managing our bandwidth and what we're going to work on.
"I think Sony's done a nice job of this," he continued, "If you look over the last two years or so in that digital space. Journey was a fantastic game. I thought they did a really nice job and, you know, as a portfolio manager, it's my job to figure out what you're going to focus on - is it really going to matter when it comes out?"
Microsoft's credentials as a purveyor of low-budget, relatively niche downloadable titles on console is more or less unrivalled - Xbox Live Arcade remains, I'd argue, the act to beat when it comes to digitally distributed gaming, despite stiffening competition. That said, the firm has roused the wrath of much of the internet in recent weeks, thanks in large part to its decision to continue with Xbox Live's comparatively restrictive publishing policy.
It's been claimed that the manufacturer is no longer interested in experiences like Braid and Trials Evolution - an accusation that flies in the face of executive rhetoric. Spencer took a moment to reassert Xbox One's commitment to the little guy, citing the success of Minecraft on Xbox 360. "It definitely won't be the case that everything's got to look like Halo," he told us. "We'll have smaller titles."
Microsoft is particularly interested in free-to-play, having launched a number of titles under the model on Xbox Live Arcade. "Having a box that is natively connected means that the digital distribution of content be even more prevalent, which I think is a good thing," Spencer added. "More service-based games on our system, like Happy Wars, is a good thing - and these services can grow over time.
"I think that's really core to how games get created today, and our platform is really going to be well positioned to support those kinds of games and services. We know that Xbox Live is a vibrant online ecosystem of people who want to pay, and pay to play, experiences like FIFA Ultimate Team. Experiences like that are just incredibly impactful."