'With Xbox, we have Minecraft, Fortnite, but want to invest in social, casual games'
Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox and gaming chief, Phil Spencer, is on the lookout for acquisitions, and he particularly wants to spend to boost the company’s presence in social and casual games. “When I think about the kinds of genres that are usually associated with Xbox, yes, we have Roblox, we have Minecraft, we have FIFA and Fortnite, but we want to continue to invest in more social, casual content that’s out there,” Spencer said in an interview at the Paley International Council Summit. “We have a lot of ambition.”
Spencer said a robust acquisition environment in gaming is important to companies like Microsoft looking for the right content, but also to support a stream of innovative creators who see the possibility for financial reward in an industry that can be tough to break through. Microsoft has spent more than $10 billion in the past seven years purchasing video-game companies including Minecraft maker Mojang and Bethesda Softworks.
“Part of creating a studio is the idea that at some point I'll be able to financially exit and realize the risks that I took and see the benefit of that,” he said. “It’s a two-sided economy of creators starting new teams, taking risks doing new things, seeing that to completion, and then those studios becoming part of something bigger.”
With Microsoft still unable to meet Xbox console demand because of a shortage of chips, Spencer said the company is looking for ways to geographically diversify where the hardware is made to avoid these kind of issues in the future.
“Diversifying the supply chain is something that we've really been looking at at Microsoft and Xbox and making some decisions with our supply chain partners to ensure that no one global situation can pinch the supply as much as it has for us over the last 18 months,” he said. Microsoft will invest to get “fabrication built in different locations.”
“We need to be in a position where we continue to deliver product to customers. That’s my responsibility,” he said. “I don’t get to use supply chain as an excuse in the long run.”