- Thomas Mahler, Head of Moon Studios (the or Series), commenting on Microsoft’s approach to exclusivity, and specifically the discrepancy between the company’s statements and actions;
- Mahler believes the company is not fully realizing its vision, in part due to Sony and Nintendo reluctance to forego titles that are only available on their consoles.
The developers of the Ori series have earned a lot of applause for both games with the title character. But also chief developer Thomas Mahler has made a name for himself with controversial statements to development colleagues and, more recently, Microsoft. The boss of Moon Studios pointed out the company’s inconsistency in pursuing the policy of games without borders.
Mahler’s message (published on ResetEra forums) was in response to a recent interview with Phil Spencer. In an interview with Axios, the Xbox boss was asked about Bungie’s departure from Microsoft almost 15 years ago. Spencer expressed the belief that this was due to the ambitions of the makers of Halo, who may think that the Redmond giant has benefited more from the success of the series than they do. In addition, according to the Xbox brand boss, today’s Microsoft would manage to keep Bungie.
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Mahler, however, does not share Spencer’s optimism. In his opinion, Microsoft was between hammer and anvil when it comes to game exclusivity. The company claims to move away from its exclusive policy of promoting its Xbox Game Pass service and demanding industry-wide support for emulating old titles across all platforms. But even now, Microsoft is reluctant to publish titles from its catalog on PlayStation consoles. The desire to reach a wider audience across all devices was possibly why Bungie split from Xbox, according to Mahler.
Interestingly, this entry is not just a criticism of Microsoft. Mahler believes the company would likely have followed its vision to the fullest … if only its competitors (e.g. Sony and Nintendo) had also taken some steps in that direction. In fact, Ori and the Will of the Wisps is now available on Switch (although, as Mahler pointed out, “not free”), as is Minecraft (also available on PlayStation, but that was before Microsoft bought Mojang).
Even considering that the first of these games is essentially a little fish rather than Microsoft’s flagship brand, it’s still more than Nintendo has done in years to “open up” the gaming market. Until recently, Sony wasn’t very keen on releasing its big games on other platforms either, although the company has made its first steps into the PC market in the past few months.
In this context, it is difficult to understand why Microsoft is not completely giving up skipping the consoles of its competitors, despite its stated departure from the exclusive policy. Nevertheless, Mahler would like the Redmond-based company to fully implement this vision. He himself has given up working with Microsoft for the time being – the next game from Moon Studios will be published not just on Xbox, thanks to a partnership with Private Division.