During an interview published by The Guardian, Head of Xbox division Phil Spencer talked about a variety of topics ranging from episodic games to downloadable content. However, the most interesting tidbit may well be the statement confirming how Microsoft is bolstering investment in the content produced internally by Microsoft Game Studios.
Right now the focus is really on the content that we’re building. I know I get some community pushback on our first-party [slate], and what position we’re in, and I want to say to people: that same level of commitment you felt from myself and from the team as we’ve evolved platform over the last three years – as we’ve evolved service over the last three years, as we’ve evolved and innovated hardware over the last three years – is going on with our first party. I don’t want to go and pre-announce a bunch of things, but we are upping our investment, there’s no doubt about that.
That's reassuring to hear since, for the time being, Microsoft's roster of announced upcoming first party games is downright depressing when compared to Sony's or even Nintendo's.
We know that Crackdown 3 and State of Decay 2 are scheduled to release this year. Sea of Thieves could launch in 2017, too, but it's also possible Rare will take more time crafting their pirate game set in the Golden Age of Sail. Forza Motorsport 7 should hit digital and physical stores in September if previous installments are any indication, but it will face serious competition this year in the racing genre against the likes of Dirt 4, GT Sport and Project CARS 2.
Other than that, we don't have a clue of what's coming. Let's hope Phil Spencer and his team can surprise us all at E3 2017 when it comes to Microsoft's future output of first party games. It will be interesting to see if they choose to revive some old IPs or create new ones instead.