Phil Spencer thinks RTX has ‘spotty’ impact on gaming


Xbox boss Phil Spencer believes that ray tracing has a “spotty” influence on the gaming experience. He also thinks 8K might never become a standard in video games.

Spencer says he believes ray tracing has not created a massive impact on gamers right now, in a recent interview. He also thinks that 8K is still years away, calling it “aspirational technology.” The Xbox head honcho is likely right, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t coming.

Ray tracing is yet to live on its promise

So far, ray tracing is nothing more but a fancy way to make graphics look better. While this is important to some people, Xbox and Microsoft are looking for a more holistic approach. For example, Spencer preached how not everything is about raw performance.

He details how many players on the Game Pass opted for better fidelity on their games. By sacrificing a few god rays here and there, players could create a better, more reactive experience.

“When I think about games where ray-tracing has had a dramatic impact on my experience as a player,” said Spencer, “it’s kind of spotty.” He’s right.

There’s very little evidence that better graphics always means better immersion. Games like Minecraft and Spelunky are immersive experiences, even with their sprite graphics. While Minecraft now has RTX, it doesn’t take away from its immersive experience.

8K is still “aspirational technology”

The Xbox Series X also has the potential for 8K in some games, but it locked it at 4K60fps. The reasoning behind it is the fidelity that Phil Spencer and the company want for their games. He even believes that the tech is years away.

“I think 8K is aspirational technology,” said Spencer. “The display capabilities of devices are not really there yet. I think we’re years away from 8K being—if it ever is—standard in video games.”

Spencer believes, however, that tech advance with immediate benefits is the variable refresh rate. Having games go up to 120Hz and even support 144Hz and 240Hz is crucial.

The entire schtick for Xbox’s approach to games is decentralizing the ecosystem. Rather than focus on performance, the whole team is now focusing on “choice.” They’re looking to make the transition to having games everywhere.

“The other competitive platforms really aren’t interested in having a full Xbox experience on their hardware,” said Spencer. “But for us, we want to be where gamers want to be, and that’s the path that we’re on.”

Phil Spencer and Xbox are betting that gamers want more choices and better immersion. They’re looking to push that beyond its boundaries, so they should hope they’re right.

Featured image courtesy of The Game Awards/Youtube Screenshot

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