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Former Rare employee says it was the game studio's decision to focus on the Kinect, not Microsoft's

By midian182
Dec 22, 2015
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  1. After Microsoft purchased game studio Rare in 2002 for $375 million, many people blamed the Redmond, Washington-based company for ultimately moving the GoldenEye 007 and Perfect Dark creator’s focus away from games so it could concentrate on developing the Kinect. But in a recent interview with Eurogamer, ex-Rare designer Gavin Price says it was Rare’s decision to focus on the Kinect, not Microsoft’s.

    "Everybody likes to create this narrative that Microsoft are evil, but that's not the case," Price said. "Phil Spencer taking the mantle of Xbox is one of the best things that could have happened for Rare, because he's always said to people at Rare, 'Do what you want to do and we'll back you.'"

    "It was people in Rare's management at the time who said: 'Well, Kinect is a great opportunity for the studio—go all in on it.' So when executives at Microsoft see that the management team are passionate about doing that, they back them. Microsoft to their credit did that, and perhaps the story online isn't quite reflective of the truth."

    Price admits that throwing all of Rare’s resources at Kinect may not have been the best plan, and that setting aside a team to simultaneously work on an old franchise would have been a better option.

    "I think it would have been an easier sell for Rare fans to say, 'Don't worry, the studio's doing this and servicing its old IP as well,'" comments Price. "The fact that Rare became completely aligned with Kinect took away the possibility of giving a lot of gamers something they would have immediately loved."

    The Kinect sold well when it was first launched, but it slowly faded out of the public eye as the number of developers making games for the motion-tracking device decreased. An Amazon search shows that less than ten games have been designed explicity for the Kinect in the two years since the Xbox One’s release. Microsoft’s new console dropped the Kinect in 2014 to bring the Xbox One’s price down.

    While the Kinect never became the gaming “revolution” Microsoft promised, the company will no doubt have learned lessons from the experience. Hopefully, Microsoft’s ‘next big thing,’ the augmented reality Hololens headset, won’t suffer the same fate.

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  2. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,204   +1,876

    Well, perhaps I am missing the point, but through the years I have been invited to a number of focus groups to explore such decisions. When companies take these larger gambles that don't turn out, it's usually because they simply misjudged or ignored all the signals from their customer base and occasionally it's some ***** in the upper ranks that takes it upon him or herself to make all the decisions with little to no input from the minions. In any case, microsoft has blown it quite a few times over the years, then turned around and had a major success that kept them on top. Personally, I would like to see them stick to some of the old favorites like Flight Simulator which did well, even among a small audience. Like many of the big companies, sometimes you keep an issue or product afloat simply because it's so well liked, even if it doesn't bring in tons of cash. That, my dear Mr. Gates is how you build and KEEP customer loyalty ....
  3. ninjagai

    ninjagai TS Rookie Posts: 26   +17

    Basically, Rare is incompetent for being trend *****s, and Microsoft is incompetent for not seeing through it. I think the moment Microsoft shitcans Rare, their luck will improve.
    Lionvibez likes this.

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