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Xbox One launch doesn't need Titanfall, says MS - we'll "sell every piece of hardware we can build"

"Sure, it would have had an impact at launch, but I think it's coming at a perfect time for us," argues Spencer

The Xbox One launch line-up is pretty sturdy, I think we can all agree, with Dead Rising 3, Forza Motorsport 5 and Killer Instinct seemingly poised to claim top honours. But where's the exclusive first-person shooter? And on that note, did Microsoft ever think about pressuring EA and Respawn to ship the much-anticipated Titanfall this November?

Speaking on IGN's Podcast Unlocked, Microsoft Studios boss Phil Spencer has discussed the console's opening salvo at some length, arguing that a March 2014 release for Xbox One's "killer app" makes a huge amount of sense.

"It looks great, there's no doubt," he told listeners. "Respawn's doing an amazing job with that game, they have a great pedigree as a studio that knows how to build shooting games, and to have them working on an Xbox game is incredible. And what the killer app will be - I think you're right, if you look at all the press, Titanfall is it, and I'm sure it's going to be amazing."

Killer apps have a way of showing up out of the blue, Spencer went on. "There's always some surprises at launch, there's always something that comes out and is the Minecraft, the thing that people wouldn't predict. I like the number of titles we have - we've got over 20 titles at launch, and then you start to talk about what's going to happen in early '14. The strength of the portfolio all up is something that I really think will be great for Xbox One customers."

Asking Respawn to polish off ahead of schedule would have been a bad move, the exec insisted. "The nice thing about the way our partners and I try to develop the games, is really trying to get the creative [side] right first. There's the old axiom - a game is only late once, it's bad forever. You want to make sure you've got the right time.

"For us, where the game is landing is actually really nice. Having it come in in March is fantastic, when you think about it. There's a lot of content at launch, there's obviously only a certain number of consoles early on in the life cycle, and then it will continue to sell. Having a great beat in early '14 for core fans is going to be fantastic. So when I look at the timing of when that release is coming, it's almost perfect for us at a platform."


Console launches are an "abnormal" time, he added - the first wave of buyers typically make up their minds well in advance. "When I think about when Titanfall launches - would it have had an impact? Absolutely. A game that's that spectacular would have had an impact. But I am actually really happy with where it's coming because I think when you look at the people who are going to line up, the Xbox fans, the PlayStation fans, that certain [factionalism] out there that you can see play out, and people will just have their allegiance, they'll buy the console that they care about.

"And we look at our preorder numbers, and we look at the anticipation in the market we're hearing from retailers, and I think we're going to sell about every piece of hardware we can build," Spencer continued. "Knock on wood. But then when you start playing it forward and you think well what happens in that second holiday, when do the other franchises come, and you have a lot more hardware in the market, so I think it's a very good time.

"Sure, it would have had an impact at launch, but I think it's coming at a perfect time for us."

Respawn's Abbie Heppe has expressed relief that Titanfall won't arrive in time for Xbox One's launch. "It's tough to be one of the first one's out of the gate as you're affected by any problems there might be on the Microsoft or the server end," she observed in September. "But anything like that will be fixed by the time we're out." Producer Drew McCoy has also insisted that Titanfall "needs to be perfect". The more man-hours the merrier, I guess.

What do you think?