As the year draws to a close, the balance sheet is clearly not the most positive as far as Xbox is concerned. The absence of a big release this year in addition to minimal communication will have left the brand’s players unsatisfied, and rightly so. Several reasons can be evoked to explain this situation and Jez Corden has just brought a new one to our attention.
Xbox’s annual report questions
The total silence of Xbox studios during the last Game Awards ceremony will have, as a symbol, definitively placed 2022 in the category of years to forget for the players of the Redmond firm. If rumors and recent statements suggest that the manufacturer could speak soonwe must admit that we would like to hear about the latter other than through the endless soap opera of the takeover of Activision-Blizzard.
This is also often pointed out to explain the recent silence of Microsoft, which would prefer to avoid drawing too much attention to the cards it still has in hand. However, many are trying to find explanations for the current situation of the company. This is what Jez Corden recently did in an article published by Windows Central and in which he throws a new stone into the pond: the internal policy of Microsoft would be at the origin of certain difficulties of development.
A somewhat too rigid internal policy?
It’s hard to know for sure where the difficulty lies for Microsoft and its first-party game production. Some have blamed Microsoft’s internal rules around agency work for causing unnecessary turnover that sees projects lose key personnel more often than usual. I’ve been told that internal policy regarding engine usage has also led to development issues in games like Fable and Halo Infinite.
Thus, the rules imposed by Microsoft on its development studios would rather tend to put a spoke in their wheels. First of all, it is the hiring policy which would make the teams grow only temporarily. Jez Corden speaks of “contract work”, namely hiring linked to a specific objective and conditioned by remuneration and a duration fixed in advance. From then on, it becomes obvious that if a project is delayed, the risk of losing key personnel is all the greater.
The second point raised in the article is Microsoft’s obligation to use internal engines, which can waste a lot of time if they are not suitable for current productions. Where the use of engines like the Unreal Engine, which are often mastered by developers through their recurring use in industry, would not only make it possible to benefit from all the latest technical advances in this area, but also to facilitate the work of external recruits that Microsoft seems to use on a recurring basis.
In fact, rumors surrounding the development of Fablewhich has already lost members of its team in important positions, gives some credit to the problems raised by the Windows Central journalist, as well as the difficulties encountered by 343 Industries before and after the launch of Halo Infinite.
Finally, we can note that the massive and nevertheless recent growth of Xbox Game Studios may have led to difficulties in setting up a new mode of operation to which Xbox was not accustomed. And if it will therefore be necessary to wait a little longer to see the promises materialize, everyone is waiting to discover what these studios are capable of. See you in 2023?