Xbox Boss More Focused on Regaining Trust Than Beating PlayStation 4

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Xbox Boss More Focused on Regaining Trust Than Beating PlayStation 4

"Regaining that trust and that mindshare with the customer, the gamer, is incredibly difficult."

The PlayStation 4 is, and has been, outselling the Xbox One since nearly day one, with trouble from the disastrous announcement of the Xbox One leaving many gamers hesitant to place their trust in the console, and the company. At the 2015 GeekWire Summit, Xbox Boss Phil Spencer explained that he is focusing on rebuilding trust in the Xbox brand, rather than trying to beat the PlayStation 4.

"For me, what we fundamentally lost was the trust of our most loyal customers," Spencer said, when asked about the early decisions made at the time of the Xbox One's reveal. "Whether it's 'always on,' used games, whatever the feature was, we lost the trust in them that they were at the center of our decision making process. Were we building a product for us, or were we building a product for the gamers? And as soon as that question came into people's minds... what you find is very quickly you lose the benefit of the doubt."

"Have we recovered? I feel really good about the position and the product and the brand right now, but I was at the Gamestop Manager's Meeting about three weeks ago, and I'm sitting with 5000 GameStop managers in Las Vegas, and they'd come up and they still have customers that walk in the store that think that the Xbox One won't play used games," Spencer added, stating that most customers will internalize the initial message of a product and won't take the time to read what comes after - in this case, doing away with many of the more unsavory features that were announced with the reveal of the Xbox One. "Regaining that trust and that mindshare with the customer, the gamer, is incredibly difficult."

"I started off making statements like 'we want to win'... But what I quickly realized was you can only control, as a leader, what you can control," Spencer said. "Sony is having incredible success with PlayStation 4, and they've earned that. But for me as a leader of my team and somebody who is interacting with the Xbox community it was much more beneficial and I could have more impact focusing on the product we had."

"I would never question the ability of our organization, but I'll say we're not motivated by beating Sony, we're motivated by gaining as many customers as we can."

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More words, More empty promises, call me when you actually do something Phil, then maybe I'll give a shit

At least they didn't do what EA normally do and try and make it sound like it was the gamers fault for being unreasonable. I still cannot see myself getting an Xbox any time soon (especially as I have only recently bought a new gaming PC), but they seem determined to make the Xbox what it ought to, as late as that may be.

I prefer if they try to beat the PS4. That type of competition is actually really beneficial for us and shows great confidence and passion in their own product.

I wonder if that ever crossed Phil at all.

Naahhhh!

How about cutting the Xbone price in half, start developing for the 360 again seeings how its too much work for you to use the amazing graphics you sold the Xbone on, offer full backwards compatibility for the Xbone, and buy Silent Hill and make the first good horror game since Silent Hill 3.

Do that and I won't immediately piss on your shoes if I ever see you.

Silentpony:
How about cutting the Xbone price in half, start developing for the 360 again seeings how its too much work for you to use the amazing graphics you sold the Xbone on, offer full backwards compatibility for the Xbone, and buy Silent Hill and make the first good horror game since Silent Hill 3.

Do that and I won't immediately piss on your shoes if I ever see you.

Basically everything here is far easier said than done. Microsoft doesn't employ magicians; there's no way they can magically make all of this happen.

I've gotten to the point where I would actually keep an Xbone if I were gifted one, but I'm still not motivated enough to buy one. There still aren't any decent games out for it, and that may or may not change in the near future.

SlumlordThanatos:

Silentpony:
SNIP

Basically everything here is far easier said than done. Microsoft doesn't employ magicians; there's no way they can magically make all of this happen.

I've gotten to the point where I would actually keep an Xbone if I were gifted one, but I'm still not motivated enough to buy one. There still aren't any decent games out for it, and that may or may not change in the near future.

Then perhaps they should abandon the Xbone then? If everything that is considered beneficial to the users and gamers is simply too hard for Microsoft to do, then maybe they're in the wrong line of work.

Just make a new system. You're Microsoft, you can write off the One as a loss and not really worry too much about it. Call it the One 2. Get George Foreman to advertise it as a knockout guarantee to the competition. Call it a day.

He tends to come across as a thoroughly top bloke - and a rare example of higher-up's in this industry actually making sense - so if he's any real reflection on the character and direction of MS with the XB1, then that's likely to result in a great platform, even if it'll clearly never become a market leader.

For consoles I'm likely to go for an XB1 over a PS4 anyway, so I hope Spencer sticks around and helps shape how they operate.


Never forget... it was hilarious.

A reasonable stance to take, things don't tend to switch around once a generation is in progress, the most they can help for is to keep rebuilding trust so that they can beat the PS5

The problem with the Xbox One is that Microsoft's been on damage control since its inception 2 years ago. They fucked up once they went back on the things they at first assured people were integral to the system. Why trust a company when the company doesn't trust their own product?

The PS4 won. Suck it up and get a lock on the next generation. Nintendo's already doing it.

I was never interested in the Xbone and that comes from having owned 5 different xbox 360's (went through quite a few back when I had a lot of disposable income...)

I saw the end of the 360 cycle turning it into less of a gaming machine and more of an entertainment rig. An entertainment rig that did fuck all if you didn't have subscriptions to 30 different services. And the Xbone was just more of that. Something focused on being an entertainment center, when I never needed it, and felt sure that most families didn't need it either.

On that, I'm finding myself wondering why cable or satellite companies haven't designed gaming systems to bundle in with their deals. That seems like the thing that would make more money, not an xbone that needs cable or satellite to unlock more of those "features".

Silentpony:
Then perhaps they should abandon the Xbone then? If everything that is considered beneficial to the users and gamers is simply too hard for Microsoft to do, then maybe they're in the wrong line of work.

circularlogic88:
Just make a new system. You're Microsoft, you can write off the One as a loss and not really worry too much about it. Call it the One 2. Get George Foreman to advertise it as a knockout guarantee to the competition. Call it a day.

Sega had similar ideas. Saturn wasn't doing too hot? Drop it. Dreamcast being outdone by the PS2? Drop it. Where is Sega now?

People are having similar rumblings with the Wii U and Project NX being announced. People want to invest in a console and have it stick around. We're at the eighth generation and people STILL want to play games from the PS and Xbox generation. The first next gen console that ports Street Fighter Third Strike Will get my money.

The hardware is here. The hardware doesn't matter. Because people were equally turned off by both consoles that they didn't have backwards compatibility, and people are now starting to perk up their ears after Spencer announced that backwards compatibility is a thing.

People want experiences, not consoles. Spencer and the team just need to make experiences we want. To give us experiences we missed. And the Xbox One can emerge from the ashes.

Giving up and starting again is untold millions upon millions of dollars in just research and development. Not to even touch construction and alpha and beta testing. That's not even going into Contracts and games are already in development for the Xbox one. They are probably in talk with other game companies games years down the line. To stop and start anew will lose Game designers' trust as well, not to mention our trust as consumers.

Darth Rosenberg:
He tends to come across as a thoroughly top bloke - and a rare example of higher-up's in this industry actually making sense - so if he's any real reflection on the character and direction of MS with the XB1, then that's likely to result in a great platform, even if it'll clearly never become a market leader.

For consoles I'm likely to go for an XB1 over a PS4 anyway, so I hope Spencer sticks around and helps shape how they operate.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who sees what Spencer is doing as a positive thing. We all can be hip and trendy and jaded all we want. Spencer is one of the only people in the damn industry that remembers the Golden Rule: The Customer is Always Right.

We are the only consumers of goods that the companies openly mock and lie to and then blame us for their lies. We get one guy, one guy who doesn't have to do this and who can send one of hundreds of cronies to do these things... and he's standing up there and saying "Yeah, we were wrong. We messed up. We get it. We're going to try to change." instead of garbage like ubisoft calling all pc gamers pirates... and we're going to spit on him?

This is one time where the industry can look at us and actually be right in their vitriol.

"I started off making statements like 'we want to win'... But what I quickly realized was you can only control, as a leader, what you can control,"

Smartest thing he said in his entire career and its something I can relate to.

Xbone has more exclusive content, but even hauling out all the big names in the exclusives, Its not doing well. Like Sony, I have no idea why its doing this badly. I mean I have no interest in the Xbone, but thats mostly due to already having a PS4, and not wanting to spend $500 to get one and the couple exclusive games. Yet so many were invested in the xbox line, and have no investment in the sony side. So why switch?

That said PS4 controller is a whole world better than the Xbone controller. heck the 360 controller is better than Xbone.

Silentpony:

SlumlordThanatos:

Silentpony:
SNIP

Basically everything here is far easier said than done. Microsoft doesn't employ magicians; there's no way they can magically make all of this happen.

I've gotten to the point where I would actually keep an Xbone if I were gifted one, but I'm still not motivated enough to buy one. There still aren't any decent games out for it, and that may or may not change in the near future.

Then perhaps they should abandon the Xbone then? If everything that is considered beneficial to the users and gamers is simply too hard for Microsoft to do, then maybe they're in the wrong line of work.

Abandon the Xbox One and receive angry emails from millions of parent's, families, and gamers who spent a lot of money it? Risk their reputation even further and stop pretty much anyone buying an xbox product again?

Yep, good plan, you should totally work for Microsofts Xbox Division /sarcasm

This is the mindset that should have been in place when the Xbox One was first announced. If they had done that, I wonder how different things would look now. As it stands though, Microsoft will likely be playing catch up for a while yet, although they do seem to be making progress. Offering that backward compatibility the way they are is a huge step, and assuming it works with the games I own, it will be the push I need to pick one up.
If it had been there from the start, there's a very real chance I would have bought one instead of my PS4.

Hey, he said something almost intelligent. Maybe they're turning over a new leaf.

Oh wait didn't they just finish getting outed for putting keyloggers in Windows 10. Right. Nevermind.

ObsidianJones:
SNIP

The problem is, the Xbox One is tainted by what Microsoft initially tried selling as:
- a $500 machine with no backwards compatibility
game discs would be locked to only your account making the prospect of trade-ins and a second-hand market non-existant
- always online and if there were a disruption in service and didn't check up with the Microsoft servers within a certain amount of time it would not allow you play disc games and render most other functions useless
- there was a stronger focus on superfluous secondary functions which most home TVs could already do themselves, an overly-designed Windows interface and Kinect integrations which made the system suffer by allocating RAM that could have been used in service to games.
- Kinect 2.0 was seen as a potential invasion of privacy by the general public and this was on the coattails of Microsoft being on of several high profile companies who regularly handed over data from its users to the US government (PRISM surviellance, it think?)
- when asked about some of these features and functions we got conflicting statements, Microsoft was vague with what these featues and functions were and how they worked, or were brushed off entirely and told to deal with it or buy an Xbox360.

Not only all of that, but Microsoft at the time didn't seem to care about alienating the core audience that made them so successful with the 360.

So yeah, I stick by what I said before. Take the hit, call it a loss. Either offer a buyback system for those with registered Xbox Ones and sell an upgraded Xbox One v2.0 with parity at least if not greater than PS4's specs, or just make a completely new system to distance yourself as far away from the Xbox One stigma that still seems to be lingering around the console. They are Microsoft, they can afford to have a failed console.

Ultimately, I think where Xbox One is suffering the most is its current library, and with Halo 5 cutting splitscreen support, their new games are not really looking that great at all at the moment.

Having said all that, I don't agree with every single thing Phil says but man, he is far and away better than Mattick. By the beard of Zeus.

And then how will you bend us over next time once you have gained that trust back hm? Reveal that every Xbone and 360 game has a microchip in them and you have the detonator to make them combust?

Cut the price, promote more 3rd party developers, even at a loss. Most developers especially indie just don't want to make games for the Xbone.

I'm not sure where they stand on it now but several Live Developers went to Sony, Desura and Steam because Microsoft was charging $50k to host minor things like patches.

I bought the Xbox Original to play Halo: Combat Evolved. I didn't buy it to wave my arms around in unresponsive kiddie-games and watch television. The Halo franchise is in the dumpster right now and there is no sign of serious improvement any time soon. I'm glad they realize they are still suffering from the initial reception of their crappy TV box, and the ensuing mass exodus from the XBox brand. And I don't want to downplay their efforts to salvage the situation. But what is going to bring me back to Xbox LIVE when I already own a PS4? Cuz Halo 5: Call of Duty Clone With No Splitscreen is not doing it.

It's the games, stupid. Here's the XBox One reveal, because we should Never Forget.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uP4E3xNU9pU

On the other hand, I'm the only one who thought the console itself didn't look half bad.

Silentpony:
How about cutting the Xbone price in half, start developing for the 360 again seeings how its too much work for you to use the amazing graphics you sold the Xbone on, offer full backwards compatibility for the Xbone, and buy Silent Hill and make the first good horror game since Silent Hill 3.

Do that and I won't immediately piss on your shoes if I ever see you.

You make a point about "full BC", I don't think its that easy and "developing for the 360 again", well uhm hate to break it to you but Microsoft does not control the 3rd party developers and publishers decision making so that point is moot, and "buy Silent Hill"? I think you're being absolutely unreasonable with at least 1/2 of your points being something that is out of their hands. Konami (fucKonami) won't sell the IP so there's no point in giving Microsoft shit for that.

Pricing? It'll come down, people seem to forget that the last generation PS3 and 360 both were extremely expensive at the outset and for a good 2 years (how long the XBone and PS4 have been out and only recently have prices dropped).
I own an XBone and a 360 and the graphics overall are much crisper than the 360 versions of similar games so I personally wouldn't complain that much about it, except maybe that developers should be optimizing their games at 60fps first, which is a developer issue and not a console maker issue.

Now complaints that are in fact a console maker issue? Storage options. This is an across the board gripe, Sony and Microsoft both are guilty. If they are going to require us to install games on the hard drives, then give us an option to buy extra storage or use our own USB sticks/drives. If there's a way to do so I haven't found it yet because none of my USB hard drives (I have multiple 1TB drives from different makers) have been recognized by either current gen system and I'm constantly running out of room from the games I own both digitally and physically. Plus patch content (Witcher 3 alone has cut into my storage on PS4) makes that point hurt all the more. If there is a solution to this, and I'm just unaware I'd appreciate a link to how to get the consoles to recognize my extra storage space.

I dunno, are you sure he said anything we didn't already know? This all has a weird political non-speak vibe...

"For me, what we fundamentally lost was the trust of our most loyal customers,"

"Whether it's 'always on,' used games, whatever the feature was, we lost the trust in them that they were at the center of our decision making process. Were we building a product for us, or were we building a product for the gamers? And as soon as that question came into people's minds... what you find is very quickly you lose the benefit of the doubt."

"Have we recovered? I feel really good about the position and the product and the brand right now, but I was at the Gamestop Manager's Meeting about three weeks ago, and I'm sitting with 5000 GameStop managers in Las Vegas, and they'd come up and they still have customers that walk in the store that think that the Xbox One won't play used games,"
"Regaining that trust and that mindshare with the customer, the gamer, is incredibly difficult."

"I started off making statements like 'we want to win'... But what I quickly realized was you can only control, as a leader, what you can control," Spencer said. "Sony is having incredible success with PlayStation 4, and they've earned that. But for me as a leader of my team and somebody who is interacting with the Xbox community it was much more beneficial and I could have more impact focusing on the product we had."

"I would never question the ability of our organization, but I'll say we're not motivated by beating Sony, we're motivated by gaining as many customers as we can."

Too many words, too little actual information. We don't learn anything new, he hasn't quite learnt anything new probably (i cannot tell from his vague wording), so we remain as equally well off as before. Except with the added knowledge that gamestop managers all bugger off to Las-Vegas for their meetings. Assuming it was unintentional, perhaps he was caught for an early morning, pre-coffee chat and his words became unnecessarily guarded. Who knows?
And of course he is going to be motivated by gaining as many customers as he can, it's his job! ;D

The console "wars" are such an odd thing, really its just an argument over which ui you want when you play your games since games pretty much look the same on each one. This isn't like the snes genesis days when games really did look and play different, or even the ps2,gc,and xbox days.

I don't want the Xbox to recover. The reason it's behind right now is because of that horrible idea to force an always online connection. To add more bothersome DRM to consoles. I want the Xbox to linger in second and then third place for the entirety of the next cycle (that could last way longer then the last cycle.) as a reminder in case nintendo or sony try to pull the same thing.

Anybody else reminded of south park?

PS4 owners forget easy. Remember when Sony ripped the guts out of the PS3 inc backward compatibility? Yeah, people forget that. Plus Sony has had loads of exclusive dlc for games that are multi platform. Yet no one cares until MS does it. MS gets Tomb Rider for a year, people complain and go crazy. Street Fighter is PS4 only - and nothing is said about that. People bitched at MS when they did wrong, yet they changed and yet people still whine like babies. I remember that Sony wanted to sell you PS3 games you already bought and played again for the PS4. No one said anything even though your trophy list shows you already bought and played it.

Look both Sony and MS does dumb crap. An as gamers all we can do is chose the system that hosts the games we love. Whether PS4/XB1/WiiU/PC we should base it on the games we love and not insult others that chose a different system. But all the companies do crap we hate. An the people moaning about what MS nearly did 2 years ago are the same people that whine about the MS3 ending even now.

SonOfVoorhees:
PS4 owners forget easy. Remember when Sony ripped the guts out of the PS3 inc backward compatibility? Yeah, people forget that. Plus Sony has had loads of exclusive dlc for games that are multi platform. Yet no one cares until MS does it. MS gets Tomb Rider for a year, people complain and go crazy. Street Fighter is PS4 only - and nothing is said about that. People bitched at MS when they did wrong, yet they changed and yet people still whine like babies. I remember that Sony wanted to sell you PS3 games you already bought and played again for the PS4. No one said anything even though your trophy list shows you already bought and played it.

Look both Sony and MS does dumb crap. An as gamers all we can do is chose the system that hosts the games we love. Whether PS4/XB1/WiiU/PC we should base it on the games we love and not insult others that chose a different system. But all the companies do crap we hate. An the people moaning about what MS nearly did 2 years ago are the same people that whine about the MS3 ending even now.

Probably one of the smartest comments here.

Look, I get it. Microsoft were fucking awful at the start of this generation. Every criticism they got, they earned. But drop the fucking snark everyone. This new guy has done nothing but good for the company. I actually believe they are trying to turn it around. And I desperately hope they do.

Context-I have no horse in this race. I own no next-gen console, and both my housemates have wii-u's, so I can't play either. I just want there to be an actual choice before I go and buy one.

Nazulu:
I prefer if they try to beat the PS4. That type of competition is actually really beneficial for us and shows great confidence and passion in their own product.

They failed in the particular objective when they specced the slowest processor, cheapest RAM and cheapest memory controller they thought they could get away with. From now until the next generation every multi platform review is going to end with a note on how the PS4 version is better.

Of course not screwing the pooch so hard during the reveal and launch wouldn't have hurt.

fix-the-spade:

Nazulu:
I prefer if they try to beat the PS4. That type of competition is actually really beneficial for us and shows great confidence and passion in their own product.

They failed in the particular objective when they specced the slowest processor, cheapest RAM and cheapest memory controller they thought they could get away with. From now until the next generation every multi platform review is going to end with a note on how the PS4 version is better.

Of course not screwing the pooch so hard during the reveal and launch wouldn't have hurt.

I see no reason why they can't just update the damn thing they're so good at throwing millions around. The old ones can be traded in like so many red ringed 360s. Then they can work on a better library and better offers.

Well if there's a silver lining, Sony's helping out MS with the current auto-load of Destiny

I have both the PS4 and XBone and the point of difference is very, very small in my opinion. I tend to play the Bone a little bit more because I prefer the controller and having the Forza franchise, but I must admit Until Dawn has had pride of place at my house at the moment.

I think Phil's idea is correct. You are never going to beat the PS4 this generation. You pissed away all the goodwill you had from the 360. The best thing you can do is what Sony did after they pissed away all their goodwill with the PS2 and that's steadily make the XBone a quality product that deserves to be purchased by people who already own a PS4. Make your exclusive content as good as it can get and people will come.

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