Matt Booty Age of Booty
Official Xbox Magazine|February 2020
AS XBOX ENTERS ITS MOST IMPORTANT YEAR FOR A DECADE, WE SIT DOWN WITH HEAD OF MICROSOFT STUDIOS MATT BOOTY TO CHAT ABOUT THE NEXTGEN XBOX, HOW MUCH LIFE THE XBOX ONE STILL HAS LEFT AND WHY GAME PASS IS CHANGING THE INDUSTRY
DAVE MEIKLEHAM / JOSH WEST

Forget what the Chinese Zodiac says. Eastern calendars will tell you 2020 is the Year Of The Rat, but any clued-in Xbox fan knows it’s really the 366 Of Xbox Series X. This is perhaps the most important year in Xbox history, as Microsoft juggles the launch of its next-gen console with existing hardware commitments. The Redmond giant also has a stream of new IPs in development, not to mention the nevermore-ambitious Xbox Game Pass to nurture. Take all these demands into account, and it’s no wonder Matt Booty is the busiest man in the biz. The head of Xbox Game Studios started his 25-plus-year career as sound department manager at Williams Electronics Games before rising through the ranks of Midway. Now he’s in charge of running all of Microsoft’s first-party studios, and we caught up with Booty to talk Scarlett (before the announcement that it would be called Xbox Series X), the future of Xbox One, and just how much Xbox Game Pass could change the industry going forward.

Since 2018, Microsoft has acquired seven studios and created two others, growing the Xbox Game Studios portfolio to 15 first-party teams. You’ve said now’s the time to start delivering on that growth – how strong is Microsoft’s position as we head into 2020?

This will maybe be a bit nerdy, but you know how a nuclear reactor works, right? You take all this uranium and put it together, and then at some point it starts to just spontaneously put off energy, right? When we think about these 15 studios that we now have – we’ve been on this journey of working with new creators. We’ve been on this journey of bringing them into the fold. At some point, you wake up one day and realise we have got this critical mass, this nuclear reactor, now, that’s starting to glow, right? How do we make sure that we get behind that, to deliver going forwards? We feel really good heading into 2020. We’ve got a goal of being able to deliver a game roughly every three to four months. We have a bit of work to get there… it’ll be lumpy, but we’re closer than we were. And so we feel good going into 2020, and the run-up to Scarlett, with our content line-up.

Integrating new teams into an existing corporate structure is no easy task. How do you balance the investment of time required and the eventual results you hope to achieve?

There’s just a reality that acquiring a studio requires focus, because we want to make sure that [the devs are] well supported and have the resources they need. So that’s just been a reality of where we’ve been spending our time. But it’s really exciting to see we’ve now got this collection of leaders. I think I mentioned at some point that if you stop and add up how long Tim Schafer’s been in the industry, and Nina [Kristensen], and you’ve got Bonnie Ross and Alan Hartman – it’s like several hundred years of experience, right? And they’re all based around studios that were really set up around game design and the creator. There’s ways you can have a business leader, a finance leader, a market leader – but most of our studios started out from a creative leadership approach. So we feel excited. I feel like we’ve got a good critical mass of content, and a critical mass of studio capacity. And now we’ve got this thing running, the job is to make sure that they’re supported going forward.

How has Microsoft’s strategy changed with respect to investment in first and third-party studios? It feels like Xbox was putting more focus on third-party relationships at the beginning of the generation but now the inverse seems true.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINEView All

Revved up and ready to go

EA hands the wheel of Need For Speed back over to Criterion Games

2 mins read
Official Xbox Magazine
April 2020

The Elder Scrolls Online: Greymoor

Return to Tamriel’s frigid North this summer Chris Burke

3 mins read
Official Xbox Magazine
April 2020

Remothered: Broken Porcelain

We’re going potty for this cult classic survival horror sequel

2 mins read
Official Xbox Magazine
April 2020

Yakuza 0 Yakuza Kiwami Yakuza Kiwami 2

Triple trouble: Sega’s crime drama trio brings glorious thug‑thumping action to Xbox

3 mins read
Official Xbox Magazine
April 2020

Mosaic

ALL AROUND ME ARE FAMILIAR OFFICE SPACES

4 mins read
Official Xbox Magazine
April 2020

The Falconeer

Savouring the joys of flight with an indie that’s living on a (gigantic) wing and a prayer

2 mins read
Official Xbox Magazine
April 2020

10 Best Multiplayer Games

From shooters to kitchen chaos, these titles are best played with friends

6 mins read
Official Xbox Magazine
April 2020

THE PROMISED 'LANDS

With so many great games competing for our time, how do you keep gamers locking and loading? Gearbox’s looter-shooter, Borderlands 3, knows how…

6 mins read
Official Xbox Magazine
March 2020

RIP & TEAR

ID'S LATEST ENTRY IN THE ICONIC OLD-SCHOOL SHOOTER SERIES IS IN A DIFFERENT CLASS. OXM GETS HANDS-ON WITH THE GAME, TO LEARN SOME VALUABLE LESSONS FROM THE FPS MASTERS.

10+ mins read
Official Xbox Magazine
March 2020

Untitled Goose Game

INDIE PRANKSTER EARNS ALL THE LAUGHS THROUGH WATERFOWL PLAY

4 mins read
Official Xbox Magazine
March 2020
RELATED STORIES

Twobird

Get your email under control: this is Gmail done right

2 mins read
Mac Life
February 2021

MICROSOFT SAYS HACKERS VIEWED SOURCE CODE, DIDN'T CHANGE IT

Microsoft said in a blog pos t that hackers tied to a massive intrusion of dozens of U.S. government agencies and private companies sneaked further into its systems than previously thought, although the intrusion doesn’t appear to have caused any additional harm.

1 min read
Techlife News
Techlife News #480

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate tip: How to get 3 years of access to hundreds of games for dirt cheap

This incredible deal is still possible, but who knows how long it’ll stick around.

6 mins read
PCWorld
January 2021

How DirectX 12 Ultimate supercharges graphics on Windows PCs and Xbox

DirectX 12 Ultimate serves as a force multiplier for the entire gaming ecosystem.

7 mins read
PCWorld
January 2021

XBOX: TAKING YOUR PLAY TO THE NEXT LEVEL WITH SERIES X

XBOX: TAKING YOUR PLAY TO THE NEXT LEVEL WITH SERIES X

6 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #479 *Special Edition

ZOOM: THRIVING IN A VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENT

As billions of professionals tackle the transition from working in an office environment to staying productive at home, software like Zoom has exploded in popularity, climbing from 10 million daily users to 300 million.

6 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #479 *Special Edition

Back To School: Return To The Classroom Safely

Five months on from the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and policymakers and public health officials have decided it’s time to return to the classroom. Around the world, schools and colleges are preparing for a new semester, and though environments may be different, one thing is clear: teachers and students will be depending on technology more than ever.

7 mins read
AppleMagazine
AppleMagazine #479 *Special Edition

CONSOLE BATTLE: PS5 AND XBOX SERIES X FIGHTING TO BE CHRISTMAS #1

With the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 launching this month, it’s never been a more exciting time to be a gamer. In today’s COVID climate, these next-gen consoles open up new worlds and experiences that take players on immersive adventures away from reality. But deciding whether to pledge your allegiance to Sony or Microsoft is their first challenge…

7 mins read
AppleMagazine
December 25, 2020

That Hack Is the Sound of Inevitability

A massive data breach is a reminder that in all corners of cyberspace, the advantage is with the attackers

6 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
December 28 - January 04, 2021

ROZ BREWER

“I ALWAYS FEEL LIKE IF A BARISTA IS MAKING COFFEE, I SHOULD BE DOING SOMETHING.”

3 mins read
Fast Company
Winter 2020/2021