Xbox Boss Phil Spencer Wants Gamers to be the "Center of our Decisions"

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Xbox Boss Phil Spencer Wants Gamers to be the "Center of our Decisions"

Phil Spencer

In a Gamescon interview with Eurogamer, Phil Spencer discussed the PS4, Wii U, and Xbox's focus moving forward.

Console wars have certainly become more gentlemanly in recent years, and in an interview with Eurogamer Head of Xbox Phil Spencer proved it when he praised both Sony and Nintendo.

"Sony's had great success with PlayStation, they've earned that success over multiple decades of building a great product. Kudos to them for their market position," Spencer said. He also had some kind words for the Wii U, calling Nintendo a "beacon" for first party titles. "On the Wii U, I think people downplay how many units they've sold. I've got a Wii U, I think there's some great games on there. I think Splatoon's a really nice game and I don't think there's a first-party out there that has the strength of IP that Nintendo has. They're always a beacon to me when I look at what it means to build a first-party portfolio of products, they've done a great job."

Despite offering plenty of praise for his competitors, Spencer asserted that his focus, and the focus of the company in general, would not be on their competitors but rather the Xbox One and, most importantly, gamers.

"I see nothing but opportunity in front of us. The console space is so healthy right now - and that's also not a terminal point you can write about anymore, the death of the console! - it's nice to see Sony doing well, PlayStation 4 and Xbox is selling more than we've ever sold before. That health is great. I really think about us coming, more about putting the gamer at the centre of our decisions over the next 12 months, and less centred on specific ties to any platform that those people want to play on. It's such a huge opportunity. We have a unique position being both the Windows company and the Xbox company, that allows us to go do more."

This is a welcome change of perspective from June 2013, when Microsoft's then-President of Interactive Entertainment Business Don Mattrick responded to concerns regarding the Xbox One's internet connectivity requirements by saying "We have a product for people who aren't able to get some form of connectivity; it's called Xbox 360."

[Source: Eurogamer]

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See, the funny thing is, we've heard this before. And then we got the Xbox One. and that Don Mattrick quote.

It's not a refreshing change of pace. It's the same old marketing.

"I see nothing but opportunity in front of us. The console space is so healthy right now - and that's also not a terminal point you can write about anymore, the death of the console!"

I see it's Comedy Hour again at Microsoft.

The two biggest "next gen" consoles (Xbone and PS4) are so close to PCs in hardware that it'd be a semantic difference, if not for the all the extra limitations and gotchas built into them.

But even beyond that, the sentiment of wanting to put your customers' needs first rings hollow.
What reason do I, or anyone have to take you at your word?

It took concerted market backlash to provoke the now infamous "Xbone 180"; which basically meant offering a product similar but ultimately inferior to Sony's PS4 (which itself isn't all that impressive).

You want to get gamers' trust, then try to fragging EARN IT; and stop trying to twist their arms for whatever stupid gotcha schemes you want.

It's always nice hearing this stuff, but it'll be really nice if they actually followed through on this.

It's not what we want that they should be listening to - When it comes to consumer opinions, few have a genuine idea on how to improve an existing product or service. It's what we are tired of that needs to be heard.

One particular complaint I have with corporate-owned development is the complete lack of restraint towards riding the coattails of a genre due to a very successful game. If Microsoft can learn not go the direction of the crowd and follow its own way, creating the confidence in genuine titles that don't try to pull from similar successful games or software, they might just find a lot more respect from consumers.

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Yeah, that's my piece on this. There is no way in hell Phil Spencer wants gamers to be the center of their decisions, we're just a number, and they want to drain us of every little dime we have. We ain't falling for it Philly. Children might, but not me!

He certainly appears to sound more palatable than Don. I like his attitude even though I still have no desire to buy an Xbox One.

Zachary Amaranth:
See, the funny thing is, we've heard this before. And then we got the Xbox One. and that Don Mattrick quote.

It's not a refreshing change of pace. It's the same old marketing.

Not saying that Phil Spencer is going to be our saviour but so for he is no Don Mattrick, I still dont understand how that guy has a job. First EA and all the terrible stuff (still there since the current CEO isnt any good too), then Xbox with the shit of an end to the 360 life cycle (no games) and the Xbox One, to then go to Zynga and fuck everything they owned.

At least Spencer is showing the focus on games, the 2015/2016 line up is rather good.

Good. Though you'll have to work hard to get rid of the Don Mattrick stink with a lot of people, as this thread proves.

Certainly a lot more happy with Spencer at the helm.

Hey, it might be rhetoric, but ok with what Phil Spencer is doing now.

Everyone needs to put out good spin. That's the nature of business. Very rarely will you see a company tell it like it is. However, in gaming now we have so much animosity pointed to us as gamers by developers and publishers (from Ubisoft calling all PC gamers pirates, to the defense of on disc DLC, to companies telling us that we should be happy to pay forty extra dollars for what would have been just shipped on the disc 7 years ago..).

It actually feels good to see that someone remembers that they are supposed to actually be freaking pleasant to us as customers.

Now, that isn't the entire battle. Now it's time to back it up. But it felt good that someone remembered the natural order.

josemlopes:

At least Spencer is showing the focus on games, the 2015/2016 line up is rather good.

Unfortunately, this isn't particularly new, either.

Microsoft is now in a struggle where it thought it would dominate. Great. For now, they're going to pull out all the stops. Games. Backwards compatibility. Blackjack. Hookers. But it was the ubiquity of the 360 that caused that. Not necessarily in sales, as the PS3 actually managed to take second place by the end of it as the current gen, but in terms of sales plus software. When they thought they were on top, they changed their tunes. Hell, they may have prompted their own end-years decline, given they took focus of development of exclusives (save for the Halos and the like).

Even if they've got good games coming out soon, I wouldn't count on it to last. This is great for now, but Microsoft has already pulled the "got your money, now piss off" deal.

Zachary Amaranth:
See, the funny thing is, we've heard this before. And then we got the Xbox One. and that Don Mattrick quote.

It's not a refreshing change of pace. It's the same old marketing.

At the very least. The PR department are doing their job properly now. I mean since the "Always online catastrophy" at the very least xbone is trying to keep themselves in a good light. Whather we believe them or not.

I wonder what they would really say if they weren't rolling around in money. If we're so important, how about making everything really convenient, including for those who don't want to use certain features? Can they do that?

Personally, I have a Wii U for the exclusives (a sucker for Nintendo games), but I'll skip the PS4 and XBox1 because I have a PC for my non-Nintendo urges and very few titles appeal to me. Also, I was tempted to get another console but I think I'll sit this one out and wait for the next generation that will hopefully have better resolution and framerate.

Phil Spencer could very well be genuine but the corporate structure of Microsoft will never actually allow this sort of sentiment with for the Xbox to go very far. It's all just public relations, and public relations is just a gentler word for propaganda.

I think this is the third time I say this regarding what Microsoft people say in recent memory, but words are cheap.

But I thought gamers were dead? Or is it that everyone and their grandmother is a "gamer" now? Argh... I can't keep up with this nonsense.

Anyway, MS did shift their focus more into games, and away from TV and Kinect after Don Mattrick stepped out. So that's at least one good thing they did, right?

That's cool, but the Xbone's ui and architecture is still so god awful I physically can't do half the things I want to do (that the console actually supports). How bout we make streamlining that bad boy a priority?

I guess they rate "healthy" by the ratio of increasingly shameless lies to regretted unrefundable purchases.

Or as the industry calls it, "creating value".

okay... okay... why start now though?

if true, thats cool, but history has taught us that they say something pro-consumer right before they dislodge a metaphorical shoe up our metaphorical asses.

I don't believe for a second they have any interest in making PC gamers first. I'll believe it when I see quality ports of their major exclusive titles and new releases, but what's going to happen even then is they're going to have a few token titles that're going to somehow be tied into Windows 10 bullshit money-grab/monopoly schemes, and still have everything else on the ecksbawks.

After the Xboner 180, I don't believe good-faith consumer friendliness is even possible.

No way are they going to put any of their titles on Steam where it can be put up to the scrutiny of a proper refund policy. They're going to use that stupid Windows 10 app store. It's going to be even worse than Games For Windows Live.

Really? Well then, step down and hire me as your new CEO, or Caramel Frappe, or any other decent/knowledgeable gamer/forum-goer. Or just fire your entire boardroom and pick up Escapists at random to fill the void. You will get him gamer-centric decisions, guaranteed.

FalloutJack:
Really? Well then, step down and hire me as your new CEO, or Caramel Frappe, or any other decent/knowledgeable gamer/forum-goer. Or just fire your entire boardroom and pick up Excapists at random to fill the void. You will get him gamer-centric decisions, guaranteed.

OK, this is just too much. Please tell me you're being sarcastic. You're being sarcastic, right?

Arnoxthe1:

FalloutJack:
Really? Well then, step down and hire me as your new CEO, or Caramel Frappe, or any other decent/knowledgeable gamer/forum-goer. Or just fire your entire boardroom and pick up Excapists at random to fill the void. You will get him gamer-centric decisions, guaranteed.

OK, this is just too much. Please tell me you're being sarcastic. You're being sarcastic, right?

Half-and-half. I'm not serious, but you WOULD get decisions made BY gamers, regardless of how good or bad it is.

Lufia Erim:

At the very least. The PR department are doing their job properly now. I mean since the "Always online catastrophy" at the very least xbone is trying to keep themselves in a good light. Whather we believe them or not.

Before the Xbone, it didn't matter what the PR department was doing, they got crapped on. Now, all they have to do to get praise is to do what they did before that everyone hated.

It just seems like thanking someone for not punching you in the face.

christ, I thought I was cynical until I read some of these posts!

Good ol' Phil here seems to be speaking a lot of sense since that other dude left (what was his name? The guy who left for Zynga), I'm used to all kinds of upper management having a theoretical working of their business... I'm sure you know what I mean, managers are making decisions that workers think are insane, it's what shows like undercover boss are about.

Phil seems to be at least somewhat aware that for games to be successful and make them a boat load of cash, is to listen to what gamers what and give them that. Just by saying this shows that it is better to listen to gamers, than to listen to a board of directors.

omega 616:
christ, I thought I was cynical until I read some of these posts!

Good ol' Phil here seems to be speaking a lot of sense since that other dude left (what was his name? The guy who left for Zynga), I'm used to all kinds of upper management having a theoretical working of their business... I'm sure you know what I mean, managers are making decisions that workers think are insane, it's what shows like undercover boss are about.

Phil seems to be at least somewhat aware that for games to be successful and make them a boat load of cash, is to listen to what gamers what and give them that. Just by saying this shows that it is better to listen to gamers, than to listen to a board of directors.

When your track record is a really long shitstain, cynicism is to be expected. They deserve it.

Lizzy Finnegan:

"I see nothing but opportunity in front of us. The console space is so healthy right now - and that's also not a terminal point you can write about anymore, the death of the console! - it's nice to see Sony doing well, PlayStation 4 and Xbox is selling more than we've ever sold before. That health is great. I really think about us coming, more about putting the gamer at the centre of our decisions over the next 12 months, and less centred on specific ties to any platform that those people want to play on. It's such a huge opportunity. We have a unique position being both the Windows company and the Xbox company, that allows us to go do more."

I like Phil and i get that he needs to sell his consoles but what the flying fuck is this?

Console space is the least healthy it has been since the american crash and it is literally dieing by people constantly leaving consoles due to their limitations. Yes, you are selling more units because there are more gamers around. you should look at market share instead, which is dwindling for consoles. and quite swiftly.
Putting gamer at the center of your decision? well that would be the first for microsoft. too bad you ARE tied down to a platform you want them to play it on. Oh and windows gaming was abandoned by micorosft years ago and exists DESPITE microsoft, not because of it.

Games should be the primary discussion when taking about a gaming console ? No way that too radical for me.

What a numpty, of corse they should be its a gaming console . Idiot.

Nazulu:
I wonder what they would really say if they weren't rolling around in money. If we're so important, how about making everything really convenient, including for those who don't want to use certain features? Can they do that?

If they weren't rolling in money, xbox would be dead. It's been making a loss since it started. You can't sustain a game devision that's been making a loss for 3 generations running without having deep pockets.

CrystalShadow:

Nazulu:
I wonder what they would really say if they weren't rolling around in money. If we're so important, how about making everything really convenient, including for those who don't want to use certain features? Can they do that?

If they weren't rolling in money, xbox would be dead. It's been making a loss since it started. You can't sustain a game devision that's been making a loss for 3 generations running without having deep pockets.

Really? The first Xbox wasn't even successful? I was sure they were doing great back then with the rise of Halo. I know they weren't doing as well with the 360 because of the red ring, but it was still loved by many. And we know all about the Xbone.

I guess they were pinning it all down to their dream innovation, which couldn't have been executed more poorly.

Nazulu:

CrystalShadow:

Nazulu:
I wonder what they would really say if they weren't rolling around in money. If we're so important, how about making everything really convenient, including for those who don't want to use certain features? Can they do that?

If they weren't rolling in money, xbox would be dead. It's been making a loss since it started. You can't sustain a game devision that's been making a loss for 3 generations running without having deep pockets.

Really? The first Xbox wasn't even successful? I was sure they were doing great back then with the rise of Halo. I know they weren't doing as well with the 360 because of the red ring, but it was still loved by many. And we know all about the Xbone.

I guess they were pinning it all down to their dream innovation, which couldn't have been executed more poorly.

No, say what you will about it, but gamers have a habit of viewing 'success' of consoles in terms of their market-share.

Problem is, if you are making a loss, it doesn't matter what your market share is, you're still going to fail eventually.

That's for instance why Nintendo was never in trouble even though both the N64 and Gamecube 'lost' their respective generations.
Because, in spite of that, they made consistent profits the whole way through even when they were supposedly 'losing'.

Xbox meanwhile, has been nothing but a massive cash sink for microsoft up to this point.

The Original Xbox cost them much more than they ever made from it.
The 360 wasn't as bad (perhaps made worse by the red-ring fiasco), but it effectively was still a financial loss to Microsoft.

The Xbox One has probably been a loss so far, but that's neither here nor there, because it's still early in the generation, and many console launches start out costing more than they bring in.
But... Basically, making a loss so consistently for more than a decade would have killed a smaller company without the resources that Microsoft has to hand...

Sony on the other hand, is in the opposite situation. The playstation division is very profitable, but much of the rest of their company is anything but.

It's ironic that in financial terms, a specialist gaming company (Nintendo) was for a while arguably a bigger, more stable company than an international electronics giant. (Sony).

But that has nothing to do with Playstation, because that's going great. It's the rest of Sony that's a complete mess.
Xbox on the other hand, costs Microsoft more than it makes.
It's clear they're trying to work on some kind of long-term strategy, but it's also clear they need the rest of Microsoft behind them to ever get there...

"I see nothing but opportunity in front of us. The console space is so healthy right now"

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA Ahhh Phil...your always good for a laugh...

Phil Spencer seems like he'd be a pretty great guy were it not for the whole "I am secretly an alien robot out to scout your collection of watches and indie game themed t-shirts for my home planet" thing he has going on. And working at XBox. That also sucks.

The console space is so healthy right now

This is kind of like saying "the unemployment space is so healthy right now", really sad.

more about putting the gamer at the centre of our decisions over the next 12 months

I'm not sure which is sadder, the fact that he will just spew bullshit without batting an eyelid or even dying a bit inside (I guess you need to have a soul for that) or the fact that he claims that the lowest common denominator should be making the decisions.

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