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March 7, 2021
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Phil Spencer talks how Xbox teams are weathering remote work in the lead-up to Series X

Phil Spencer talks how Xbox teams are weathering remote work in the lead-up to Series X

April 2, 2020 | By Alissa McAloon

“Things right now aren't easy…I can feel it in the teams​​. They're stretched.”

- Xbox head Phil Spencer talks about how Xbox teams are handling the sudden swap to entirely remote development.

Many formerly on-location game studios made a quick switch to instead support remote workforces, as is the case with both Xbox’s software and hardware development teams. But the transition isn’t a painless one in many cases.

Xbox head Phil Spencer spoke with IGN about how that process is going for the company three weeks in with the launch of an entirely new console generation scheduled for later this year.

“There’s a level of uncertainty,” Spencer says, explaining that prolonged stretches of work-from-home are something entirely new for him and most every developers now operating from their living spaces. “We’re learning every day what this is like, and different teams are at different parts in their schedule.”

The game development side is particularly difficult so far—“building a video game from home [with] a large distributed team of hundreds of people is not easy” —but Spencer tells IGN that the safety and security of those developers is the priority.

“We have nothing right now that says we're not going to make the dates we've been planning but I'll also say this is real-time stuff,” he says. If a major release like Halo were to be delayed, it wouldn’t delay the launch of the Xbox Series X, which itself is seeing positive movement as supply chains in China start to resume operations after their own COVID-19 cautionary measures.

“We’re all just trying to pull together and get through it.”

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