Talking to PC Authority, Spencer said most publishers are taking a “wait and see” approach. How well Microsoft does with the initial releases could affect the future of gaming a whole.
“I'd say some of the bigger traditional third party publishers, they want to see how this works out for us,” he said. “There's always a fear that ‘are you giving away two games for the price of one.”
However, Spencer believes this fear is unfounded, “I think there are very few people that actually buy a game twice, once on PC, once on console,” he explains. By making it available on both platforms, the publisher is just letting customers play more often.
It's a strong argument, and one a lot of indie publishers have seen the merit of already. According to Spencer, Microsoft is “seeing areally good update in Play Anywhere with the ID program.”
Games such as Sea of Thieves, State of Decay 2 and Ark: Survival Evolved will all be coming to the service. Widespread adoption will likely depend on how essential gamers consider the functionality.
Effect on Sales
The big question is whether or not the Xbox Play Anywhere program has affected sales. Unfortunately, Spencer was unable to shed much light on the topic.
That's not particularly surprising. To make such a comparison you need to know how a game would sell without Play Anywhere, and it's impossible for Microsoft to get that data.
However, the Xbox head did note that a significant portion use both platforms. Forza Horizon has certainly been met with positive reviews, at 91 on Metacritic and a user score of 8.2.
“I think gamers are seeing this as something,” said Spencer. “Like with every other media…they're able to get to their content on any device.”