The developer of ‘Inside’ recounts wild conversation with Xbox’s Phil Spencer

Dive deep into the gaming realm, and it’s not just about button mashing and high scores. Behind those pixelated adventures lies a landscape of intense competition and strategy, especially when you’re talking game exclusives. Enter big players like Xbox’s Phil Spencer and PlayStation’s Jim Ryan, always on the lookout for the next title to give their platform an edge.

The strangest conversation

Now, rewind to 2014. E3’s buzzing, and there’s this palpable excitement around a promising title: “Inside,” seen as the spiritual successor to the iconic “Limbo.” While gamers eagerly awaited its release, Phil Spencer had his eyes on a different prize.

As Playdead’s co-founder, Dino Patti, was setting the stage for a deal with PlayStation, Spencer decided to throw his hat in the ring. And how did we get wind of this backstage drama? Patti spilled the beans on Arkaden, a Danish podcast. In an unexpected twist, Patti found himself answering a call from Spencer, and the exchange was nothing short of dramatic.

Patti recalls, “‘Listen, we need to make a deal with you, what do you want?'” Caught off-guard, he responded, “‘Well, we’ve actually made an okay deal…'” But Spencer, ever the strategist, countered with, “‘No, no, no, no, you don’t understand what I’m saying. I can make anything happen, what do you want?'”

Industry competition is crazier than you think

Thankfully for those of us not fluent in Danish, Gamereactor provided an English translation of this conversation, allowing us to peer into the behind-the-scenes machinations of the gaming industry today. I know a lot of you reading this are game devs yourselves, so it’s interesting to see what kind of bargaining and discussion takes place between those who make something awesome in their spare time and the big wigs up top.

At its core, this isn’t just about securing a game for Xbox; it’s a testament to the lengths industry leaders go to ensure their platform remains a step ahead. The ongoing dance between platform giants like Spencer and Ryan is intense, and for emerging developers, this story offers a taste of the real-world challenges and opportunities that exist beyond the coding screen. It’s a reminder that in the gaming world, there’s always more to the story than meets the eye.

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