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Phil Spencer wants Xbox console-exclusive Starfield to be played by even more people than Skyrim

"Can we really make these games... reach more players than they've ever seen before?"

Xbox boss Phil Spencer says his aim is to have more people playing upcoming Bethesda epic Starfield than the company's legendary Skyrim.

And yes, that's despite the fact Starfield will be skipping PlayStation entirely.

Speaking with Axios reporter Stephen Totilo in comments published via Twitter, Spencer said his vision for Starfield was for it to be the "most-played Todd Howard game ever," in reference to Bethesda's game designer and director.

Cover image for YouTube videoStarfield – The Settled Systems

The metric of how many people play Xbox Game Studios titles has been key to Microsoft of late, as the company trumpeted franchise-best milestones of 20m players for Halo Infinite, and 18m for Forza Horizon 5.

"I love the Forza 5 and Halo stats... I love how many people played Psychonauts 2 vs Psychonauts 1," Spencer said. "So, when I look at the teams, when Todd and I talk about Starfield, it's: 'How do we make sure this is the most-played Todd Howard game ever?'

"As a platform, I think we have a lot to do with that. Quality of the title is number one, no doubt about that..." Spencer continued. "But that will be success for me for the individual games: Can we really make these games - can we allow them to reach more players than they've ever seen before? And I say that because I believe in the social impact of interactive entertainment."

On the one hand, Starfield will be - like those above games - available on day one via Xbox Game Pass on console and PC. But on the other, Spencer is saying he wants Starfield's reach on those platforms to exceed the entirety of Skyrim's PlayStation audience.

And, surely, if Spencer is solely concerned about getting games in as many people's hands as possible - why make Starfield an Xbox console exclusive at all?

Asked whether Microsoft's policy here really was as generous as it sounded, Spencer's response was a little unclear:

"Well, that specific question of, 'Hey, there's only one place that I want to play games. And if that game doesn't end up on the one place that I want to play that has its own business requirements for me as a creator... those people can go play those games... They're just going to say, I'm choosing not to, because it's not on the one device that has its specific [trails off]. So I get that."

On the addition of Activision Blizzard to Microsoft, Spencer said that his desire to see more people play games of course included its titles.

"I want more people to be playing WoW in five years that are playing today. I want more people to be playing Call of Duty in five years, more people to be playing Candy Crush in five years, because we've made it more accessible to more people."