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Xbox Head Phil Spencer Says Starfield, Redfall Delayed Because He Has Experience "Shipping Games Too Early"

Starfield and Redfall, two of the biggest games set to come from Xbox Studios, were both delayed earlier this year. At the time, Xbox and Bethesda said that they wanted to ensure fans received "the best, most polished versions of them," and that meant waiting until the first half of 2023.

In an interview with The Verge, Xbox head Phil Spencer explained how Bethesda came to that decision.

"The decision to give the team the time to build the game that they feel they should be building is just the right thing to do," he said, noting that it was less of a decision and more of an ongoing conversation with Bethesda’s developers. Spencer noted that being part of a larger organization such as Microsoft had the benefit of being able to rely on "other revenue streams" to help cover the delay.

Spencer also remembered having "shipped games too early," perhaps referring to the troubled launch and ongoing difficulties faced by Halo Infinite. "We have experienced shipping games too early."

Not wanting to repeat Halo Infinite's mistake for the benefit of an earlier release also comes with the benefit of empowering Xbox's employees, according to Spencer. "One of the things I have learned is that you want teams to feel like they own their dates. They deliver better when they feel like they own their own destiny with their games, so you wait for the real signal from the creative and production teams."

Elsewhere in the same interview, Spencer discussed how Game Pass provides Xbox with a recurring revenue stream that could help offset the costs of delayed triple-A titles. However, even though Microsoft surely loves having people pay them a monthly fee, Spencer said that Xbox doesn’t "have this vision of everybody paying us $15 a month." Game Pass makes sense for some games and some customers, but not all.

For more about how Call of Duty isn't as important as Candy Crush or what happened to Keystone, Xbox's streaming console, be sure to check out our earlier coverage.

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