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gdc 2015

Phil Spencer Addresses The Master Chief Collection's Rocky Launch And Continuing Woes

by Kimberley Wallace on Mar 04, 2015 at 01:53 PM

Microsoft head Phil Spencer detailed Microsoft's vision for the future at the Game Developers Conference this morning. We were able to sit down with him after and ask a few questions. One thing that was on our mind were the many the rough launches we've seen in the past few months. Spencer didn't beat around the bush and immediately addressed the troubles Halo: Maser Chief Collection has experienced.

"Going into the launch our internal processes and testing methodologies had told us that we had a game that was ready to launch," Spencer says. "Then, when it launched, we learned some things we didn't know going into the launch – which is something we need to get better at. You're always going to learn something when you launch; you can't simulate the real-world environment completely inside of any sterile, fixed environment."

While it's a challenge to anticipate how a game will run when it's launched, Spencer did say Microsoft is taking extra preventative measures, as they've showcased with Halo 5. That's why Microsoft is doing betas much earlier and has a preview program you can sign up for,  where a lot of the new functionality is shared. People that are a part of the program test out stuff in the game months before it goes to the public. This ensures Microsoft can see the problems earlier. "Getting earlier feedback in the Halo 5 beta was incredibly useful, Spencer says. We're doing it months and months before the game is ready to be shipped. It's not a marketing beta by any stretch. We're really taking beta feedback and learning from it."

Spencer does understand the frustration with The Master Chief Collection. A new content update just went live last night, and Spencer says they've received good feedback on it. "The thing I'm proud of is how committed the team is to solving this problem – that commitment to delivering what our customers want is great.," Spencer says.  "Now, anybody can throw a rock at me and say, 'hey, we shouldn't have been in this situation in the first place.' And that's fair enough, but nobody's thrown up their arms and run away from it. The team has doubled down. It's content update thirteen. The team has stayed on this and they have more of a plan for the future - to continue to make it better."