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Xbox boss Phil Spencer acknowledges "hard decisions" to close studios in first public comment

"It's not about my PR."

Hi-Fi Rush screenshot of a cutscene showing main character Chai with robo-cat 808 sitting on Chai's shoulder.
Image credit: Bethesda

Xbox boss Phil Spencer has commented publicly for the first time on recent Microsoft studio closures, stating he has to "run a sustainable business inside the company and grow".

Last month, Xbox made the shock decision to close a number of Bethesda studios, including Hi-Fi Rush developer Tango Gameworks and Redfall developer Arkane Austin.

Now, in an interview with IGN, Spencer has finally addressed the closures.

Xbox Games - Official Announce Trailer - Xbox Games Showcase 2024Watch on YouTube

"The closure of any team is hard obviously on the individuals there, hard on the team," he said. "I haven't been talking publicly about this, because right now is the time for us to focus on the team and the individuals. It's obviously a decision that's very hard on them, and I want to make sure through severance and other things that we're doing the right thing for the individuals on the team. It's not about my PR, it's not about Xbox PR. It's about those teams.

"In the end, I've said over and over, I have to run a sustainable business inside the company and grow, and that means sometimes I have to make hard decisions that frankly are not decisions I love, but decisions that somebody needs to go make.

"We will continue to go forward. We will continue to invest in what we're trying to go do in Xbox and build the best business we can, which ensures we can continue to do shows like the one we just did."

Spencer's comments echo those of Xbox president Sarah Bond, who was interviewed shortly after the closures were announced.

"It's always extraordinarily hard when you have to make decisions like that," Bond said. "When we looked at those fundamental [industry] trends we feel a deep responsibility to ensure that the games we make, the devices we build, the services that we offer are there through moments. Even when the industry isn't growing, when you're through a time of transition.

"The news we announced earlier in the week is an outcome of that, in our commitment to make sure that the business is healthy for the long term."

The studio closures were met with widespread criticism from across the industry, especially as both Tango and Arkane Austin were reportedly set to work on new games.

At the start of the year, Microsoft laid off 1900 people across its video game teams. This year alone, more than 10,000 people have been laid off across the video game industry, with Microsoft being the biggest contributor.

The interview follows last night's Xbox Games Showcase - here's everything that was shown.

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