Microsoft Studios corporate vice-president Phil Spencer might bleed Xbox green, but he has a few warm words nonetheless for the competition. Speaking to OXM as part of a feature you'll find in our latest issue, Spencer described Nintendo's IP catalogue as "amazing", and praised Sony's commitment to franchises that aren't guaranteed best-sellers.
"Nintendo, I think - and there's some argument about this - that their first-party is such an amazing asset," he began, when our colleagues in the US asked what he had learned from rivals. "Their first party studios and IP can lead what they do as a company and the platforms are almost in service to the IP - not in a bad way.
"They have such iconic stories and this will seem somewhat random, but when we go back and do something like Killer Instinct, a little bit of the history of your franchise can actually be important part of people feeling connected. Obviously the history of Killer Instinct isn't a history on Xbox, but it's Rare's history and I think the reaction when we announced it on-stage at E3 showed that playing to the people's heart, I think Nintendo does that as well as anybody in terms of hitting the franchises and having huge success with them."
As for PlayStation, Spencer is cheered by Sony's willingness to back developers like Quantic Dream, creator of the intriguing but rather oblique Heavy Rain. "Sony - and I'm focused on first-party because of what I do - I really respect their focus on investing in new things and creative things, what they've done with David Cage and Quantic Dream around Beyond [Two Souls] and Heavy Rain; they stay committed to franchises even if they don't sell 10 million units, they'll stay committed to things.
"I think that long-term commitment to franchises is important, where it's easy to pull off the Band-Aid and move onto the next thing [if it doesn't sell]. I respect their 'stick-to-it-iveness'. I'll say, they've done a nice job with PS4 [...] When I think about their announcement, their clear focus on a customer, leading with the value proposition of what they're trying to do, staying true to a vision, I think they've done a nice job in how they defined the PS4."
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