Project Moorcroft: Xbox wants to replicate E3 by bringing game demos to Game Pass

With Project Moorcroft, Xbox wants to recreate the E3 experience in your living room. Microsoft announced its new game initiative today, with the platform holder working with developers to bring curated demos of upcoming games to Xbox Game Pass. 

Sarah Bond, corporate vice president of Game Creator Experience & Ecosystem at Microsoft Gaming, says that Project Moorcroft is a result of the Xbox team reminiscing about its favorite conferences, and the connection that has been lost as a result of the pandemic putting in-person events on hold. 

“It used to be that you’d go to E3, you’d go to PAX, and you would go visit some of your favorite creators, and they would have a piece or a level of a game that you could sit there and play. And there would be someone from the studio like right next to you in your ear, saying ‘press that button, go under there, do that stuff.’ You would get to experience the game, and they would get to generate excitement about what they’re building and what’s coming next.”

“Those opportunities are getting smaller and smaller, and more difficult to replicate. And they’re especially difficult for indie developers – smaller studios that don’t have as much resource, necessarily, to put on their own show and attract a big audience,” Bond continues. “So we said, you know what, why don’t we take Game Pass and make it like the Show Floor?”

In development demos


No demos have been confirmed for Project Moorcroft yet, and there’s an initial focus on indie, but we hope this means that early access to upcoming first-party games like Avowed will come eventually.  (Image credit: Obsidian Entertainment)

Project Moorcroft is set to begin rolling out within the next year, with Microsoft’s initial focus on providing independent developers with a platform to showcase small sections of their game to the public via Game Pass. Not only as a way to “generate excitement for what’s coming” but also to help studios gain “really valuable feedback as they are tuning and preparing their game for launch.” 

Microsoft Gaming is yet to detail what demos or levels will be made available as the program begins to roll out into Game Pass, although the platform holder has acknowledged that this type of initiative has inherent hidden cost for developers. “Demos are great,” begins Matt Booty, head of Xbox Game Studios, “as developers we love them – we get the game out early and into the hands of players. But they are also work, and it’s work that tends to show up when you’re trying to get the game done.” 

Bond says that participating developers will be compensated for participating in Project Moorcroft. “We’ve set up the program and structured it so that the developers actually get financial compensation for the game and actually benefits them financially, and also get the benefit of the great feedback as well.” No further details were provided on how this will function in practice, although Microsoft has some experience in this area following the ongoing development of the Game Pass subscription service – which is known to pay developers by inclusion or engagement, depending on the agreement in place. 

That’s all we know about Project Moorcroft at this stage. But if you’ve ever been curious about the sort of in-development demos and early game builds that are typically made available to the press when a game is traveling down the long road to release, you’ll soon be able to try some of them for yourself. 

We’re set for more Xbox news out of the Xbox and Bethesda conference this weekend during E3 2022. If you want to tune in, check out the E3 2022 schedule for more details.

About Fox

Check Also

Why did Baldurs Gate 3 blow up? Larian lead writer says its thanks to “a big gamble” with CRPG standards

Why did Baldur’s Gate 3 blow up the way it did? We put the question …

Leave a Reply