Earlier today, the Wall Street Journal published an interview with Xbox Division Head and newly titled Vice President of Games Phil Spencer on the topic of Microsoft publishing Minecraft on other platforms.
However, the interview, or at least the author of the article, seemed to imply something further in regards to Microsoft's first-party future.
“Microsoft in September promoted Xbox chief Phil Spencer to executive vice president, reporting directly to Chief Executive Satya Nadella rather than Windows chief Terry Myerson.
In an interview, Mr. Spencer said his new role is designed, in part, to give him more latitude to reach gamers on any device, rather than using “gaming to make Windows more successful.”
That means, one day, more Microsoft first-party games could appear on other platforms, he said, such as Apple Inc.’s iPhones or perhaps even Sony Corp.’s PlayStation 4, as its building game “Minecraft” does.
Mr. Spencer acknowledged console sales are important, but said Microsoft is more focused on growing game software and services. He said the company measures the success of its gaming business by revealing the number of people who use its online service Xbox Live, for example.”
Initially, this seems to suggest that Microsoft is looking to publish first-party games on other consoles, such as the PS4, as they did with Minecraft. Upon further careful reading, the subject of that statement may seem to be first-party games, but considering what is and isn't a direct quote leaves holes in the assumption. When the article went life, it was not clear whether it was from something Spencer himself said, or a misleading interpretation from the reporter.
Unfortunately for the Wall Street Journal, and according to Spencer's Twitter, it seems the reporter may have misunderstood Spencer's words.
Today we ship Minecraft on other platforms, we all know that, no plans to expand this right now.
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) November 6, 2017
In the end, it seems like Spencer was simply talking about Minecraft and that there are currently no plans to extend that model into other Microsoft IPs. That didn't stop the news from exploding onto every gaming news website out there, so a clarification to the general public seems to be in order: Halo is still Xbox/PC only for the foreseeable future.