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Xbox's Phil Spencer talks Microsoft's moves on mobile, plus Activision Blizzard and AI

“What we realised, and it’s painfully obvious, is that we don’t really have any capability on mobile”
Xbox's Phil Spencer talks Microsoft's moves on mobile, plus Activision Blizzard and AI
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Xbox boss Phil Spencer has discussed various aspects of the games industry, including Microsoft’s ongoing attempts to acquire Activision Blizzard, in a new interview with Xbox On.

The acquisition, which would be the most expensive in gaming history should it be completed, has been one of the biggest evolving stories of the past year, coming under scrutiny from both competitors and regulators.

“I think for the Xbox community there’s been a lot of anticipation, a lot of excitement,” said Spencer. “I think for the industry, and I think this is right, there’s questions [like] “What does this mean? What does consolidation mean? How is this going to affect competition?””

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“We’re obviously spending a lot of time with regulators on those same questions, and I think for a deal this size that makes the right sense,” Spencer continued. “Thinking about competition, and are there remedies we should put in place to ensure that competition matters, I’m very supportive of that.”

However, Spencer once again reiterated that the company’s focus is on gaining a larger footprint in the mobile space.

“We want to build a gaming platform where the world’s best creators can build games to reach players anywhere, whether they’re playing on console, playing on PC, playing on their smart TV or their phone.”

“”Every time we were going through our logic, what we realised, and it’s painfully obvious, is that we don’t really have any capability on mobile,” continued Spencer. “Our studios, it’s not what they’ve grown up doing, we don’t have a ton of players there, so it’s really a space that’s very foreign to us, but it’s the largest gaming platform on the planet.”

“For us, the logic really started with “how do we gain more capability on mobile, both creatively as well as having users?””

“The real strategic angle behind this was we need to get relevant on mobile, and it turns out that Activision Blizzard King is the largest mobile publisher outside of China.”

The future of game development?

Spencer also discussed the possible advancement in game development thanks to AI.

“The intersection of AI and gaming has always been there, and now the AI capability on the planet is just getting bigger and bigger. Things like the Bing announcement, the work we’re doing with Open AI, absolutely will play a role in video games. AI always has.”

“What I find is when you give our creators new tools to play with, they then work it… our creators are now spending a lot of time with our AI engineers and thinking about how this can be an additive, positive force in the games that we’re building.”

We listed Activision Blizzard as one of the biggest mobile game makers of 2022.