The Annual Giant Bomb E3 interview with Phil Spencer, 2018 Edition

Discussion in 'Console Industry' started by mrcorbo, Jun 14, 2018.

  1. mrcorbo

    mrcorbo Foo Fighter
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    https://www.giantbomb.com/videos/nite-two-at-e3-2018-phil-spencer-of-microsoft/2300-13389/

    The usual conversational, candid interview. Some points:

    • Sees an opportunity for next-gen consoles to focus on frame rate more, both in continuing to support variable frame rate tech and supporting >60 fps. Also looking to change the CPU and GPU power balance to be less overwhelmingly in favor of the GPU.
    • Game streaming will (for the near and mid-term future) supplement traditional game sales. Phil believes it is a way to bring high-fidelity and deep gaming experiences to people who can't or won't purchase a dedicated device.
    • Studio expansions were enabled by recent organizational changes. There may be more to come.
    • Cross-play should be a thing.
    • Game Pass is again intended to supplement traditional game sales. Phil understands people want to "build their game collection". Also sees Game Pass as a way to get more Japanese games onto Xbox since it requires a smaller commitment from the publisher than a retail release.
    • Looking to continue to expand Game Pass on console and extend it to PC.
    • Game Pass and Streaming intended to give gamers more choices on how and where they play games.
    • Early numbers show Game Pass subscribers play more games and buy more games.
    Also, Phil Spencer's signoff lost forever due to capture PC forcing a Windows Update. :lol:
     
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  2. rokkerkory

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    Loved the interview and Phil sounds like a great gamer dood at heart and a good role model for MS gaming.

    What I really liked is hearing how CPU and GPU power needs to be more balanced in the future. This goes right along well with AMD roadmap... zen 2 lite please for next xbox?
     
  3. Silent_Buddha

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    Love the increased focus on frame rate. That's definitely the way to go, IMO. Again, I'd much rather have dynamic resolution with constant high frame rate than variable framerate combined with a VRR display. Of course having both would be a good compromise as well with VRR just covering for when the game occasionally dips below 60 FPS.

    Not surprised that Game Pass subscribers play more games (4-5 more games per month), especially if the barrier to playing more games was because the user couldn't afford more games. Kind of surprised that Game Pass subscribers also buy more games.

    And here are my additional observations from the video.
    • Liked Phil talking candidly about how there was a meeting about why Xbox existed within Microsoft.
    • Still focused on bringing games to other platforms. PC directly, while other platforms will be more about streamed games.
      • I still don't think game streaming is a good thing, but then I'm more sensitive to latency than most.
    • Talks a bit about why he mentioned the next console.
      • Everyone knows they're probably working on a console.
      • The hardware team is still there and needs something to work on.
    • Fast Start is about making it automatic instead of relying on developers making their games start faster when you start downloading the game.
    • Sea of Thieves and State of Decay 2 sold a lot more copies than MS forecast, despite it being on Gamepass.
    • Interviewer brought up the Fortnite situation.
      • Phil very reluctant to say anything that might be construed as bad about Sony
      • But disappointed about the situation so uses an analogy. Understands Sony's position and won't judge them, but wishes it was different.
    • Talks a bit about Microsoft's new accessibility controller and how MS is so focused on making games and services available to people with disabilities.
      • I really love this. Bolded because I feel this is so important.
    • Talks a bit about games coming to PS4 and PC but not Xbox and Phil talks about how there's still a lot of work he has to do.
      • The reason he keeps going to Japan to talk to the developers over there.
      • His tactic isn't to try to win Japan, but to convince Japanese developers that there's a large audience on Xbox that wants Japanese titles which will help their brand grow globally.
      • Had more success this year than last year convincing Japanese developers to port their games to XBO.
    • For first party studios, they are looking for studios that make good games, but could possibly do better if they had more funding and didn't have to worry about their company going under if a title doesn't sell well.
      • Compulsion games is a great example.
      • We Happy Few had to launch to early access without the single player campaign.
        • This meant it only had survival mode, and thus people felt the game wasn't good and didn't match the trailer.
        • The game actually has a single player story campaign and the interviewer mentioned it's actually pretty good and matches the initial reveal trailer.
      • That happened because they needed the money from early access to keep from closing the studio.
    • Gears Pop is something that the head of Coalition studios wanted, not Phil. Phil deferred to the head of the studio on that one.
    Summarised a lot because I wish there was an article to read instead of a video to watch and maybe others would rather read about it than watch it. Although you'll get more details if you watch it.

    Regards,
    SB
     
    #3 Silent_Buddha, Jun 14, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2018
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  4. mrcorbo

    mrcorbo Foo Fighter
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    Are you going to Cliff's Notes the whole interview? :lol:
     
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  5. Silent_Buddha

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    Hehe, pretty close. :D

    Regards,
    SB
     
  6. eastmen

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    sounds like they may move crackdown again just because of how crowded that day is for releases. Which could make sense if they push it two or three weeks further out
     
  7. BRiT

    BRiT (╯°□°)╯
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    I hear it's already pushed to February 29th ...
     
  8. eastmen

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    it is , they talked about it on the show. I think however Anthem , Metro , Days Gone and Trials from what I remember and add crackdown to that. Its a busy day
     
  9. DSoup

    DSoup meh
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    The only way to make developers target frame rate is to mandate in the TRCs. Developers can target frame rate now but few do. Even if Microsoft mandate a 60fps framerate they have to enforce it. The initial 360 TRC a mandated a minimum 720p resolution but many games in the first few years had native rendering resolutions below this.

    It'd suck to reject a game because the devs just couldn't hit a target framerate when generations of console purchasing indicates that framerate is not that important to the vast majority. If it was, far fewer consoles would be sold.

    It would be a ballsy move for sure.
     
  10. Silent_Buddha

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    It doesn't have to target 60 Hz. It just needs to have an option for 60 Hz. Almost everyone that really wants 60 Hz is perfectly fine with lower settings in 60 Hz mode. The increased graphics fidelity in motion more than outweigh the muddy mess (slight exaggeration) all games become at 30 Hz.

    Now that most deverlopers have had a chance to play with a generation that has power discrepencies between a platform's consoles in the same generation, they've gotten a lot more experience with offering various graphics settings. In many cases experience with quality and performance settings. IE - like what PC developers have had experience with for decades.

    Some developers adjusted more quickly than other developers. Some developers have taken advantage of the power increase of this generation to shift to a 60 Hz focus (DICE, for example). Others are experimenting with it, and it shows with uneven performance in performance mode on the PS4-P and XBO-X.

    I'm sure many developers understand it's something desirable to a large albeit not majority (at the moment) segment of the console gaming audience. The hope is that when the new generation starts, more of them will continue to offer quality and performance modes in their games and continue growing on the experience they gained with the PS4-P and XBO-X.

    In a "rolling generation" paradigm, that also has benefits with the performance mode perhaps being analogous to the graphics settings used on the 3-4 year older platform.

    Regards,
    SB
     
    #10 Silent_Buddha, Jun 15, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2018
  11. DSoup

    DSoup meh
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    Again, this has been an option since 360/PS3. I would imagine that the mindset of most developers, or the people who finance most developers, is that people really fussed about 60fps are on PC so games should run well(ish) on PC. The 60fps console demographic could well be smaller than the demographic to which PS4 Pro and Xbox One X appeals.

    There is just zero tangible evidence that framerate matters at all on console. 30fps games frequently outsell the few 60fps games.

    Bloody console peasants. :runaway:
     
  12. Silent_Buddha

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    The question is whether those games would sell better if they had a 60 Hz option or were locked 60 Hz in the first place. Alternatively whether people that played those games wished they were playing it at 60 Hz instead of 30 Hz.

    There's so few games that are almost directly comparable that it's hard to say if a game would sell better at 60 Hz versus 30 Hz or not. And there's no way for to even attempt to get numbers for how many people wish the game they are playing was in 60 Hz versus 30 Hz.

    For example, COD has targeted 60 Hz for a long time now, and it's a significant reason that it sells head and shoulders above other shooters (hell above almost all games). Not many titles sell better than COD. I believe part of the reason the Battlefield series is seeing increased popularity on console is due to 60 Hz.

    You don't hear people say that bought a game because it's 60 Hz much, but I do somewhat frequently hear that people didn't buy a game because it was 30 Hz (Bloodborne is really high on that list). Still that's likely a small minority that won't buy it if it is 30 Hz. So, console games may not lose many sales because of 30 Hz, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the people playing those games don't want to play the game at 60 Hz.

    For example, after playing Dark Souls games at 60 Hz, pretty much everyone I know and have seen stream the game have commented about how they wish Bloodborne was 60 Hz instead of 30 Hz and how much better it would have been if it had been 60 Hz. I heard comments like that from people that LOVED TLOU on PS3 or HZD on PS4. They still played it at 30 Hz, but that was due to having no other option despite wanting to play it at 60 Hz.

    It's one of those things that can never be definitively answered until one or the other disappears from debate almost completely (like the past argument about whether people wanted AA in their games).

    Regards,
    SB
     
    #12 Silent_Buddha, Jun 15, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2018
  13. Scott_Arm

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    Xbox one and ps4 had a terribly weak cpu, which made 60Hz very difficult. All Phil Spencer is talking about is designing the hardware for a better balance to more easily support 60Hz. Obviously some devs like their juddery 30Hz, but for devs who want to make the switch but found it too compromising, it may be an easier proposition with Xbox Two. It's pretty much the best option for shooters, racing games, fighting games, action games, platformers ... almost every game that's difficult where the player cares about control and visibility during motion.
     
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  14. mrcorbo

    mrcorbo Foo Fighter
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    Variable refresh should also allow devs to be more ambitious with frame rate since when they slow down they don't tear and/or turn into a juddery mess. There need not be that binary choice between 30 or 60.
     
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  15. Rangers

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    They'd never do that, devs would revolt. and if Rockstar tell you GTA next isn't gonna be 60, take it or leave it, that's no decision at all.

    Phil seems a little out of touch with reality here, are any of the most touted games from E3 60 FPS? (Cyberpunk, Ghosts of Tsushima, TLOU 2, Spiderman,). Those are all 30 FPS games. As well as the most touted game so far of 2018 god of war. So he concludes 60 FPS is needed because reasons?

    Most likely this wont mean anything of consequence as both next gen consoles were going to be zen based anyway, but if the choice is more GPU and son of Jaguar or Zen and less GPU, the better choice is former every time (at least the choice that consumers will buy more will be the former.)
     
  16. Scott_Arm

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    Sure, 60 fps is not needed if you don't count all of the incredibly popular games that are 60 fps.
     
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  17. tuna

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    Doesn't God of War have a high frame rate mode on the PS4? A lot of reviewers seemed to like that better than the original mode....
     
  18. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    Was there an option for improved visuals? Not just higher resolution, as that' s a choice between temporal and spatial resolution, but the difference between 30 fps eye-candy and 60 fps smoothness? Without such a choice, it's not a fair test.

    Perhaps the best place to look is PCs and what settings gamers choose. Do they pair back visuals to get the highest framerates, or will they settle on 30 fps for something prettier? Is that info available?
     
  19. DSoup

    DSoup meh
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    Or they could sell a whole lot worse because the game devs then had to pair back the AI, number of things on screen, complexity of levels, to make it run twice as fast.

    Like I said before, devs can do this now.

    I also think it's not a great idea to mandate things like this. Let devs chose how to use the hardware and make the games they want. the public can then decide if the want to buy those games. Games that wouldn't be the same at less than 60fps, let them run at 60fps.
     
    #19 DSoup, Jun 16, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2018
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  20. mrcorbo

    mrcorbo Foo Fighter
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    TBH, I took the statement to mean allowing for display output capability and sufficient CPU to enable >60 for games that would benefit. Makes sense if E-sports continue to grow. For some multiplayer-focused titles max performance with only visuals sufficient to service gameplay might be appealing.
     
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