[MUSIC PLAYING] LARRY: Hi, it's Larry, here with Xbox's Major Nelson. Welcome to the Xbox Podcast. This is the only official podcast you can get directly from Xbox at Microsoft. Some of the studios have something, but this is the one. We've been on the air for, oh, whoa, almost 20 years. And I've had plenty of folks come through here as guests, as co-hosts, as friends, as whatever you want to call them.
But I'm excited, because this week got a couple of-- well, one new face over on the left, and a returning face over on the right. Malik, good to see you.
MALIK: Good to see you too, Larry. And Joe, we were just talking off camera. We're on the same team, but we haven't really interacted too much. So just really excited to chat with Joe and hear about all things Xbox Wire.
I got to say to the audience at home, I am drinking a coffee that I asked for two extra shots in, so a total of five in my iced mocha. So my heart is beating. And so I'm going to try and keep myself composed, but good to be with you all today.
LARRY: I don't really need to do an intro then, because you kind of introed Joe. Anyway, Joe over on the left hand side there of your screen. Joe, nice to see you. You can say hello.
JOE: Hello. Yeah, I was trying to keep up, keep up the podcast manners there. I kind of forget this isn't just audio only.
JOE: So you can see me just awkwardly looking.
LARRY: Looking. But anyway, Joe is new to the show. But he's not new to the team. He's been with Xbox three or four months? Four or five months now, right, Joe?
JOE: Started end of November.
LARRY: End of November, yeah.
LARRY: So Joe, just so you don't know, or if you don't know, Joe is the editor in chief, the head of Xbox Wire.
JOE: Let's say editor in chief. I like it. It makes me sound like I'm in an old movie.
MALIK: Sounds official. That sounds awesome.
LARRY: Which is news.xbox.com. So you've probably seen his name on the byline cropping up recently on some of the stories. But Joe, before we get going-- and we've talked to Malik and his journey over in the games industry, but I want to see if you could tell us a little bit about yours, because they may recognize your name from some other areas. So give us a little bit of your CV, as you all like to call it.
JOE: Yeah, my CV is 10 years of video games journalism up until this point. So I started out, actually did-- my first ever games job was work experience at Official Xbox Magazine in the UK.
JOE: OXM, that's how I got my start. Moved on to Official Nintendo Magazine. From there went to Gamesradar, and then spent the bulk of my--
LARRY: Did you call it ONM, by the way?
JOE: We did call it ONM, which was confusing because the version before that was NOM. And no one could remember which way around to say it.
Yep, then Gamesradar, and then eventually to IGN. I spent six years at IGN. And then made the jump to Xbox last year. I'm very excited to be here.
LARRY: Well, first of all, we're thrilled to have you. And as Malik kind of teased at the beginning there in his espresso fueled rage--
That wasn't really rage. But you know, you guys are-- we're all on the same team, working on our storytelling communications team. But you guys have never really met until you've been here, essentially side by side here on the--
JOE: Yeah, it's a first one to one in front of tens of thousands of listeners. That's kind of interesting.
MALIK: Awkward. Oh, and I got to say, it's awesome. Like OXM was my first magazine, obviously the US version. But it was like, especially as the Xbox is launching such an introduction to the Xbox as a platform. And I know, for so many people who have grown up have such a connection with that magazine, whether it be the US or the UK version. And so it's just really cool to kind of hear about someone who's worked on something that's like, in many ways, iconic as a brand in OXM. So that's awesome. I didn't even know that.
LARRY: There you go.
JOE: Yeah, it feels like I'm coming full circle. Like after sending a random Twitter DM to an unsuspecting editor years ago, being like, I'd really like to try this. And now actually helping to run an Xbox outlet myself. Yeah, it's been quite a journey. It's cool.
LARRY: And not that it matters, because we live in this global village that is planet Earth, but Joe, you're actually not here in the United States. Like I detect a slight accent. I believe you're from somewhere else, correct?
JOE: Yeah, I'm based just outside of London. Yeah, so I'm British. I say I'm British. I'm from all over the place. I was born in Canada. I've got Australian heritage. You know, I'm just a mixed up kind of guy.
LARRY: We all are.
We all are.
JOE: That's right.
MALIK: I will say-- I want to say that-- I wasn't going to bring the accent up. But anyone who knows me knows that I am a big accent person. I do them terribly. But I'm kind of like disappointed, or let down by my lack of a Brooklyn accent. I was born in Brooklyn.
And so I live through people's accents. And I wish I could recreate a British accent, but it's really bad. I think when we went to XO19, I tried. And people were like, please stop. You're moving everybody with your terrible recreation of a British accent.
LARRY: Well, actually, Malik, you don't know this. But it was an international incident. There was ambassadors. There were late night meetings. But you're OK. You're OK. Just don't do it again.
MALIK: OK. OK.
JOE: Yeah, Malik got rushed out of the country under a coat.
LARRY: Anyway, but anyway we're just-- I'm so excited, Malik, you've been on the show before. You know, it's great to have you back again. I know you've been busy.
Joe, again, your first time on the show, Xbox Wire. We're going to talk a lot about some of the work you've done, including we've got some news. First of all, I want to talk about GDC, Game Developers Conference. This show, which we are recording on a Wednesday, is going to drop on a Wednesday, because we wanted to get this news out there as quick as possible.
You're going to be sharing some information later on, Joe, in the show here about Redfall. You had a chance to get some hands on with single player Redfall, correct?
JOE: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I played a 90 minute demo twice, because I finished it once and was like, please, can I come back? And they somehow said yes.
LARRY: So we'll talk about that later on and then your coverage of that. Malik, we usually start with what we're playing. And I'm a little concerned, because, Malik, I've been checking you. I've been watching you on Xbox Live, and checking out your status because we're friends. What have you been playing?
MALIK: Well, I'll break down the fourth wall a little bit. Like as we were getting ready for the show yesterday I was like, Larry, I haven't really been playing many video games, because I just got back from a vacation to Miami. Which it was my first time in Miami, and it was absolutely beautiful. I want to move there so bad.
But it's a lot. So I don't know if it's going to be a great place to live. But maybe I just visit it every once in a while. But it was beautiful, definitely better weather than here in Seattle, which goes without saying. But I had a great time.
So I'm getting back and kind of getting back into my groove of things. And so just taking baby steps back into APEX Legends. So stop me if you've heard that before, and know that's the game that I play.
I will say, though, that last night in preparation for this-- and I didn't actually follow through with it-- I did redownload a game that I have a gamer confession about, which is that-- and I want to see if y'all can guess what game it is. But it is from the Xbox One generation. And it is seen as one of the best single player first person shooter campaigns of all time that I have not finished, and I feel bad admitting that I haven't finished it. Any guesses of what that is?
JOE: I'm going to guess Titanfall 2.
LARRY: That's what I was going to say.
MALIK: Yes, you got it, Joe.
MALIK: So I re-downloaded Titanfall 2 last night.
LARRY: By the way, the key word here for those of you listening or watching is, downloaded. In other words--
LARRY: --he couldn't even be bothered to press A, OK? After--
MALIK: Yeah, if it makes you all feel any better, I decided to, you know, go to the gym and get on the treadmill instead of playing the game. So maybe that's a good--
LARRY: I love that. Because I assume when you were on the treadmill, Malik, you had your Kindle, and you were reading a book?
MALIK: One, I know some people do read books on like treadmills and bikes. How do you-- I would love to know if anyone-- put a comment below. How do you do that?
Because I feel like the walking nature, and it's just like wobbling-- not that I would ever read a book, but I am very curious in hearing--
LARRY: Well, there is one way to do it. You know that, right?
MALIK: What's that? Oh, audiobooks.
LARRY: It's called Audible. Yeah, exactly.
MALIK: Maybe that's how I read my first book, if that counts.
LARRY: OK, anyway, so long story short is you've downloaded Titanfall 2. But you have played it before, right?
MALIK: Yeah, I'm about like, I would say 85% of the way through. But I just have not gotten through to finishing it. Because I went to multiplayer when it came out.
And so next time I'm on the podcast I will have completed Titanfall 2.
LARRY: OK, we're recording tomorrow.
MALIK: OK, that's my homework for tonight.
JOE: As long as you've played that mission where the village gets built around you and you're like jumping from house to house. That's just one of the best missions.
LARRY: Did you just spoil? Did you just spoil, Joe?
JOE: Oh, it's such a vague description. Come on. And also, frankly, how long after this game came out are we talking about it?
MALIK: That's fair.
LARRY: We've had that conversation is what is the timeline which indicates you're OK to talk about things that aren't spoilers. You know, when is-- I don't know, but oh, I'll let the internet--
MALIK: Five years maybe.
JOE: I think as soon as you're saying, I have a confession to make. I haven't played this. That time has elapsed.
MALIK: That's true. That's when it crosses over.
LARRY: Joe's keeping us honest. I like it. So the long story short is, Malik, is you haven't really had a chance to play it, because you were too busy scrolling places to move to in Miami. Is that the TLDR?
MALIK: Absolutely. Miami, San Diego, anybody else have a good recommendation for where I should move, put them in the comments section below.
And I'm actually going to challenge the internet, the comments. Go find a place where they read the most books and has the most libraries so that we can really set Malik up for success.
MALIK: I appreciate that. I appreciate that.
LARRY: Anyway, but yeah, so Joe, what are you playing? I mean, we talked about Redfall. We're going to talk about that in just a moment. But what are some of the things that you're playing in your off hours?
JOE: The thing-- I'm not playing it in my off hours now, but I spent most of the weekend playing Exoprimal. While everyone else was trying to get into Diablo I was playing the game about shooting thousands of dinosaurs and having an amazing time.
I'm a proper Dynasty Warriors guy. I like games where there are loads and loads of enemies on screen, and you basically just tidy up. Like any game that feels like tidying up through violence, I'm into it.
LARRY: Now, you say-- I want to talk about-- you say tidying up. Let's talk. Can we unwrap that a little bit? What do you mean? I just want to make sure we're clear.
JOE: I just mean like there's all these people over a map. And you just swing a sword, or fire a gun. And they just gently disappear.
LARRY: Oh, you're cleaning house.
JOE: Yeah. And I find it intensely relaxing. And Exoprimal, what I didn't know going in to this open beta was that it would feel a game show, like it's two teams going through these challenges at the same time. You've got this sense of racing the other team.
JOE: Like it's kind of like Gladiators slash American Gladiators, I believe it was known as. And like that sense of like you're really racing against the other people in these very specific challenges. But at the same time, it's also looking up at a skyscraper and seeing 10,000 raptors fall out of a portal. It's just a wonderful thing. I'm very excited about it.
LARRY: Now, you were playing a prerelease version, or the beta? The "beeta?"
JOE: There was an open beta at the weekend, yeah.
LARRY: Yeah, OK. So Exoprimal, that's coming later this year. It's going to be available on all of our platforms. So stay tuned for that.
You've been playing-- so anything else before we move? I'll talk about what I'm playing?
JOE: I finally finished Hi-Fi Rush this week as well, which was a delight.
LARRY: Oh, yeah.
JOE: Like I've just been kind of taking it mission by mission. Every so often I've just been like, oh, I'll treat myself to a mission of Hi-Fi Rush, and finished it. And what a lovely game.
JOE: Like such an optimistic-- just I wasn't expecting-- it's a satire. It's got this kind of like edgier undercurrent to what it's talking about. But there's just something about how cartoon positive it all is at the end that like really worked for me.
JOE: It just was a lovely, lovely time. And it looks incredible. I've never seen a game that looks like that. And I haven't seen people talk about that as much.
LARRY: Yeah, it's got a great look. I'm kind of doing the same thing. Because you can get quick resume, and it's single player, you can kind of jump in and bang out a level, or a half a level, or a section of the game. And I'm kind of chewing it, going through it as well. It is a delight and a treat, let's just say that.
JOE: Yeah, it really is.
LARRY: What else am I-- what am I playing? Oh, Halo Infinite, multiplier.
MALIK: I saw you last night playing Halo.
LARRY: They've got the new season out. So they've been going through that. And it's great to get back in there.
And I think I've talked about this. I know, Malik, I think I've talked about it on the show. That's kind of the social meeting point for a lot of my non gamer friends that don't work in the industry is we get on and play for a half hour, and just kind of catch up on our days, and so forth, and talk about some nerd stuff.
And then we move on. Then I go play hardcore games. And they go to bed, or whatever they're doing. So it's one of those-- it's always a lot of fun. So you can join us sometime.
I know, Joe, I know you're being in the UK, the time differences are a little extreme for us to kind of game together. But Malik, you only live a few miles away. So there's no excuse for you.
MALIK: I want someone in the Xbox Podcast community to put together a collection of all the times Larry has said, we should play together. We should play together. And then I'll put together a collection of the times we have, and it'll be zero. There won't be a collection.
LARRY: It's not like I don't want to. I mean, is there no desire? Tell me, what can I do, Malik?
MALIK: It's OK. You know, honestly, it's OK, because again, I'm just so enraptured by Apex Legends that it's very hard for me to play any other games.
LARRY: Well, I play that as well, you know.
MALIK: OK. Well, you know what? We should do--
LARRY: Apparently I need to meet you. You're not going to meet me.
MALIK: Here's what I'll say. Here's what I'll say. I actually talked to somebody about this. And we should do like an Xbox internal tournament.
Because now you can make a private server in Apex Legends.
MALIK: And I would love a little bit of friendly competition across-- or even Halo. We could do it with Halo, but any game. I want to see who's the best first person shooter player at Xbox.
And I promise I'll train. And maybe that's the way that we end up playing together on the same stream.
LARRY: Yeah, I mean, I've been doing this for a long time. So I've played with when Bungee was here with Halo. And we've done it with other games. But I'm happy to do that.
Before we continue-- so I'm not just brushing you off. I'd love to chat with you more about that. But Sea of Thieves is also something that I went back into, which is-- I know, Joe, you've been up to Rare recently. I haven't been out there in years.
The game has come such a long way, hasn't it? Hasn't it? Do you play it, Malik, or Joe? I know, Joe, you play a little bit of it.
JOE: I was letting Malik say yeah.
MALIK: Yeah. I've played it in the past. I haven't played it as much recently, but obviously with five years, the five year anniversary, which congrats to Rare. Like I think when that game came out, like it was very new for a kind of new idea for a game. And the team had worked on it, and built content into it. And like the team at Rare, just amazing.
And so congrats to them. I remember the first, when it launched, we did a really awesome stream where we had like a-- it was put together by Aaron Greenberg. And we had like a really big competition, and we played the game afterwards. It was just really great. And so I love what they're doing, and really respect the team at Rare. And I think everyone in the video game community probably does too.
LARRY: And Joe, I know, again, you're running Xbox Wire. You had a chance to go out there. And you wrote this beautiful piece which posted earlier this week. Can you kind of do a high level recap of your piece?
JOE: Absolutely, yeah. And thank you for saying it was beautiful. I tried.
It's a big retrospective about Sea of Thieves, but from a very specific angle. We knew they had their own documentary coming out, which is amazing, by the way, Voyage of a Lifetime. Some amazing stuff in there. And I really wanted to take it--
So I've been writing about Sea of Thieves since before it came out. I was playing the original E3 and Gamescom demos. I've been interviewing that team for years and years.
JOE: And I was looking back over an old interview I did with Mike Chapman, the creative director--
LARRY: Who's still there. He's still working on it.
JOE: Yeah, and had this amazing moment of realizing he was telling me about features coming to that game years before they made it in. And they've just had this like incredibly clear vision for what this game is going to be from the very start. So that's what my piece is about, talking about what is the first moment you ever spoke about Sea of Thieves, or what would become Sea of Thieves.
As it turns out, it started out as a game about secret agents. That's what they were thinking about making at the time.
JOE: And working from that point and going, here's how that vision has powered every single thing since. From the prototype, there's an amazing little video in there that you can see of Phil Spencer and Kudo Tsunoda playing the prototype for the first time ever. There's a little 20 second clip of them playing it.
Through launch, which obviously was tough, that the game wasn't in the place that I think players or Rare wanted it to be when it came out. And then the way they've turned it into something bigger than I think they were ever imagining at the time, and even them saying, we just had a meeting about the next five years.
JOE: So it's this incredible project. And there's really nothing else like it, like in terms of what the game is, and in terms of how it's been put together. And it felt worthy of writing a massive feature about.
LARRY: So check that out.
JOE: So that is on the site now.
LARRY: Yeah, news.xbox.com. You know, you talked about the early gameplay with Phil. And I actually played that build as well. And there's no video of me.
But Jeff, I'll never forget it. Jeff and I went up to this conference room. We've told this story before. But I'll recap for you guys. Maybe you haven't heard it. Is we went up to this conference room on the second floor of one of our buildings. I remember exactly what conference room it was.
And we walked in. And there were PCs set up around. And we sat down. And you see a little bit of it in the video that you talk about, Joe, the stick figures, the boat, the swimming. You know, all of the elements were there. It certainly wasn't as beautiful as it is now. But you could get a sense what-- as we say in the industry, what's the gameplay loop? What am I doing?
LARRY: And it was so-- to your point, it's been such a journey to watch that team grow the game in so many ways. And you're right, you know, Joe Knead and Mike Chapman have had such a clear vision for what they wanted to do.
And it's frustrating, because, as you said, the game wasn't where it wanted to be, or where the fans wanted to be at launch. You always want all this content. But it just takes time. Those things take time. And they've been working at it.
I booted it up the other night after the update. And I don't know when the last time you guys were in the game. But I was like-- I spawned into Golden Sands. And I was like, what is this? It was completely different. I mean, it has gone way up market.
It was really, really extraordinary. So if you haven't had a chance-- again, Sea of Thieves is in Game Pass. There's no reason not to check it out for Game Pass subscribers. Go in and just set up your boat, and look at your pirate. And get your pirate ready.
And there's a beautiful little kind of-- would you say it's an on ramp, or it's an introduction? Kind of tells you how to play the game, right? Right, Joe?
JOE: Yeah, the maiden voyage section.
LARRY: Yeah, the maiden voyage. Yeah. But check it out. I mean, it's worth it. It's such a lovely world to play in and be in, and it's so beautiful.
In fact, I don't know if I've told you this story. But when you spawn in, you spawn in somewhere in the world. You don't really control where it is. And I always get ragey when I'm in the kind of murky, dark area, because we live in that in Seattle. And you live it a little bit in London.
But I get ragey. And I'm like, I have to go to the sunny section. I have to go to Miami with like Malik. I've got to get there. So anyway, it's a fun game. Check it out.
So anyway, any more you want to say about that, Joe, before we get into-- I'm going to have you do the news this week, since Xbox Wire is your baby. Anything you want to say about Sea of Thieves?
JOE: Please-- I mean, just please, play it. It's in such a good place. It's such a pleasure to talk about, because there's just so much going on in there.
I think the Golden Sands thing really is the epitome of it. Like you can see how the game's--
LARRY: You won't even rec-- I'm telling you, if you've been to Golden Sands in the past, when you spawn you-- here's what happened. And this is slightly embarrassing, but true story.
I read your article. I've been hearing people say it. I spawned in, and there is a photo board. Did you hear about the photo board?
LARRY: So there's this-- Malik, there's a board that you can basically take your photo against. It's like an anniversary board. And I was like, oh, I read about that.
So I'm like, I have to go to Golden Sands. So I spawn. I look for my boat. Because I'm like, how do I get to Golden Sands? Because I knew the map is on the boat.
So I get to my sloop. And I look at the map. I'm like, oh, I am on Golden Sands. I completely didn't even know. That's how different it looks is I didn't even realize I was there. It was just breathtaking.
So all right, Joe, we're going to lean on you a little bit. You're going to tell us some news. And then we're going to get into Redfall. And then we're going to talk GDC interviews. We've got a bunch of those.
So Joe, take it away. Give us the Xbox news so far.
JOE: Absolutely, so big news as of yesterday, we've got the latest wave of Game Pass games that got announced. That included out now Ni no Kuni 2, Revenant Kingdom, the Prince's Edition. So that's the original Ni no Kuni 2, but with all the DLC as part of your Game Pass subscription, which I think is-- I mean, that must be hundreds of hours of game.
JOE: So there's a lot there. Coming up next week. That includes MLB The Show '23. I'm not a baseball guy, except for loving the film Moneyball. But if there's anything to do with Moneyball in it I might--
LARRY: So that's right. There is really no baseball, per se, in UK, right?
JOE: We've got the cricket, but I'm not really into that.
MALIK: Yeah. What's the difference between cricket and baseball?
LARRY: Oh, what's the difference? Oh, Malik.
MALIK: Yeah, and they have a bat. One is flat. One's like--
LARRY: One takes like three weeks to play.
JOE: Yeah, there's always that.
They've introduced whole new leagues to make it quicker to play. So I think that's the--
LARRY: By the way, Malik, there is a place near where you and I live. You and I live fairly close to each other. Where they play cricket. So I'll see if I can find out what the schedule is, and maybe you and I can go down there and see a game in progress.
MALIK: Yeah, I would love to know what this cricket is.
LARRY: To be fair, I don't know what's going on either, to be fair. I have no idea. Anyway, go ahead, Joe.
JOE: Yeah, but I mean, I will say, the thing that's really caught my eye about MLB The Show this year is some of the stuff they're doing with campaign modes and like history elements to it.
LARRY: Yeah, yeah.
JOE: So there's a Negro leagues section, which is an element of baseball that I've heard of before, but I've never learned about. And it promises to actually teach you the history of the game. And I'm going to download a game to learn about history. Who would have thought?
Not since the discovery tours of Assassin's Creed have I done that. So I'm really impressed by that idea, and as a new way to get into a game that otherwise would just kind of pass me by.
LARRY: Yeah, MLB The Show. We'll get somebody-- usually we have Ramon Russell on each year from that team. Jeff usually interviews him. We've got some scheduling. We're working on getting Ramon on, because MLB The Show is really big for the Xbox audience. What else you got there, Joe?
JOE: And yeah, just rounding out the Game Pass section. There's also Infinite Guitars, which I hadn't heard of until very recently, but is a rhythm RPG. And after having just finished Hi-Fi Rush, I'm really into--
LARRY: Your ears are perked up, aren't they?
JOE: --rhythm stuff. So yeah, and I mean, they describe it as a vibrant anime inspired art, adrenaline fueled mech battles, and a blazing original soundtrack, all of which sound superb to me.
MALIK: Ooh, mech battles.
LARRY: Mech battles.
JOE: Yeah, exactly. It's the mech battles that always-- and yeah, there's the Titanfall connection. We're all getting a little bit of what we want.
MALIK: That's right. That's right.
MALIK: I love that.
JOE: I also wanted to draw attention to-- as you can tell with our Sea of Thieves stuff, we're trying on Xbox Wire to tell bigger stories than ever before, and really dig into some of the topics around Xbox and the games that we're releasing on our platforms as well.
And a super fascinating one written by one of our editors, Mike Nelson, this week. It came out yesterday. We've called it how Microsoft Flight Simulator is keeping the Ukrainian dream alive. A few weeks ago they introduced a Microsoft Flight Simulator, the-- I'm going to butcher this. The Antonov AN225.
LARRY: Oh, yeah.
JOE: Which is the largest plane ever built in real life, which was sadly destroyed at the start of the conflict in Ukraine.
JOE: And they set about rebuilding this game inside the game, and dedicating all the proceeds for that DLC to rebuilding the plane in real life.
JOE: We have this huge interview with the team at Flight Simulator, and the chief pilot of that plane.
LARRY: Because you have to remember, to your point, Joe, pilots get trained on specific airplanes. You know, when you're flying a 707 or 730, or whatever it is. And that's their speciality. But there's only one plane like this in the world, unfortunately. And now it's destroyed.
So this one individual, that's his job was to fly this airplane. And there's not many people that are qualified to do.
JOE: And so they worked with his expertise. And this is a real breakdown from some like huge aviation fans and experts into how exactly you rebuild this plane digitally, and how that might help rebuild it in real life.
It's a fascinating article. I knew very little about what was in that.
LARRY: Well, we're going to have Jorg-- we're going to have Jorg Neumann, who's been on the show in the past, who runs the Flight Simulator business, he's going to come on in the coming weeks to give us a little bit more of a preview of how that works. So go over-- here's your homework. Homework, Malik, homework-- is to go over, read the story, and then we'll have a follow up interview coming in a few weeks.
MALIK: Looking forward to that. I love Flight Sim. Some of my most stunning gaming experiences in the past few years have been just flying places I could never be on my 4K TV, and just like soaking it in. Amazing. I love that game. Love it.
JOE: Yeah. It's a really great piece. And to round out the news, and to segue a little bit, we also, as of what? A couple of hours before recording? A big hands on preview with Redfall, which I got to play in the last couple of weeks.
And yeah, I sort of broke down-- there you go, characterful. It's a fun pun.
I broke down-- what happened was we got this solo build. We got 90 minutes with the game with one character. And I played through that. And my immediate thought after playing it was, I want to know what this feels like to play with a different character.
JOE: Because as an Arcane fan, the love of those games stems so much from the fact that they give you a single target and then let you approach it in--
LARRY: Multiple ways.
JOE: --infinite numbers of ways.
JOE: And this game is doing that same thing but applying it in a very different way. They have this cast of four characters with incredibly different abilities. And that's where that openness comes through. I played the same demo, and I chose the same routes, and did the same things, but with a different character the second time.
And the difference in that game is stunning. And that's really where I was like, oh, this is what-- this is the Arcane thinking at the heart of this. Because the structure of it is a little more classic open world shooter.
They referenced-- Harvey Smith from the design team referenced Far Cry 2 specifically and Stalker as their influences, which is a little different to the sort of immersive sims and things that they've been building on before.
But when you get into that, oh, this character approaches it in this way, and this character approaches it in this way, and see how different an experience you have with those two characters, it really--
LARRY: Yeah, it really lights it up, doesn't it?
JOE: Yeah, and that's just as a solo player. Like when you're building in up to four other characters, like who knows where that's going to go next.
JOE: So it's a really, really fascinating project. I cannot wait to play more.
And just the characters themselves are great. My favorite so far is-- who I describe in the piece as all four Ghostbusters rolled into one man.
He's a para scientist, I guess you call it, a paranormal scientist, who's previously been sort of writing about or YouTubing about paranormal stuff and has built these gadgets to help him find things. And then when he gets stuck on Redfall after the vampires emerge he has to change all his gadgets into, OK, I don't want to just find them. I want to kill them as well.
And so he's got this sort of like botched together, high tech that's really, really satisfying. My favorite thing about him is he kind of commentates on everything as he sees it. Like he's giving the vampires names and like studying them as a scientist out loud while you're talking. And it's just like this--
LARRY: He's got his own internal narrative going?
JOE: Yeah, it kind of turns the game into a documentary about vampires at the same time as an action experience. It's so cool. Like it's a really, really fun, fun idea. Yeah, it's just a great time. I can't wait to play more.
LARRY: Well, head to news.xbox.com for all of those stories, including the one you just heard about from Joe about his hands on with Redfall, some single player action. We talked about a bunch of other stuff there. So check that out.
But first of all, as we start at the top of the show, GDC coming up, Game Developer Conference, big down in Los Angeles. Or excuse me, down in San Francisco. Joe, have you ever been?
JOE: I haven't. And I would love to go. It was not on the cards for me this year, but next year--
LARRY: Yeah, I mean, I've been a few years. I haven't gone-- I'm not going this year. But I have been in the past. Malik, you've not been, have you?
MALIK: I haven't, but I've been seeing everyone posting about going there. And it just looks a great time. I think I just love the idea, especially-- and I know we'll get into it a little bit with ID@Xbox with Chris Charla, but I love the idea of like hearing developer's story, hearing their passion, where the ideas came from for some of these games.
These games don't just pop up out of nowhere. They come from like a lot of work in the background. Such a great conference. I've never been to it. But maybe next year.
JOE: Well, we got some great areas. We got four interviews. Malik, would you mind bringing us into those interviews? Because I think people are really going to enjoy some of them, in fact, all of them.
MALIK: Absolutely. Absolutely. So we have four interviews, like Larry mentioned. All right, we're going to start off with James Lewis talking about the new developer acceleration program that was announced at GDC. Kristin Cox from Xbox Game Studios, we're going to chat with her.
We have Chris Charla, 10 years of ID@Xbox. I wore my shirt for that moment, and Tristan Patterson talking about the sustainability news coming out of GDC. So enjoy the interviews.
LARRY: GDC continues this week. Xbox was down there in a big way. We have some great news. One of the pieces of news is the developer acceleration program. And I am very excited today to be joined by Mr. James Lewis, who is the lead for the developer acceleration program here at Xbox. James, welcome to the show.
JAMES LEWIS: Hey, thanks so much for having me. Yeah, we were super excited to finally announce the program and talk about it. So happy to be here.
LARRY: It's exciting. And I mean, people can kind of figure out what it is. accelerate-- but tell us a little bit about what the program really means for game developers.
JAMES LEWIS: Absolutely, let's jump into it. So to start with, developer acceleration program, our mission is to empower underrepresented creators with the resources and information needed to bring their creativity, innovation, and originality to Xbox.
And so we do this in three primary areas. So the first is with porting support. So for teams that are new to shipping on Xbox, or haven't shipped before, and have some awesome games, we want to provide, you know, small amounts of funding that can help them offset the costs that they have of bringing their titles to Xbox. This is to ensure that they're set up for success and just have everything they need to be able to bring the game, first of all, to the platform.
The next way that we help is with information. We know that teams that may not have a lot of experience shipping on console, that just knowing, or figuring out all the things you don't know is part of the barrier. So trying to provide access to store best practices, marketing best practices, what is certification like? Like these are all the types of topics that new developers seeking to come to our platform are interested in.
And so we create opportunities for them to really talk to subject matter experts across Team Xbox to learn about these topics, something we call green room events. We do these on a monthly cadence. And we invite our developers to come in and ask questions.
And so the information that we discuss is not exclusive to our meetings. But I think it's important that we create an environment that is intentional in allowing new developers to ask questions that are relevant to them and their experiences. And so, you know, being able to ask questions in a small group is important. So the information piece is something that we're really excited about, and a key part of our program.
And then the last aspect of our program is this new initiative that we're piloting currently, which is our prototype initiative. Because their thought behind this is that a lot of new teams really just historically have lacked access to resources to get their ideas off the ground. So we want to make sure that we're providing an opportunity for underrepresented developers to get their ideas off the ground, create a prototype, and de-risk their ability to go and get that publishing, or just get the funding for actual development.
And so we're doing this with a small number of teams right now. And it's really something that we're learning from and doing. But the goal here is to really help independent developers be able to communicate the vision that they have for their game. So when they go into that pitch conversation and someone says, hey, this sounds cool, but can you deliver? They say, actually, I have a prototype. Check it out.
And that goes a long way in helping those conversations be successful. So those are the three aspects that we're really excited about.
LARRY: I want to talk a little bit-- a couple things. First of all, Chris Charla, who runs the ID@Xbox program is-- you're part of that team. Chris is going to be on in the show. We've got him on the podcast.
But the developer acceleration program began in 2019. So it's a few years old already. And tell us about some of the learnings, and maybe more importantly, some of the games that maybe some folks have played already.
JAMES LEWIS: Sure, absolutely, yes. You know, Chris, awesome. I'm glad he's going to be on the show as well.
Yeah, in 2019 there is a small group of people. Or there's a group of people on the ID at Xbox team that were like, hey, they recognized an opportunity to help diverse, underrepresented, independent developers be able to bring their games to the platform.
And so it was actually them finding and seeking out this opportunity that started this program. So they're like, hey, how can we create opportunities. And how can we create intentional opportunities?
We know that us being able to reach the billions of gamers out there, it means that we have to welcome more diverse experiences to the platform, meaning empowering more diverse developers, underrepresented developers. And so this is not work that happens by accident. This is we have to take intentional effort to be able to do this.
And so the team recognized this in 2019, and we've been doing this work. And to date, we've been able to partner with a number of developers. We have 100 titles that we've partnered with so far. And so there's been a lot of efforts that have been happening behind the scenes that we haven't talked about publicly.
And then we have about 28 titles that have shipped on the platform. And so we're seeing a lot of momentum and growth to the program. But we're choosing this moment to talk about the program now, because we want to ensure that the teams that need our support the most know that we exist, know what we do, and know how to reach out to us. So that's the core of why we're talking about this right now, and kind of what we're excited about.
LARRY: I mean, and it's also really important, because we've seen tremendous strides in diversity in the games industry, not just in games, but also in developers, from not just different types of people with different backgrounds, but globally. They're from all over the world.
And that's the beauty of the world we live in is that now you don't have to be in one of these tech hubs, whether it's Seattle, or London, or San Francisco, or Tokyo. You can be anywhere really and create a game.
JAMES LEWIS: Yeah, you're absolutely right. And you asked earlier just about maybe some of the games or the developers. Like we're finding-- through this program, we're able to work with and empower some amazing developers.
You know, some of the ones that come to mind, there's a game called Validate. The creator, Dani Lalonders is a member of the Black and LGBTQ community. And they've done some tremendous work in creating a game that they felt like was lacking in the industry that spoke to their experience. I mean, it's a game about dating in your 20s.
And this is the game that they wanted to see. And I believe that this type of game will go on and reach an audience of people that have similar perspectives to Danny, and that can really relate to this content. And there are so many stories like that, you know, with our developers, whether they are creating a game from a particular cultural lens. Or maybe it's a developer in Southeast Asia or Africa. And they're creating experiences that maybe we haven't seen, or a lot of our players on Xbox haven't seen that type of experience. And there's an opportunity to reach more developers.
So I'm excited by the stories and the games that we're seeing come through the program. I believe that is fundamentally how we're going to reach more gamers is when we can offer them content that speaks to their experiences, and just welcome them to gaming. I think that's a key part of what we're doing. But so I'm obviously excited.
LARRY: Yeah, it's interesting, because we've heard Phil Spencer, our boss, talk all the time about when everybody plays we all win. And that doesn't just mean to gamers, to people playing the games. It's people are playing the game of game development, right?
So when everybody wants-- if you think you've got a great idea for a game, like James just went through a bunch of different scenarios. If you think like, hey, how come there isn't a game about X, Y, or Z, do it. Right? Reach out to James's team, and let's do it.
JAMES LEWIS: Yes, you might be the person that needs to bring that game. And if you're thinking that way, you're thinking, hey, I have this idea that I haven't seen before, there's probably a lot of people that want to see that type of game.
JAMES LEWIS: And so those are the voices that we want to hear from. We invite you to reach out. You know, if you're already working on that game for PC, and you're like, hey, you know what? I just need help bringing this to Xbox, you know, that's a bit daunting for me. And I don't know how that works. Reach out to us.
You know, we have a wonderful team here that can take those leads. We're still working through the same processes to evaluate every bit of content to make sure these are awesome experiences for our gamers. But we want to hear from you. And our team wants to reach out and build that relationship.
LARRY: Yeah, I mean, it's interesting because we talked about the developer acceleration program, which we've been talking about all along here. But it's also whether you're a current developer, who perhaps has shipped on other platforms, and, as James said, you want to port it over.
I mean, port sometime isn't a word that gamers want to hear. But it means better things lately. Who wants to bring it over to Xbox, or if you have this brilliant new idea that you think would be really exciting, also an opportunity that's about accelerating all developers, right, James?
JAMES LEWIS: Yes, absolutely right. Yep, so for anybody that's seeking to bring your game to Xbox, but you know, again, maybe the resources, every resource, every dollar you have is going in to making the best game possible, we want to help offset the costs related to you actually bringing it to Xbox, and allow you to focus on making the best experience.
And then, equipped with the information and best practices that we have here, we feel like we're setting you up for success. But then also if you're earlier, and you're building a concept, and you have a team, and you have this idea, we want to hear about that. Because we want to make sure that we're partnering-- right now in our pilot for prototypes, we're still looking for a small number of partners. But this can be a wonderful way to get those ideas off the ground.
LARRY: You have your go dos right now, gamers. You know what to do if you have a great idea-- James, I mean, I've been flashing your Twitter up here on the screen a couple times. But how else can they-- can they email you as well?
JAMES LEWIS: Yeah, absolutely. So we're asking developers who are interested in learning more, participating in the program to email us at IDA[email protected]. And then our team will reach out and follow up.
So I encourage you, if you're interested in porting, or prototypes, or any of those initiatives that I mentioned, or if you have more questions, please reach out to us. We're eager and excited to be in touch with you, and to build on this list of games that we currently have in the program. We have some amazing partners, and we're looking for more.
LARRY: It's always great to see what programs that Chris Charla and his team with the ID at Xbox and now the developer acceleration program, it's great to see that, and just to see the depth and breadth of games that we have on the Xbox platform.
James, I know you've got a lot to do. It was a great week for us down at GDC with some great news, some of which we just shared.
So thank you for your time, my friend. And let's have you on again in the future to maybe talk about some of the games that you're seeing.
JAMES LEWIS: I would love that. Thanks for having me. We have a lot of really cool games coming. Always happy to come back and celebrate the developers and the titles that they're shipping.
LARRY: Joining me is Kristin Cox, who is the director of business strategy at the Xbox Studios team. Kristin, great to see you.
KRISTIN COX: It's great to see you as well. Thanks for having me on.
LARRY: I'm really excited to chat with you. Tell us a little bit about your journey. And then you actually host a podcast as well. And we're going to talk about that in a second.
But tell us about your journey into Xbox. And then we'll talk about some of the GDC stuff that we've announced.
KRISTIN COX: Yeah, so I work for the Xbox Game Studios publishing team. And I joined a little over four years ago. Joined Xbox a little over four years ago. Before that, I was a game dev for 16 years.
LARRY: Oh, my.
KRISTIN COX: Mostly as a designer and a game director working in MMOs. Did a lot of large scale MMOs. That's sort of where my design passion was.
And then about four years ago I was looking to sort of broaden my ability to impact games. You know, when you work on MMOs, you work on them sometimes for 10 plus years.
KRISTIN COX: Which is wonderful, and deep, and great. But I was like, wow, how many more do I have in me? I would love to go work somewhere where I had an opportunity to touch more. And the opportunity here at Xbox on the publishing side of First Party, which is the Xbox Game Studios publishing team, was a great opportunity. I do get a chance to work with a lot of developers now doing a wide variety of things, which has been wonderful.
LARRY: You know, it kind of reminds me of my role here at Xbox, where I get to kind of work horizontally across all the different products, whether it's hardware. It's software. It's services, games. It's a lot of fun. So I totally get what you're saying.
But you also-- before we get into the GDC stuff that we've announced, I want to talk about you actually are on a podcast, right?
KRISTIN COX: Yes, yeah. Right when I joined Xbox, James Gwertzman and I started a podcast called The Art of LiveOps.
LARRY: Here it is.
KRISTIN COX: Yep, there it is. We've been doing it for years now, sort of seasons. What we do is we interview game developers about their experience working on live games.
KRISTIN COX: We just talk to them about everything, from tech, to design, to community, everything in between, all of the struggles, the challenges, the learnings that they have from making live games.
We've interviewed a wide variety of people over the years, from Raph Koster, who is a founder of sort of LiveOps gaming.
KRISTIN COX: And all the way to like Austin Walker, who has an incredibly unique perspective around like community and content creation. So it's been great to do.
You know, James has moved on to do more exciting, fascinating things out in the world. So it's just me these days doing the hosting. But we're still making--
LARRY: Well, if you need another co-host, let me know. I've got a few hours left in the week.
KRISTIN COX: There you go. You need another podcast, for sure.
LARRY: But first of all, I want to make sure folks go check that out if you're interested. Even if you're not a game developer, and you just want to learn a little bit more about what does it take to make my favorite games work, it's a great opportunity to listen to that.
But let's talk about GDC, Game Developers Conference this year down in San Francisco. It's back after a couple years. Tell us about how the Xbox Game Studios are showing up at GDC this year.
KRISTIN COX: Yeah, I think we're showing up in a big way. As you said, we're back to sort of full force in person for the first time in a while. And I think, like many other people in the industry, everyone at Xbox Game Studios is feeling like we've learned a lot in the last few years. We've done a lot in the last more like three years. And we're ready to come share that.
Like it's an opportunity. GDC is always a great opportunity to come and share. And we're really coming with that focus, reconnecting with our peers and colleagues around the industry, and sharing all of the things that we've been up to, and some of the learnings we've had.
LARRY: Yeah, I mean, this is our first full in-person, as you said, GDC in several years. And some of them are virtual. But now that we're all getting together, it's got to feel pretty good, right?
I mean, I'm doing a couple events live. And it just feels good to get that muscle back, and really, more importantly, see fans and see developers.
KRISTIN COX: Yeah, getting that personal connection really is important as an industry. You know, I think we're more virtual than we've ever been as an industry, which has opened up a lot of opportunities.
KRISTIN COX: But it is wonderful to get a chance to come together at these moments. And it really facilitates that learning, right? Like I think anyone who's ever been to GDC knows that there's something special about coming together and just sharing with each other. We have such an innovative industry. There's so many things happening. It's nice to be able to share that, what you're working on, what you're passionate about.
LARRY: Yeah, I mean, and to your point, it's a great innovative industry with a tremendous amount of passion, not just in the industry, but also people that maybe aren't industry fans, you know, gamers.
KRISTIN COX: Mhm, absolutely.
LARRY: And that's always exciting to see. I want to talk about some of the sessions. We've had some of the sessions this week that we've been doing. Tell us about some of those and what people--
I mean, I know not everybody can go. You know, the people that listen to this podcast probably aren't at GDC. Maybe some of them are. But tell us about some of the sessions that we cover, and just to give some of the examples.
KRISTIN COX: Yeah, so for us at Xbox Game Studios, we're focused on a wide variety of topics really, really from all levels.
We've got some really specific craft techniques and solution stuff we're talking about in like tech art, narrative, animation, the engine, you know, all of those kinds of really nitty gritty stuff where we're talking about doing the work. But we've also got stuff all the way back to bigger, broader concerns or topics that we think about in the industry. We have sessions about the climate crisis. We have sessions about accessibility, about driving team culture, and even just how we approach the creative process.
LARRY: You know, I want to talk, Crystal. You and I have kind of talked before we started recording about what we're going to talk about. But one thing we didn't mention that popped into my head as you were talking through that is you've been in the industry a long time. Has it been as exciting for you in this industry to see it evolve in such a way? To have such-- to address things like climate crisis, and accessibility?
Those are things that 10 or 15 years ago people were kind of thinking about, but now it's just part of our DNA, isn't it?
KRISTIN COX: Absolutely. I mean, I think watching the industry grow so much, I do remember back in the early days just the questions were more, how do we get latency down?
KRISTIN COX: How do we actually push pixels onto screens? How do we manage our memory? And those are interesting and exciting questions.
LARRY: And they're important questions that people are still asking today.
KRISTIN COX: Absolutely. But it is nice to see that we really have grown as an industry so much that we feel like we have the maturity and ability to ask these questions in a broader sense, as an industry, to not just think about them individually, but to ask as an industry, how are we approaching things like climate crisis? As an industry, how do we think deeply about our creative process and the way that it can be done with empathy? The way that it can be done sustainably?
LARRY: Yeah, you know, we talked about Xbox Game Studios Publishing, your team at GDC this year. But my understanding is we're one of the largest contributors. Is that true?
KRISTIN COX: That is true. We have a lot of great contributions being made by the Xbox Game Studios team this year, which is wonderful to see. We have people, as I said, coming from The Coalition, Turn 10, 3 for 3, The Initiative. My team is simply gone-- we are a large family these days. And we're really showing up, I think, well to come and share some of our learnings, which is wonderful.
LARRY: It's now-- you've got a-- are you doing a session? Cause I think you are doing a session, right?
KRISTIN COX: I am doing a session, yes.
LARRY: Tell me about that.
KRISTIN COX: Yeah, Peter Wise, who's the general manager for Xbox Game Studios Publishing and my boss, we're doing a session together. We're going to sit down and do a little bit of like a fireside chat style session, talking specifically about how we collaborate with our development partners, and how we think about publishing.
It's a bit of a unique perspective for us. You know, we are a publisher. We're also first party and a platform-- on a platform, and a huge brand like Xbox.
KRISTIN COX: But we want to talk a little bit more on an intimate level about how we actually work with our developers, and build relationships with them, and try to lead with empathy, and try to have sort of a bespoke and collaborative relationship with each one of our teams.
LARRY: Yeah, that's something I've noticed with your team and publishing at large. I mean, your job is really to showcase a lot of the benefits of the Xbox platform. But it's also not a one size fits all. Everyone has their own challenges, and desires, and goals, right? And you guys really work with them to make sure that everybody's-- you know, all the mutual goals are being met.
KRISTIN COX: Yeah, I mean, I think and the biggest focus for us really is that we want to be an amazing partner that helps developers make their vision become a reality with Xbox.
KRISTIN COX: Like we want them to feel like, wow, I'm really able to achieve so much with Xbox. And every game is different. So it really has to be about those relationships and the individual creative vision and goals for each one of the teams.
LARRY: You know, we talked about the fact that you've been in the industry for quite a while. And I've been in the industry as well. And we've seen games evolve just from certainly from the SD era to the HD era, and so forth, more pixels, and so forth.
But one of the areas that you touched on at the beginning is the fact that games now-- back in the day, people used to press it to a disk, and ship it, and we're done. But now it's live games. And you've got the podcast. And I'll bring that up again in a moment.
But things have changed on that level as well. There's so much more flexibility now with games that are connected and live, right?
KRISTIN COX: Absolutely. And it's an incredible opportunity as a developer. I mean, I've spent many of my years as an MMO developer. So maybe I'm a little bit biased here.
But the ability to grow something along with a community, and to see it evolve and change is so exciting. And it's such an amazing opportunity. It also opens up all kinds of new challenges for how to facilitate that, how to manage that relationship with your community, how to-- think even about a game. Like how to wrap your head around design that's going to last potentially for 10, 15 years. So I think it's a very exciting area, but it's also one where there's a lot of discussion on the development side and the way that we approach those things, because it's really evolving.
LARRY: Yeah, I've also really appreciated, not just from the evolution of the games themselves, and the back end, and the technology, but also game developers are creative about what can they do with this technology? And some things work and some things don't work. And it's about experimenting. And that's part of what your team does in terms of exposes them to this vast toolkit that we have here at Microsoft.
KRISTIN COX: Yeah, I mean, it really is amazing what we can do now. And I know over the course of GDC we have some announcements coming up, also not just from the Xbox Game Studio side, but from the other side of our developer tools.
And we have people coming to do talks like from Simply Gone and people who are working on these back end solutions. There's a lot out there now.
KRISTIN COX: And there's so much we can achieve. And now, not even getting into how the cloud is starting to open up amazing opportunities to do things we never thought we could do before.
LARRY: Yeah, it's going to be-- and also, I mean, the hot buzzword right now is AI, right? How is that going to unlock some stuff.
KRISTIN COX: Absolutely.
LARRY: Well, listen, Kristin, it's great to see you. Of course, if people want to check out your podcast, it's The Art of LiveOps. And you can see it right here if you're watching this on video. I've got it on screen.
Where else can they find more details about what you do?
KRISTIN COX: Yeah, there is a great landing page that people can hit if they just want to learn everything that's going on with Xbox at GDC, and see some videos and content information. And that's just head over to developer.microsoft.com/games.
LARRY: Very simple like that. Kristin Cox, director of business strategy here at Xbox for our Xbox Game Studios. Thank you for coming on. Let me know when you want me to come on your podcast. And you are welcome to come back any time.
KRISTIN COX: Great, thank you so much.
LARRY: ID at Xbox is 10 years old. And we are celebrating it big. Chris Charla, who's is the brainchild behind ID at Xbox is here to join us. Chris, good to see you.
CHRIS CHARLA: Good to see you. Yeah, thanks for having me.
LARRY: This is amazing. I mean, it seems like just yesterday we had you on the show to talk about the ID at Xbox program. And here we are 10 years on. Congratulations.
CHRIS CHARLA: I know. It's kind of amazing. It's been-- you know, in a sense, it feels like yesterday. In a sense, it feels like it's been a really long time. I mean, I guess it has been, 10 years.
But it's been really cool, like since the early days helping co-found, to today just getting to work with so many awesome devs. It's like it remains fun every single day.
LARRY: Let's go back a little bit. Because do you remember the first game that launched on the ID at Xbox-- in the ID at Xbox program? Or do you consider there's a first one? Or was it more of a group of them?
CHRIS CHARLA: It was really a group of them.
CHRIS CHARLA: And yeah, but it was like April 24-- I think we announced the program in 2013, and formulated it. Our first meetings with developers were at GDC 10 years ago. Because we had some ideas about what we were going to do. And then I think our first game started to come out in April of 2014.
LARRY: Right, because obviously game development takes a while. You know better than anybody.
But let's go back a little bit and talk about the progress and journey that ID at Xbox has been over the past 10 years. You had a blog post. You know, GDC is this week. You know, your team is down there. You had a blog post up on Xbox Wire earlier this week.
But kind of go through a little bit for us to remind folks. And it's always great to hear from you.
CHRIS CHARLA: Yeah, I mean, the cool thing is, is it really-- like digital distribution for independent developers was really pioneered by Xbox back in the old Xbox Live Arcade days on Xbox 360, even a tiny, little bit before that on OG Xbox.
LARRY: Because you had to have a disc, remember? Because you had to have a disk to like download. It was like the bootloader.
CHRIS CHARLA: Xbox Live Arcade came with a disk. It was amazing.
But the indie scene just took off, like amazingly. And you think like it's now been 15 years since that summer of arcade where you had Castle Crashers, and Braid, and Geometry Wars 2 all launching, and kind of launching indie games into the mainstream. And the indie game scene just started to grow super, super quickly. And the developers started to progress really, really quickly.
And it actually grew faster than Microsoft could support it. You know, we had 360, which was a really forward looking console. But it was designed years before that. And so supporting devs with things like self-publishing just wasn't possible.
But you know, developers are looking at the future, which they should be. And they were not shy about letting us know where we were starting to fall short on 360. And so as we were getting into the Xbox One generation, we knew we had to do better.
So conversations started in Redmond with our friends in the UK and in Asia. And then when we got to GDC 2013, we really started talking to developers about, hey, we're thinking about making-- you know, we know we need to make changes for independent developers. We're thinking about this. We're thinking about that.
And luckily, the development community was really clear about what they wanted, what they needed, what they didn't want, what they didn't need. And ultimately, it came down to make it easy to ship games on Xbox. And everything else is going to take care of itself.
CHRIS CHARLA: And--
LARRY: No, no, go ahead. Because it really is. In retrospect, it seems so simple. But there was a lot of challenges that you and your team, and everybody had to go through those days.
CHRIS CHARLA: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it was a lot harder to publish a game 10 years ago, not just because of our internal systems, which were more complex than they are today. But it was just harder. It was harder with game engines. Everything was harder.
And so we worked really, really hard. And you know, again, our principle was like, make it easy. Everything will be OK. And we know that we'll get like a huge selection of great games on the platform. And then we'll get the right games for the right developers.
And that was the goal. And that is exactly what we've worked really hard to do. And there's still a ton of work to do. But we're still working on it every single day.
LARRY: We have James Lewis from your team on the show this week talking about the developer acceleration program. How does that sit next to ID at Xbox? I mean, it's part of it. But it's its own unique beast as well, right?
CHRIS CHARLA: Yeah, absolutely. It really goes back to what I was just talking about. You know, our goal for ID originally, obviously for developers who want to make it as easy to publish games as possible. But for players who want to make sure they have access just to the widest array of games possible.
And we knew that we needed independent developers to provide that to Xbox fans. As we have gone into the ID at Xbox program in 2019 we started to see a problem, which was that there's all these amazing voices, amazing creators, a lot of them new to game development, new to Xbox. And we'd see their games at shows, shows like Pax, shows like GDC. And we'd ask them, hey, are you thinking about coming to Xbox?
And the answer was like, I'd like to, but we'll have to see how the game does. You know, because a lot of these devs are new. They don't have tons of money.
And so we realized that we were at risk of failing our promise to our players to make sure they had a wide variety of games by not getting these developers who came from underrepresented groups onto Xbox. And so we started a program.
It started as a V team at first, and then has now become a full program under James, to begin a business relationship with these developers, and help them port their game to Xbox in a way that's basically cost neutral to them. They can see what the performance is like.
They then have an Xbox Game under their belt, so when they get ready to do their next game, it's easy to bring it to Xbox. And you know, the net result, we've signed more than 100 titles through the program now. And the net result has been, a lot of games shipping on Xbox that might not have come to Xbox otherwise, which feels really good.
LARRY: Yeah, I want to just point something out. People are probably listening, going V team. What's a V team? That's a virtual team at Microsoft.
CHRIS CHARLA: Oh, sorry.
LARRY: Ha, ha, that's where we have a bunch of different people working on projects. So I want to just-- I'll be Chris's decoder today.
CHRIS CHARLA: Yeah, sorry, that's some inside baseball Microsoft talk.
LARRY: But also, the interesting thing about the ID at Xbox program, and frankly, all the developers that you've been working with-- and there's some surprising games that people would never think, oh, you're part of the ID at Xbox program. But it's just interesting to see all the gambit of games.
But it's also interesting because the ID at Xbox developers, they really push the envelope forward, and advance us, and pushed us to be better, and pushed the industry to be better, right?
CHRIS CHARLA: Yeah, that's exactly right. Because what we see is that a lot of the developers are smaller. They don't need to sell as many copies to be able to do what they do sustainably. Although, they sell great on Xbox.
But it enables them to take-- I'll just say like, to take more risks faster. Like I think if you look at traditional software, there is a lot of progression. There is a lot of innovation year on year. But the games are so big that a huge amount of innovation might only be 2% or 3% of a big, giant game, right?
CHRIS CHARLA: Whereas for an independent developer who might be making a smaller game, that same sort of amount of innovation is like 80% of a game. 80% of a game is something you've never seen before.
And so because they're smaller, it enables them to take more risks. The developers typically have flatter structures, complete creative control. And so we see just like amazingly progressive games coming out from--
--excuse me, from the ID at Xbox program, or from developers in the ID at Xbox program. And then we actually sometimes see some of those innovations and some of those things they're trying move back to the AAA guys.
CHRIS CHARLA: And so it's really interesting to see how the industry pushes itself forward. Like there's always progression. And sometimes the progression comes from a large developer, or a large publisher doing something. And a lot of independents see that, and like, oh, we could do something else with that.
And then sometimes the innovation comes from an independent developer doing something. And folks at the large developer saying like, that's cool. Like we should think about that for our game.
LARRY: Yeah, I know. For instance, I was thinking about some of the things that the ID at Xbox program has helped us kind of really help develop, like the game preview program, or cross-platform play, or even cross-progression. Those are some things that really kind of, if I remember correctly-- correct me if I'm wrong. They kind of bubbled up from that area.
CHRIS CHARLA: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, devs came to us and said like, hey, we do early access on Steam. We do early access on our own. Like why can't we do early access on Xbox?
LARRY: Why can't we?
CHRIS CHARLA: And you know, it's a great question. And we took-- honestly, we took a few months to think about it, and to say like, well, how do we ensure there's consumer protection? How do we make sure players know what's going on? Because we think about that kind of thing a lot.
But once we got those questions answered we were like, let's go for it. And the same is true with cross-play. Like hey, you know, we have all these players on Xbox. But we have all these players on PlayStation. We have all these players on Switch. Like what are we doing?
And there was long conversations. And it's something that I think a lot of fans thought would never, ever happen. And then one day at GDC a few years ago we just announced like, oh, by the way, like if you want to do cross-play between Xbox and other consoles, like go for it.
LARRY: Have fun. Yeah.
CHRIS CHARLA: You know, we solved all the policy problems on our side to make sure we were maintaining safety for our players. And then we went for it.
LARRY: Yeah, 10 years. I mean, the other part of this is-- we talked about some of the innovation. But the other side is, what your team, the ID at Xbox program has pushed back into developers in terms of their success.
Like I know that there's like-- you've paid out billions of dollars, or something like that, right?
CHRIS CHARLA: Yeah, we have paid independent developers who are in the program-- sorry, I'm looking at my cat.
LARRY: That's OK. The cat can join us.
We like cats.
CHRIS CHARLA: I have cats too. He's very needy and he's very excited that I'm upstairs. But yes, sorry, we have paid independent developers more than $4 billion.
LARRY: With a B-- $4 billion.
CHRIS CHARLA: Yeah.
LARRY: That's amazing.
CHRIS CHARLA: That's a lot of money. Feels like it to me anyway.
And so we've seen developers achieve success that is really like life changing.
CHRIS CHARLA: Which is awesome.
LARRY: Yeah, I mean, first of all, I want to, again, congratulate for 10 years. I mean, you must-- you know, you wake up every day. And you're looking at games. And you're helping game developers really see their vision forward, and being able to ship it to gamers.
Where-- you know, and you talked a little bit about this in the blog post. Where are we going next?
CHRIS CHARLA: So I think it's-- to some extent, it's more and faster.
CHRIS CHARLA: Like our goal of making it easy to ship on Xbox is never done. Like we have a lot of work to do. But in other places, you know, we've talked to developers. And things are talking to us about and that we're working on with them really closely is discovery and other things.
And then one thing is, and we saw this a lot during the pandemic was that folks who were maybe new to the program didn't know who to reach out to talk about not just getting their game onto Xbox, but like the potential of doing a deal.
Like, hey, Game Pass has been one of the coolest things in the last, I don't even know. I'll say 10 years in gaming. And this is a great way to try tons of games. It's a great way for players to find a favorite game, and for developers to find their audience.
And folks are like, well, I don't know who to talk to if I want to get a game into Game Pass. And so we took that as really good feedback. And we actually announced publicly in the blog post the other day that we're now going to be-- we have a way that once you're in the ID at Xbox program, and you signed an NDA-- because we always make sure there's an NDA before we look at a concept. If you want to get a game into consideration for a deal, like to be in Game Pass or another deal, there's a place where you can just go and tell us about the game. And the exact same people who look at every other game concept that comes in will look at it.
So you no longer have to like-- you know, you don't have to know me. You don't have to know somebody else from the ID at Xbox program. If you want to get a game into consideration for a deal, you should be able to.
And that just speaks to our desire to be as fair as possible to all developers, to make sure everybody's got an equal shot at everything, and also just the fact that we have no idea where great games are going to come from. And we want to make sure we see as much as possible.
And as the program has grown, and we've grown from-- I think, at the first GDC in 2014 we talked about having 200 developers in the program. And we were really proud. Now there's like 4,600 developers in the program. And it's hard to know everybody personally.
And so as we want to make sure that we provide the same access to everyone, doing something like this we hope is really going to help there.
LARRY: Yeah, I mean, the reality is-- you've talked about the numbers. And they're staggering. But we really just want to bring as many games as we can to people that want to play them. And we want people to-- help them realize their vision, through we've got inclusive developer tools. We've got, you know, our play fab back end.
I mean, whether you want to do something crazy with Azure, or like you said, cross play, the sky's the limit in so many ways.
CHRIS CHARLA: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, we want to just-- and I mean, and the great thing is on Xbox, independent developers can do anything any other developer or publisher can do. There's nothing that-- you know, when you join ID at Xbox, and you get access to the Xbox documentation, there's not like a special section for the big guys or something. You can do anything.
LARRY: You're all reading the same stuff. Yeah.
CHRIS CHARLA: Yeah, and in fact, we've seen-- and we talked about it a second ago. A lot of the biggest policy changes over the last 10 years were driven by indies. And so we just want to enable developer success, and all with a vision to making sure that players, when they turn on their Xbox are just delighted every single time.
LARRY: It's a great program, ID at Xbox. I know you've got to go, because you're apparently your cat needs you.
Among other things.
CHRIS CHARLA: I just want do it.
LARRY: But no, I really appreciate you coming on. You're always welcome to come back on the show. We love hearing about independent developers. And Chris, any final words before I cut your free?
CHRIS CHARLA: No, thanks a lot. Just excited to have people play. And if you're a developer and you want to join the program, Xbox.com/ID.
LARRY: Now we are going to talk gaming sustainability. And joining us today-- I got to tell you, I'm so excited. I've had a lot of guests on this show. Trista Patterson, who's the director of gaming sustainability here at Xbox, welcome to the show.
TRISTA PATTERSON: Hey, Larry, thanks. Nice to be here.
LARRY: It is great to have you. I mean, this is a fascinating role that when I started in gaming many years ago, you know, we've made such strides. And to have a director of gaming sustainability is really amazing. And to have you as part of the team. Tell us a little bit about your background and your journey to team Xbox.
TRISTA PATTERSON: I think my journey to team Xbox was one of those wonderful, sharp right turns that one makes in your career. It's an opportunity to be able to follow kind of an intuition of a really powerful cultural place to make an impact worldwide, and to especially empower others to create their best work. So that has been really amazing to me.
I started out as a marine biologist long ago. So I'm trained in environmental sciences for many years. But I decided that I wanted something that would address the drivers of environmental change.
So I shifted and became an economist. I served as 10 years with the federal government as a senior economist with Department of Agriculture, and then moved to a support unit for UN environment called Grid, located in Southern Norway. And it was there where I first started looking at the impact in terms of communication mediums that were arising that were very far off United Nations' radar in terms of what was forming the most dynamic changes in the world. And the statistics from the gaming industry were absolutely undeniable and so intriguing to me.
And so as we went along, it took a lot of convincing within the UN system. But I wrote a report called "The Playing for the Planet Report." It's an assessment of the ways in which gaming was impacting the environment, but also the ways in which we can create powerful good using the gaming industry to create the change that we want to see.
And from that, we created the Playing for the Planet Alliance. And that was at the UN General Assembly in New York City in 2019. And it was there that we invited the CEOs of about 22 different AAA gaming companies, including Phil Spencer to come together across the industry and talk about the ways in which the gaming industry could create change especially, and action on the climate agenda.
LARRY: Now, first of all, I'm in awe. I feel like I shouldn't even be having this conversation, because I mean, you have such an incredible background, both academic and obviously in the political space. So to have you on team Xbox, working on such an important initiative, frankly, I'm just thrilled to have you here.
So let's talk a little bit about what we've announced at GDC this week. Because a lot of people think about GDC. They think game developers, and pixels, and getting high frame rates, and all the rest of that stuff. But tell us a little bit about what our announcements were this week.
TRISTA PATTERSON: Well, I think, as I was saying, throughout my career I've focused on those places, kind of like an acupuncture system, where you can create small locations of impact that then they ripple out, and they create dynamic transformation everywhere.
And the announcement that we've made at GDC this week has everything to do with that. For a long time the industry has maintained that there's really no gains to be found in greening game code. And that's because there's an enormous complexity between the hardware, the software, the electrical, and other engineering, the design, and then the game code itself that creates the power that is required in order to create the gaming experience.
And these are all laced up together. And it's a mess. Broadly considered, the industry decided that this was a completely intractable problem. In fact, publicly, within the Playing for the Planet Alliance it was considered even as of a month ago to be an impossible problem to solve.
And so what has been really a deep honor of mine has been to work with the engineers, and the designers, the facilitators, those that work with user and gamer experience to come up with a way to precision engineer the visual and analytical feedback that is needed for game developers to make changes to their code that will allow them to reduce energy consumption on the consoles in the living room of every gamer in the world. And that's really exciting.
TRISTA PATTERSON: And not only that. We'll be able to empower not just game developers within the Xbox gaming system, but also through the tooling and different products that we are releasing this week to the broader gaming industry. Then we are empowering and inviting the rest of the industry to use these insights, these case studies, these tools, and also inspire their own investigations in order to be able to create impact, no matter how small or large their gaming studio is.
LARRY: I mean, that is-- first of all, congratulations. That's an amazing feat to be able to almost do the impossible. When we think about-- you know, when gamers, and myself, and some other folks, they think about saving energy, they usually think about the work we've done with the console, and saving the energy-- we recently shipped the energy saver on the console. And I know you were involved with, which is a great feature.
But there's so much more, because it's kind of like what you want to accomplish, or what we all want to accomplish is kind of at odds with what gamers everywhere want. We want more power, because more power equals more pixels, and faster frame rates, and better images. So this is really a conversation that's almost at odds with each other, isn't it?
TRISTA PATTERSON: It can be. I think people consider it that way. But that's like the tip of the iceberg.
TRISTA PATTERSON: You see the conflict, that dichotomy. And that's the visible part. What you don't see is everything underneath, the underwater side of the iceberg. And the point that you made about all of the different pieces that go into creating these impacts, that's really important.
Because even though I'm sitting in a role of director of gaming sustainability, really all I do is help pull together the results from the United Nations of the gaming ecosystem all across Xbox, and also reaching into Microsoft, and in cooperation with the broader industry. It's more just facilitating the great work of others.
And so it's from this long time investment of not only the hardware engineering, but the electrical engineers that have been putting in just really top notch innovation, and studying this problem long over time. We have data engineers that have been embedding these systems in the reporting and certification processes.
We have specialists in publishing and user interface that are helping game developers interpret and use these results, and also helping that interface between the gamers themselves and the games they experience, because they have choices too.
And what's beautiful about the work that we're really focusing on is that it's a win-win proposition. These are areas of clear and silly waste that nobody knew existed. And it's just a matter of turning those stones to reveal those opportunities to as many people in as many different roles across the ecosystem as possible, to encourage and empower them to take action wherever they are.
And that's what's most powerful is that you can hire someone in the sustainability field. You can even have a sustainability team. But the thing is, in order to combat the climate crisis, this is a job for everyone. Every job is a climate job.
No one can do everything. Everyone can do something. But the onus is on us to create those really accessible, fun feedbacky, almost gamified type tools to help people do their best work.
LARRY: So first of all, amazing. The benefits we've got are twofold, because we always talk about benefits to developers and benefits to gamers. Talk a little bit about that from the developers' side and the gamers' side. And we've kind of talked around it a little bit, but let's put some bullets on it.
TRISTA PATTERSON: Well, if you think about a gamer that's looking-- this is a career defining opportunity for so many developers that are looking not just where they are now, but where their careers might be in the future.
TRISTA PATTERSON: As you can see, I come from hockey country.
So we say skate where the puck is going to be, not where it is now. And we know that from the best available science that climate issues are going to become more pronounced in the future. This is inevitable. There will be more energy price spikes. There are rolling blackouts that are currently affecting gamers all around the world.
There is a concern about taking personal action. And so from that standpoint, this is an opportunity for a game developer to, one, tackle a really gnarly problem, and dig their teeth into something meaty, right? I mean, if they work on this, if they solve this, they're dynamite. They're ace. We have the best in the business working on this.
But notably, this is a new area of innovation. So you don't have the old guard that are, you know, the gods of game development that have dominated that space. This is a disruptive area of technology innovation where newcomers from tiny studios, from any position in a gaming studio can find an opportunity and a foothold. And they can create ridiculous impact with very, very little investment. And I'm talking about 5% to 10% of their discretionary time, working in their off time, or a minuscule leftover budget that someone forgot about.
There's a lot of low hanging fruit there. It's an enormous leadership opportunity. And it's something that then positions the studios for enormous success in the future, because this is where the market is going to be.
LARRY: I mean, there's so much going on there, it's kind of hard to get your head around. When you joined-- you know, you worked in the different areas. And I think, if I remember reading a little bit about you before, you worked with marine biology. You worked with penguins, right? If I recall.
TRISTA PATTERSON: I did.
LARRY: We have to get you on for a penguin podcast. But when you were on this journey, what attracted you to gaming? Was it this-- you kind of alluded to it earlier. Was it a blind spot for global- for people in the UN? And you like, wow-- or are you a gamer? Tell me, what really turned you into this.
TRISTA PATTERSON: Well, let's face it. Gaming is not legitimized as a global communication or community agent that it is.
TRISTA PATTERSON: You know, it's a force of nature in and of itself. And it's growing rapidly. It's economically extraordinarily powerful. It has a momentum, especially because it taps into the youth, the creativeness, the positivity. That was something that was also really attractive to me, because I mean, in the environmental field things are going haywire right and left.
TRISTA PATTERSON: You know, it's a depressing field. If society focuses on everything going wrong all the time, and we're encountering stories of loss and destruction, it's true that statistically there are many, many challenges in front of us, but gaming opens up all of these remarkable creative problem solving. People have fun doing it. It's addictive.
It's something that is interactive. You can do it with your friends. It can open up new ideas. You can have fun doing things differently. I mean, you can have fun breaking things in a game.
And right now we're not having fun breaking the planet. How stupid is that? Let's have fun fixing it.
TRISTA PATTERSON: So that also has really drawn me to it, its positivity. The analytics in the engineering are also something of enormous elegance. And I really appreciate so much the depth and the breadth of experience. And also, when engineers get excited and geek out on things, that is really fun for me.
And so this is-- gaming, for me, offers a sweet spot from a lot of different perspectives.
LARRY: You know, it's interesting, cause I've worked at Xbox for a long time, as you know. And you're right. Engineers love hard problems.
And what you just described over the past few minutes is it's one of the hardest problems to solve, but it's also one that is going to have tremendous impact, not just for my kids and your kids, but their kids and beyond, generations to come. And we're at this point where we have to do it.
We talked about the tool kit that we released and some of the things you've talked about at GDC this week. Why is the tool kit important? I mean, you kind of explained that already. But let's kind of put a fine point on it. We'll put a bow on it.
TRISTA PATTERSON: For the developers, I think it offers something for everyone. So there is the game developer toolkit and the power monitoring tools. Again, they're super visual. There's GPU measurement. And there's-- well, we don't need to get into the alphabet soup.
There's the certification reports that will increasingly become available to more and more studios, not only inside the Xbox ecosystem, but these are going to become industry standard in the future.
TRISTA PATTERSON: There's power consumption dashboards. And then there's the guidance, and the best practices, and the case studies with a pilot program so that different game developers that bring together a group of specialists can get assistance in the toughest problems facing them.
That, I think, when you roll all that up, the analytics are just so good, and so-- the benefits are free for the taking. And that is an opportunity that is really hard for so many studios to pass up.
The other thing that I find really remarkable is that when a studio sees what a no brainer it is to Institute so many of these-- we call them energy bugs, to fix them, they fix them in a way that is not just reducing emissions on the Xbox console platform, but they're instituting improvements to the entire game code. And that game code then gets released to almost every other platform that they are releasing to in the future.
So those learnings then show tremendous leadership on the part of Xbox to create positive innovation industrywide. And that is something that I really appreciate. Because gaming sustainability is something that Xbox is very proud of and making big strides in.
But it's not the kind of thing that-- with climate, you can't beat your competitor at it. You have to kind of--
You have to compete against your own best self in every category.
TRISTA PATTERSON: And just like gaming-- we're saying gaming is for everyone. When everyone plays, everyone wins. Same goes for when everyone reduces energy and emissions, everyone on the planet wins. There's no doubt about it.
So this is a unifier. And that allows us to make tremendous gains. And it opens up new collaborative possibilities that didn't exist before. And that is also really exciting to me.
LARRY: You know, Trista, I mean, we could go on forever and ever. I want to have you back on the show again. Because this is-- you know, when you joined the team, you know, it was the beginning of our journey.
We were a little bit on the journey. But you've helped us focus and move forward. But this is a long term journey. And you know, there's so much work to be done here, of which it's a major moment this week with the release of the toolkit at GDC, and helping developers-- I mean, gamers right now-- I mean, we've talked about this on the podcast frequently. There's a lot of things you can do right now. And one of them is going to your console and turning on the energy saver mode, and start right there. Right? Because that's how you, like you said, Trista, everybody can make a little bit of a difference somewhere.
TRISTA PATTERSON: Exactly, exactly. And I would love to come back and have a chance to rave about so many of my team members and all of the remappable things that they're doing. Because they're, in and of themselves, the game changers.
And I think everybody listening to this podcast has an opportunity to create that change in whatever role they're in, wherever they are. And that is really cool, and really fun.
LARRY: It's amazing. And Trista, you are welcome to come on the show any time you'd like. Trista Patterson, director of gaming sustainability, so great to hear about the news from GDC this week. We're on a journey. Xbox is on a journey of sustainability.
You, the gamers, are with us. You, the developers are with us. And Trista is going to help us go there, right?
TRISTA PATTERSON: I'm happy to go right along with you, but you know, it's the momentum and energy from everyone around that really feeds me. It's exciting to be part of this group. Thanks so much.
JOE: Thank you so much to all our GDC interviewees. I loved that chat with Trista at the end there.
JOE: That sustainability-- like getting that sort of engineers I've-- well, I guess Trista isn't an engineer, but that engineering eye view of--
JOE: You know, we've done so much already to-- taken those steps to making carbon aware consoles, which was something I was writing about just after I joined. But that idea of like greening game code, and that matrix level view of this stuff, where you're kind of cleaning up power problems inside the code of games is wild. Like what an incredible undertaking.
LARRY: It's kind of one of the reasons we do what we do is we love working on projects like this. And Trista was great.
Of course, James was great talking about the accelerator program, and Kristin, and of course, Chris Charla is always a great talk. So thank you again. Thanks for getting us out there. But thanks for all of our guests for coming by GDC this week.
We've got a couple more things to do, and then we're going to wrap it up here for this show. Joe, first of all, I have to tell you, what a delight it's been having you on the show. Malik, you've also you've also brought it as well.
MALIK: Thank you. I'll take it.
MALIK: I will say, Joe's mustache, I feel like I got to step my game up. That mustache is--
JOE: Aw, yeah.
MALIK: It's great, Joe.
JOE: Thank you so much. I mean, it's taken me full years to get to this point. I'm sure it won't take you as long to match it. But it's staying for now.
You know, no matter how many people are like, why is Mario working at Xbox, I'm just going to keep it.
MALIK: I like that. I like that.
LARRY: Anyway, a couple things. As we talked about, GDC-- none of us are at GDC this week. But I am actually headed-- depending upon when you're listening to this show. If you're listening to it early, or like the moment it gets released, I'm headed out to Boston. And this is actually brand new information, for Pax East.
We are going to do-- we're not-- Xbox isn't on the show floor proper, but we're going to do a little pop up event Thursday night. I don't know where. I don't when. But keep an eye on my Twitter @MajorNelson. And I'll tweet out when I'm on the airplane on my way over. I'm leaving Thursday morning, so once I know what's going on there.
But I will tell you this.
MALIK: Uh-oh. The gloves are out, Joe. You know what that means.
LARRY: So I'm going to tell you this. I'm going to tell you this. And Joe, this probably doesn't mean anything for you because you're in the UK. But let me get my-- let me get ready to go full screen here is--
MALIK: Lots of suspense. Oh, my God. My heart--
LARRY: Well, here's-- this is actually really cool. When I tweet out wherever this event is going to be, this little Pax event-- it'll be probably in the evening, Thursday night in Boston. We're going to give away some Game Pass codes. But we are going to bring some of these with us.
LARRY: So now, these-- in case you're wondering what these are-- clearly you know what it is. But these are special Xbox Oreos that we're selling only in Europe, and specifically I think there are certain regions in Europe. You can't even get these in the US.
And Joe, have you picked these up at your local Tesco?
JOE: I have. I needed this special Oreo Sea of Thieves--
JOE: Sea of Thieves masks.
LARRY: But we've got a bunch of these we're going to give away at this event. In fact, I don't know if you can see, but the A, B, X, Y and the Xbox logo are on the little cookies themselves. Did I get you a roll of these, Malik?
MALIK: No, you haven't. And I will say, I think it's hilarious that you have the gloves out for something that wouldn't show fingerprints. I love-- is peek Major Nelson. I love it.
LARRY: Well, I want to-- you know, when I do this, I want to show respect, respect to the Oreos. Anyway, we're going to have some of those to hand out, and a few other things as well.
So keep an eye on my Twitter, @MajorNelson. Pax this weekend, we're kind of getting back into the live event scene. We've been out because of COVID for a few years. We're going to try a couple things, and I'd love to meet you. So there you go.
So anyway, we're going to wrap things up here. Joe, anything you want to say before the sun comes through and kisses you on the face?
JOE: Yes, it's really getting-- I mean, you talk about vampires for two minutes.
LARRY: Look at the--
JOE: Just sucks the sun in your face.
LARRY: That is bold.
JOE: Yeah, no, I am delighted to have been a part of this week's Xbox Podcast. I would love to come back if I've acquitted myself well enough.
LARRY: Oh, I think you have. You've more than-- you and your mustache will be welcome back any time. I know, but to be clear, I don't want to take you away from your work on Xbox Wires, because you're doing some amazing work over there. So I want to thank you for all that.
JOE: That's very kind.
LARRY: So yeah, you can absolutely come back again. Malik, you're always welcome back when you can press A and play a game.
MALIK: Thanks. Next time you see me, I'll be in Miami.
LARRY: Anyway, all right, gang. We're going to come back next week. I don't know who's going to be here, maybe Jeff, maybe Malik, maybe just-- we may be just copy, paste for next week right here. But we'll be back next week. We got a bunch of stuff I'm working on, more interviews, more fun. So on behalf of everybody here at Xbox, thank you for liking and subscribing, and thumbs up, and hitting the bell, and leaving a comment, and all that nonsense that YouTube loves.
Just a quick reminder, if you're listening-- did my video just leave?
JOE: God, your signal's gone.
LARRY: My signal's gone.
MALIK: You disappeared.
LARRY: Wow, OK, well, then we're going to go-- I feel like we should just-- hold on a minute. I don't even know what's going on here. Clearly my camera decided not-- by the way, it's never done this before, so I'm a little puzzled as to why it did this.
MALIK: It heard you wrapping the show and it was like, all right, let's go.
LARRY: Anyway, yeah, we're just going to go there, and the voiceover. The irony is, as I was about to say before we closed out is that if you're listening to this on anywhere else, we do have video on YouTube and Spotify. So the irony that it killed my camera at that exact moment is not lost on me.
So anyway, thank you, gang. Do you guys have anything you want to say before I let them stop looking at your beautiful faces?
JOE: I really hope you fix your camera.
That's basically it.
MALIK: I think that's perfect.
LARRY: All right, gang. We'll see you guys next week, maybe, maybe not. You'll definitely hear us. We'll talk to you later. Bye bye.