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Opinion Game Dev Platform Xbox Series X: Phil Spencer Says You Haven't Understood The True Power Of Next-Gen Yet

IbizaPocholo

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Xbox boss Phil Spencer has acknowledged that it's been challenging to demonstrate the true leap that the Xbox Series X will provide over the Xbox One. In Reggie's new podcast, Spencer said one of the most defining characteristics of next-gen games is how they "feel" with faster and more stable frame rates.

It's not possible to demonstrate this with videos, Spencer said. And with physical events canceled or postponed due to COVID-19, Microsoft is facing a new dilemma in trying to communicate the appeal of faster frame rates. This is a new challenge, Spencer said, because for previous console transitions throughout history, the power of new systems was immediately apparent with better graphics.

"One of the things I've talked about publicly ... but it's hard to come across, is the way it feels to play games on a box where frame rates are higher, frame rates are more stable," Spencer said. "The fluidity of it, showing that in video form, is just impossible. How do you show how something feels?"

He added: "We're getting to the point where the immersion feel that you get through fluidity and other things is now up to par with the visual capabilities that we have. How do you share that with people in this kind of world?"

Spencer said he is optimistic about being able to put the Xbox Series X in front of consumers at some point in the future before launch to help them understand the appeal of the new system. But it's unlikely to happen soon due to government restrictions around social-distancing.

"The feel relative to previous console generations will be something people remark positively about," Spencer said.

The Xbox Series X is technically capable of delivering frame rates of up to 120 FPS, but developers will ultimately get to decide what works best in terms of the balance between visuals and frame rate.

Also in the interview, Spencer reiterated that he expects the Xbox Series X launch to go forward as planned this holiday. He said his teams are doing an "amazing job" during a challenging environment.

"We had another hardware review. We did that this week. Our supply chain, we feel good about the hardware side. It feels like we'll be able to get enough units. We're pretty committed to a worldwide launch which regretfully we didn't do with Xbox One," Spencer said.

The software for the Xbox Series X is also "making good progress," Spencer said. He added that game development is also moving along, but with some interruption.

"Games are making good progress. The collaborative nature of game development and the scale of game development today," Spencer said. "Any of the functions that require physical collaboration--things like motion capture, things like symphonic capture--those kinds of things, some of that is put on hold. On the games side, things that are pre content-complete might be impacted more than things that are post content-complete."

The COVID-19 crisis has led to changes in Microsoft's policies. For example, Spencer pointed out that third-party developers are now allowed to take their Xbox Series X development kits home--this would not have been allowed under previous circumstances.

Finally, Spencer also spoke about the rebuilding process within the Xbox team. The Xbox One launch in 2013 was marred by controversial policies and a $100 higher price point than the rival PS4. This contributed to Microsoft coming up short against Sony in the previous console generation. Spencer took over as Head of Xbox in 2015, and things seem to be on a better path for the Series X launch this year.

"The team had lost trust in the leadership ... the leadership capability and the commitment of the company to this category and our decision-making," Spencer recalled. "Rebuilding that inside the company was important and it takes time."
 
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Also in the interview, Spencer reiterated that he expects the Xbox Series X launch to go forward as planned this holiday. He said his teams are doing an "amazing job" during a challenging environment.

"We had another hardware review. We did that this week. Our supply chain, we feel good about the hardware side. It feels like we'll be able to get enough units. We're pretty committed to a worldwide launch which regretfully we didn't do with Xbox One," Spencer said.

In the beginning, I fully expected both consoles to be delayed, but I guess they really are gonna pull off these holiday launches. Nice.

60 FPS will be great for the titles that prioritize it, for sure.
 

Thirty7ven

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It's not possible to demonstrate this with videos, Spencer said.

 

Aggelos

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As Wolf Hawkfield would say " Feel the real powah!"


The important thing is to feel and grasp the real powah of the next-gen...
Otherwise, you've lost it completely.
 
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You didn't read the article, did you?
Man, can you blame him? We've been eagerly waiting a long time... we expected significant news in the Xbox event and didn't get much from it except for cinematic trailers for mostly smaller titles. I certainly don't want a repeat of the hiccups of this gen, where you play the waiting game (exclusives-wise).
 

Arkam

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"One of the things I've talked about publicly ... but it's hard to come across, is the way it feels to play games on a box where frame rates are higher, frame rates are more stable," Spencer said. "The fluidity of it, showing that in video form, is just impossible. How do you show how something feels?"

I figured a MS guy would have heard about Windows PCs.... hmm you learn something new everyday. But seriously shit or get off the pot. Say in absolute terms ALL (first party games) will be 60FPS or shut up. And please, please stop with the "Up to 120fps and 8K"..... can and will are not even close to the same thing. (Same goes for Sony!)
 

onQ123

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This is true we have so many new options for how a game can be made & as time go by & devs try new tricks like the using ML , Raytracing , precomputeing , volume rendering , image based rendering , photogrammetry & even remote processing things are going to look a lot different from what we are seeing now.
 
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AV

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I read the article.

I know how good 144+ FPS feels, Phil. I think I understand. And considering most consumers won't be hooking these boxes into anything that can output more than 60hz, I don't think you should be hyping people up for something they probably aren't going to experience.
 

martino

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he's not that good at explaining things.
he just had to say the difference in control not is something you can feel even with a 60 fps video.

i don't believe him and sony not more on that
fool me once, shame on them....fool me twice *****
 
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Dory16

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Well it's not like we've never played in 60 fps before, Phil. Turn 10 always gives us 60 fps, we've just had Gears 5 at dynamic 4k60. Surely there's more than that. Or are we expecting too much?
To be fair he's touted ray tracing, DIL, VRS in other interviews. But we really need that game, that demo that sells us on next gen. It's gonna have to be something we look at and is convincing, even if we also listen to someone commenting like for the UE5 demo.
 

Romulus

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This gen is nearing ps3 levels of hype, luckily, it could never fail as hard even if they tried.
 

onQ123

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As far as the feel of playing next gen games Xbox will have a up hill battle vs PS5 because their controller changers are subtle while DS will be easy to market even if it doesn't really live up to the hype.


Trying to sell the fact that your controller now work the way it was supposed to work will be a hard sell to the masses but the hardcore gamers will notice right away & it will be had to go back because they will notice that the older controls are a little sluggish when they go back.
 

JOEVIAL

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Yeah, Phil says things sometimes but that's okay :messenger_tears_of_joy:

Ya'll have to realize that this is a casual conversation. I totally understand what he is getting at, but he maybe didn't describe it perfectly with his on the spot response. But I totally agree that there will be things about next-gen that are impossible to show over a screen. Latency and input being the biggest definable things IMO.
 

Ascend

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You don't have to market every single feature of your console. Just market what people find attractive, and they'll figure out the rest when they have the console. And then they tell all their friends. This is what the UE5 demo did for the PS5. And people don't even know what the console looks like yet, but everyone is talking about it. Trying to convince people that this new thing you have will be a big deal barely works.

In before "he's saying this because the XSX can't reach graphics detail of *insert competitor here*"
 

DaGwaphics

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Pretty sure he means its near impossible to show 120 fps through videos for a few reasons.

Or even 60 fps. Just seeing a video isn't the same thing as playing on a high-end rig at high frame rates. Most gamers do comment that it's hard to go back to low fps after playing at higher fps.

Cheap ass bastard here, so I wouldn't know from personal experience. :messenger_tears_of_joy:
 

FeldMonster

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Scratching my head on this one...

Run one video with a game running/locked at 30 FPS side by side to another at 60FPS. Most people have screens that support up to 60hz.
Not everyone can see the difference. I know that I cannot.
 

Ascend

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Or even 60 fps. Just seeing a video isn't the same thing as playing on a high-end rig at high frame rates. Most gamers do comment that it's hard to go back to low fps after playing at higher fps.

Cheap ass bastard here, so I wouldn't know from personal experience. :messenger_tears_of_joy:
For certain single player games it doesn't matter that much. It feels better at higher framerates for sure, but if you play for pure fun, 30 fps is still an ok experience. Assassin's Creed is such an example. If you take something that requires strict timing however, the difference is night and day. There's a reason racing sims and fighting games ran at 60 fps even in previous gens. I wonder if they will target 120 fps now.

Not everyone can see the difference. I know that I cannot.
Really? Even for YouTube videos I notice immediately if it's 60fps or not.
 
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Jon Neu

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Why does reading comprehension seem to falter whenever an article with the Microsoft fella is posted?
Never seems to happen, or happens far less, when it's one of those chaps from the other team?
Just an observation during my time reading the daily banter in this little corner of the internet.

It really makes you think, doesn’t it?

I have the answer, but I can’t give it here. I’m already banned of so many threads.
 

azertydu91

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Maybe showing gameplay would help us have a better feel of next gen.CGIs looks great I know but trailers with what they hope it will look like are not really exciting.
Look at Diablo cutscenes they look amazing but aren't reflective of the gameplay at all hence we don't feel how it plays.
But when I watch some vanquish gameplay I have a pretty good idea how it feels.
 

DunDunDunpachi

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No, Phil is patronizing customers, insisting that they don't really understand unless Microsoft gets to announce things in the perfectly-packaged way they want to announce it. The best way for us to understand the power of next gen would be for us to see a real person holding the controller and playing a real launch-window game. These boxes are out in less than 6 months. It's a joke that we haven't seen a lineup for either. Though our impressions may be imperfect, there's a point where the company needs to show it off and let the audience decide.

I don't want to be told that I'll be blown away.
 
Nov 5, 2016
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Maybe showing gameplay would help us have a better feel of next gen.CGIs looks great I know but trailers with what they hope it will look like are not really exciting.
Look at Diablo cutscenes they look amazing but aren't reflective of the gameplay at all hence we don't feel how it plays.
But when I watch some vanquish gameplay I have a pretty good idea how it feels.

They have set their big games showcase for July. Hopefully it delivers. Until then I think it is okay for Phil to appear on a podcast if he wants to.
 

martino

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"Games are making good progress. The collaborative nature of game development and the scale of game development today," Spencer said. "Any of the functions that require physical collaboration--things like motion capture, things like symphonic capture--those kinds of things, some of that is put on hold. On the games side, things that are pre content-complete might be impacted more than things that are post content-complete."

this is actually something you can quickly forget
 

JOEVIAL

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You don't have to market every single feature of your console. Just market what people find attractive, and they'll figure out the rest when they have the console. And then they tell all their friends. This is what the UE5 demo did for the PS5. And people don't even know what the console looks like yet, but everyone is talking about it. Trying to convince people that this new thing you have will be a big deal barely works.

In before "he's saying this because the XSX can't reach graphics detail of *insert competitor here*"

Yeah, it's super hard to market something that "you can't see or feel until you try." But man... Sony had some great success with PSVR. Microsoft have really gotta step up their marketing game if they want to go toe to toe with Sony.

But yeah... it's much easier to market what you can actually see (i.e, UE5 visuals on PS5). With that said, XBOX has already shown the quick-resume feature of the Series X which looks stellar, but they haven't marketed it that much. IMO they need to be pushing that because it looks amazing and it has already been shown in real time to work perfectly. We haven't seen anything real or definable from Sony yet (not that I doubt them, their SSD speeds will more than likely be heavenly).

 

Ascend

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Yeah, it's super hard to market something that "you can't see or feel until you try." But man... Sony had some great success with PSVR. Microsoft have really gotta step up their marketing game if they want to go toe to toe with Sony.

But yeah... it's much easier to market what you can actually see (i.e, UE5 visuals on PS5). With that said, XBOX has already shown the quick-resume feature of the Series X which looks stellar, but they haven't marketed it that much. IMO they need to be pushing that because it looks amazing and it has already been shown in real time to work perfectly. We haven't seen anything real or definable from Sony yet (not that I doubt them, their SSD speeds will more than likely be heavenly).

I agree. Sony is definitely better at marketing the PlayStation than MS is at marketing Xbox. But MS is learning though. It's been better than previous generations, although they did drop the ball with Inside Xbox. Nobody even remembers that anymore, especially after the UE5 demo. So... Yeah...

But I think this is just the calm before the storm. It looks like they are taking things slow now. Might or might not be due to the Inside Xbox reception. Most likely their plans have changed due to the human malware, and right now they are changing their strategy to basically only have little drops of information here and there, and then have constant marketing until the launch of the console. It makes sense too. Why create momentum early and let it die down before launch? Additionally, you give your opponent more chance to fight back, the earlier you reveal things.