Microsoft‘s head of gaming Phil Spencer has said that he believes that the modern Microsoft ecosystem may have allowed the company to retain Bungie, the team behind Halo and Destiny.
Bungie was acquired by Microsoft in 2000, ahead of its first mega-hit Halo: Combat Evolved.
Seven years later, Bungie was allowed to split from Microsoft and once again become a privately held independent company, Bungie LLC, while Microsoft retained ownership of the Halo franchise.
Speaking to Axios in a new interview, Spencer conceded that he understands why the developer left Microsoft, saying:
Halo Infinite – launch trailer
“At the time they had big ambitions. They had sold their business for a certain amount of money. They saw what Halo turned into. And it’s like, ‘OK, Microsoft benefited more than Bungie did from the success of Halo.’ There’s no other story that can be written there.”
He continued, referencing Bungie’s next big hit, the sci-fi shooter, Destiny: “If you’re saying, ‘Hey, I think I’ve got another one of those in me. I want to really take another chance,’ I can understand the allure of doing that as an independent company.”
When asked if he thought the split from Microsoft was inevitable, or if the tech giant could have held on to them, he responded: “Could we do it today? I think we could.”
During a recent GQ profile, the Xbox boss revealed that Microsoft is pushing him to line up his successor.
“Clearly, as somebody who has been here for 33 years, I have more years behind me than ahead of me,” he told GQ. “But the longevity of this team, the sustainability of this team, there’s nothing that’s more important to me right now than that.”
Commenting specifically on succession, Spencer added: “You should do it when you think about the long-term health of the team. To make sure the team is in a good place. That the culture of the company is in a good place. And that we’re making the right decisions on who to bet on. That has got to outlive me.”