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Phil Spencer says Xbox is not dropping physical media

Xbox head Phil Spencer has clarified that Microsoft will continue to support physical media.

Speaking to Game File, Spencer said that Xbox will follow what players need when it comes to how they play their games following concerns that Microsoft was shifting to a digital-focused business model.

“We are supportive of physical media, but we don’t have a need to drive that disproportionate to customer demand,” he said. “We ship games physically and digitally, and we’re really just following what the customers are doing.

“I think our job in running Xbox is to deliver on the things that a majority of customers want. Right now, a majority of customers are buying games digitally.”

Spencer cited hardware costs as a potential issue when it comes to producing consoles with a physical disc drive.

“Gaming consoles themselves have kind of become the last consumer electronic device that has a drive,” Spencer noted. “This is a real issue in terms of the number of manufacturers that are actually building drives and the cost associated with those.

“When you think about the cogs that we’re going to put in a console – and as you have fewer suppliers and fewer buyers – the cost of the drive does have an impact.”

He added: “But I will say our strategy does not hinge on people moving all-digital. And getting rid of physical, that’s not a strategic thing for us.”

Spencer also addressed Microsoft’s mass layoffs in January, and clarified that while people that worked on making and selling physical media were among the 1,900 staffers cut from its games division, the decision was centered around aligning teams following its acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

“We have teams that are in charge of physical retail, inclusive of selling games in physical outlets,” said Spencer. “So that’s what the team action was. It wasn’t about us getting rid of the capability.”

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