Microsoft's Phil Spencer discusses "unhealthy" Xbox One fanboyism--are you one of them?

Phil Spencer offers a refreshingly frank opinion on the state of the industry.

Microsoft Games Studios chief Phil Spencer has discussed the "unhealthy" fanboyism that exists in gaming.

"There seems to be this natural faction that gets created around what console you own, and then this, I would call it unhealthy dislike, for people who own the other console," said Spencer at a talk during SXSW 2014.

Praising the work of Sony, Nintendo, and Valve, Spencer said all companies were looking to be competitive, but in the marketplace and in the games. "In the end, what we all want to do is to take this art form of playing games and experiencing and breaking down that wall between a linear narrative and an interactive capability, and just make a better form of entertainment."

"I love the fans that we have," Spencer continued, "but I don't think being a fan of Xbox does not mean you can't be a fan of something else, or you have to be an anti-fan of some other brand. At least I'm not. I own a PlayStation 4, I play games on a PlayStation 4. I own a Wii U, I play games on my Wii U. I learn a ton from what happens on those other platforms.

"In terms of the kind of concerns people have on the social space, it is usually about how we're doing in the competition against PlayStation. They had a great launch. I will say, when I look at the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One launches, it's been our best launch ever for an Xbox."

"A year ago, the question was whether consoles were relevant anymore, and has the industry moved beyond console gaming--is anyone going to show up to the party when these two big console manufacturers bring their products out in November? And today I think we'd all say that hasn't been a problem. If you look at what both consoles have done, it's been an amazing year."

"The units that we've both been able to sell shows an amazing start to this console generation."

For more on fanboys, check out Cam's exploration of the psychological triggers behind why people develop an unhealthy dislike of other brands in a classic episode of Reality Check.

Martin Gaston is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @squidmania
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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450 comments
Algearond
Algearond

Out of the four he had listed, I would say Valve is probably my favorite, Sony is the only one I actually dislike though.

sixt3denied
sixt3denied

This reminds me of the Commodore vs Atari battle. Even then it was clear that the Commodore 64 was the better computer. If you were smart enough to own a Commodore 64 - hopefully you made the right choice and now own an XBOX One. Only a moron would buy an Atari computer or a PS4! Idiots!



blutosan
blutosan

Fanboyism is a product of branding. For whatever reason, you end up liking one brand over the other. AND I LIKE XBOX OVER PLAYSTATION. I am irrational and have no good reason, but Microsoft should thank God that I exist and not cast me aside.

suppaphly42
suppaphly42

me i love fanboys AND fangirls they are one of the most entertaining things about coming to GS day after day. they showcase the human element at its finest and are so much fun to argue with as they can't see the error of their ways no matter how many ways you show it to them they just dig that hole of stupidity deeper and deeper so whats not to love  

itsuhsjan
itsuhsjan

Like usual, a great article is muddled by people that just say "YA WHATEVER POOR LOSER LOL" I swear. I have every next gen console right now and I like them all. It's understandable not being able to get all of them, so look at the games, or the killer aps of both, weigh your options. Form an original opinion, and respect others' opinions. It's not that difficult.

Phrase_Universe
Phrase_Universe

Honestly, I don't think he would have made this statement if XBox One was leading in sales. MS has problems with fanboys now? But there was no problem 5 years ago when they were kicking Sony's ass? I'm calling BS on this one.  

JustPlainLucas
JustPlainLucas

I have always ALWAYS said this.  Fanboyism is a closed-minded narrow way of thinking that actually prevents you from enjoying your hobby to the fullest.  

quakebox
quakebox

With my respect to Phil Spencer and Microsoft Team, but you set yourself in this situation, the Xbox One could have been better, in this age all players think of is how powerful the graphics chip is back in 2006 the 360 was superior to the PS3 and now the opposite, nowaday at least what the players expect is 1080p and look how the Xbox One is struggling this is huge drawback and not just a little one, second forcing them with kinect and the mess made at Xbox One launch the DRM and so on, I was considering getting an Xbox One and now considering the other console.


Microsoft Team is doing a good jobs specially the marketing department but...


It's not fanboyism that affects sales, it's the console not attracting customers, because of the simple factors I mentioned earlier, not even the PS4 is attractive, but at least it gets 1080p, and other factors done better by SONY like the price that's why they sold more.

BelaidKL
BelaidKL

I've said it once and I'll say it again.. Phil Spencer should be the only employee from Microsoft who is allowed to speak publicly.. Great and honest perspective on the entire fiasco

ggregd
ggregd

Guy makes reasonable, rational comments on extreme fanboyism, fanboys come to the comment section to demonstrate everything that sucks about them.  These yokels are unreachable.

emptycow718
emptycow718

the xboxone is a great console  i have both the ps4 and the xboxone  and i can say for a fact both consoles are great  the  xboxone  imo is edging the ps4 at the point  the xboxone has more games  and the console as a package   just beats the ps4  i just got my xboxone 3 days ago  after playing with the system for 3 days  i will say its great the voice commands are great  being able to  say "xbox snap  watch tv "and it working  and spliting the screen so i can  watch a sporting event and  waiting for the next round of titanfall  at the same time is awesome  the console is no joke   the xboxone its a sweet piece tech  it has more options than the ps4  but dont get it twisted the ps4 is a beast  also  but the xboxone is just packed full of features 

snaketus
snaketus

Too bad Xbone is too expensive for what it is and they force that camera nobody wants through your throat. Lower the price and get rid of the Kinect and at some day I'll consider getting Xbone too. But now PS4 just is better choice. If I was a rich mand I'd have both by now.

Megavideogamer
Megavideogamer

Yes it is best to own a Playstation 4, Xbox one and a Wii U for the 8th generation of Videogames. But if you can only afford one console than I guess you would be inclined to choose a faction for the console wars. 


So have all of the consoles and you will not miss a game. Currently I have PS4 and Wii U still need to get Xbox one before Halo 5/Gears of War 5. 


So Phil Spenser is correct. don be a Fan boy or Fan Girl. enjoy your games on whatever console you choose. Or buy them all.

Gallowhand
Gallowhand

Finally a voice of reason, and I agree with him.  It's a bit silly pouring vitriol on other people for their choice of gaming platform.  Just enjoy your games.

Glasscut32
Glasscut32

Phil who ?? Seriously this is guy that should have been fired at least Don Mattrick said what he said and stuck with it.. Its this tool that said that the Xbone can achieve 4k gaming at E3.. If you guys have forgotten about what he said i haven't.. Poor console can't even do 1080p.. GTFO phil seriously.. Its a new day in gaming it's high time Microsoft started behaving like they are selling to humans not sheep.. 

obsequies
obsequies

poor loser. And he looks like a washed up crackhead from the 80's.

giedrius1001
giedrius1001

Narrow minded xfanboys will not get this article, probably heads will explode quicker than realisation of this statement from xbox chief :D over wise Phil is very clever fish, what he said is if you own ps4 or wii u be open minded get xbox one too :D!!!! Anyway all he care is just selling more xbox one's and dont give a damne about sony or nintendo, he have ps4 because as lore saying keep friend close but enemies closer, trying to get best ideast out of competition later to use it as advantage to their own product

franken_stein
franken_stein

I don't think the question was ever if consoles were relevant, I like Phil but wtf is he talking about? Consoles have been and will continue to be very popular.

Azubedo
Azubedo

Pretty sure there would be alot less fanboys if one company would stop paying people to not publish on the other consoles.....real hard to figure out which one that is

aci808
aci808

There's few things better than hearing Microsoft calling out their own moronic fanboys. Fanboys of all platforms need to find something else to spend their time on. Now we need someone to do the same with PC elitists. Who's the bigger scum? Console fanboys or PC elitists?

RighteousNixon
RighteousNixon

@blutosan  You clearly just don't get it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with liking one brand over another. In fact, everyone that lives in modern societies has brand preferences. Its not liking one brand over another that makes someone a fanboy. Fanboys are people that take that prefering of one company over another to the extreme. They run around attacking the other companies, and the people that support those other companies. So there is nothing wrong with you prefering XBox over Sony, but if your running around these forums bashing Sony and the people that support Sony....well, that would make you a fanboy and there is a LOT wrong with those actions. 

brownyyy
brownyyy

@blutosan Seriously pal you sounding like that is exactly what he is talking about. He isnt casting you aside hes saying the almost religious crusade people go through to put down people of opposite thoughts are unhealthy people are to radical in their views over lets be honest things that are supposed to be just fun. When your saying "Microsoft should thank god that I exist and not cast me aside" makes you sound fanatical.

RighteousNixon
RighteousNixon

@suppaphly42  As fun as it may be to read some of the ridiculousness fanboys spew out, fanboys in general are a significant negative force in this industry and it gives the industry a bad image. So as entertianing as it may be, we would all be WAY better off without them. 

RighteousNixon
RighteousNixon

@Phrase_Universe  

You can think that all you want. It changes nothing. He is 100% right either way you look at it. Everyone that wants this industry to be healthy and have a positive images has a problem with fanboys. MS is simply one of the first to come out and openly address it and I commend them for doing so.

Your putting WAY too much emphasis on Sony having a small lead at the beginning of this generation. Yes, thats right. It is a small lead and we are only at the very beginning of this generation. XBox One has been a huge success thus far. Its outselling Xbox 360 2.4 (or is it 2.6?) to 1, has broken records across the board for MS and its Xbox division, and is actually right in line with Sony in regards to attachment rates. Who is actually winning the console war is really not important, not when both companies are doing exceptionally well. All its good for is bragging rights, nothing more and nothing less. So I don't buy for a second that Sony having a small inconsequential lead in sales made MS come out and attack fanboys, lol. It makes absolutely zero sense. What exactly does MS have to gain, in regards to this war, by coming out and stating the truth in regards to fanboys? Besides, MS has been dominating in software sales the last couple months, and that is where most of the money is made in this industry. So even with Sony's small lead, MS is still making more money than Sony.

Nope, I myself attribute it to MS's new approach to the industry. They are being more forthcoming with gamers after the big debacle of the XBox One reveal. They have come out on many occasions and stated just this. This falls in line perfectly with that new approach. 

ooblah
ooblah

@Phrase_Universe  

Call it BS if you want, he's right.  I partly agree that it's possible that he wouldn't be mentioning anything about it if the tables were turned, but it doesn't diminish the fact that the fanboy mentality is absolutely ridiculous.  Also, the landscape was different five years ago.  The debate on console wars wasn't nearly as vocalized as it is now.  And anyone can agree, that regardless of whether Sony's fanboys console is "winning", they are way more vocal about their opinions of theirs and others chosen platforms.

RighteousNixon
RighteousNixon

@quakebox  

What are you even talking about? XBox One is not struggling with sales. Just because PS4 is outselling XBox One doesnt mean Xbox One is struggling. Both consoles have been hugely successful thus far. I hate to burst your bubble but Xbox One is outselling the XBox 360 2.4 to 1 up to this point (which is more than doubling overall sales). XBox One has broken every record across the board for MS's XBox Division and is seeing huge increases in sales from Titanfall. You don't have to win the console war to be successful. You do realize this is now the 3rd generation in a row that we have had an XBox, Playstation and Nintendo console on the market simultaneously. 

Going by your logic, the PS3 and Xbox 360 are both HUGE failures since the Wii has sold roughly 23 million more consoles than either the PS3 or the XBox 360. Its nonsense. Both the PS3 and the Xbox 360 are highly successful conoles. Just becasue they didnt win the console war doesnt suddenly make them failures. 

I honestly just don't understand how people can be so short sighted in regards to business. Its clear that many in here just don't get this industry at all, not even close. 

RighteousNixon
RighteousNixon

@ggregd


Sad, but at this point I have to say that is 100% true. Fanboyism is almost like a drug. Once your hooked, you will always be a fanboy and the ones that do stop are always just one post away from a relapse. I haven't seen many reformed fanboys in the last 3 generations. In fact, I cant think of a single one. They are unreachable. 

sixt3denied
sixt3denied

@snaketus  Kinect is what is responsible for the voice commands. Just say "xbox volume up" and your tv's or surround sound receiver or sound bar's volume will adjust. Say xbox play Netflix and Netflix will launch. You can video chat with skype and the kinect actually tracks your movements around the room so the camera follows you. If more people come into the room the kinect camera automatically pans out for a wider shot. If they leave it zooms back in on you. You PS4 guys don't know what you're missing. Once you learn the voice commands and all of the features it truly becomes an amazing system that goes beyond just a video game player.

rheaburton
rheaburton

Choosing a console through financial issues ie only one, should not warrant the serious mis information and hate like the other console is some rabid dog.

Also its worrying as a general look at the minds of our young generation, media marketing pr look at these even use pshcologists to find how to make you feel associated with the brand, what makes you tick.

I like it when we are all joking obviously you will still offend people but at least your not trolling or some paid pr kid trying to invoke some bs lies.

RighteousNixon
RighteousNixon

@Glasscut32  

A perfect example of the kind of person Phil was talking about. And if you think MS has been treating people like sheep, I can only imagine what you must think of Sony considering they have been lying to everyone since day one. 

rheaburton
rheaburton

For what he said what the hell is your problem?

Sheep is sticking to one fucking brand and blindly hating another.

So how do you suggest ms sell to us ? And please explain why you think ms treat us like sheep, but of a harsh statement to make without any backup or explanation.

mos2000
mos2000

@Glasscut32 the system can do 1080- Forza will be 1080.  Natively games will come shipped likely at a lesser resolution then built up by their cloud tech.


i.e Titanfall right now I believe is 790.  In a few months they're uping it to 900.  Subsequently they will update it to 1080.


Whether you like it or not, the system can do 1080.  Forza natively is 1080 as proof.  They just want devs to try to utilize 1080 specs per the cloud -- now does it makes sense? Depends on the gamer preference

RighteousNixon
RighteousNixon

@giedrius1001  

Jesus man, take an English class. I have no problem with the occasional misspelled word here and there, but when people cant even form basic sentences properly.....well, its time to put the games down and actually learn something. 

rheaburton
rheaburton

Fantasy land. Next you will make out its the xbox fanboys that cause all this even though xbox doesn't have many loyal fans, they just defend it as its the outsider, when you see hate and lies you stand up for it and the the labels come out.

rheaburton
rheaburton

Another one, you make a claim with no research, do you know how many Japanese devs are pissed with Sony, in its own tu Sony thinks its the boss, why do you think poly takes 6 years to make a game or why we are still waiting for guardian of light ? Or why team ninja chose xbox 360?

This is the problem uneducated comments like that.

Oh remember how long Sony kept rockstar off xbox, what did Sony make gta ? or have money involved .. Nooooo, so who started it ? Don't want to sound like a little girl, but please think before your write. Sony constant pr write off with ms hurts them very badly, you seem to hear that but the not the truth so for ms survival at the minute it needs exclusives especially since the consensus on here is Sony has the best exclusives! It has to compete.

RighteousNixon
RighteousNixon

@Azubedo  If your talking about exclusives, then they all do it and in all honesty its a vital part of the industry. If every system had all of the same games, there would be no need to have 3 separate systems. Exclusives create competition and compeation breeds innovation and keeps prices down and quality high. Without competition, the gaming industry would be FAR worse off! 

tightwad34
tightwad34

@aci808 They're all one in the same. Doesn't matter what you defend with rubbish, in the end it's all the same BS. Don't know why they feel like they are superior when all they have to do is really stop and think that no one really cares and all that matters is that people enjoy games. Not to mention how it would be bad for the industry if the opposing console were to go away like they seem to want. Shows how shallow and moronic they really are.

RighteousNixon
RighteousNixon

@aci808  Fanboys are scum period. Doesnt matter if they are XBox fanboys, Nintendo fanboys, Sony fanboys or PC fanboys. One is no more a scum than the other. They are all equally scummy. 

xzoozano
xzoozano

@aci808  your totally right. while pc has lots to offer there fanboys are bad. now i haven't met a pc fanboy thats worse then a console fanboy but thats because it seams pc fanboys think there better then the rest ( a god complex if you will). i only say this because during the beginning of the xbox one/ps4 console war to the end of january 2014 i was one of those pc fanboys and i thot that way.

blutosan
blutosan

@RighteousNixon @brownyyy It's pretty hard to get to the point where you have a significant number of fanatical followers. Most businesses would love to take on this "burden" from Microsoft. And from a business standpoint, you never try to temper support for your own product because the benefits almost always outweigh the drawbacks of having crazy followers. 

Can you think of situations where companies actually asked their fans to stop being crazy-in-love with them? I can think of one, where William Shatner told extreme Trekie fans to grow up and get a life. He took a lot of heat from the production company for that because those crazy fans were generating money. 

If I didn't know more about the Microsoft situation, I would think that Mr. Spencer has lost it. But I do know a little more. It is no secret that several major Microsoft shareholders (not Bill Gates) are uncomfortable with having a video game console as their dominant hardware product. They are old school businessmen and don't like video games. They actually want to spin off the Xbox division from Microsoft, and "crazy fans" is going to be one of the excuses for doing it.

giedrius1001
giedrius1001

Excuse me?? My English is decent, its not easy to type on phone so if im missing common s here or there it doesnt change sentence logic

mikees1
mikees1

Here here! Fanboys to me just seem like bespectacled little nerds who are devoid of a life and a friends. I mean really, if you are that empty inside that argueing over a plastic box with wires brings you joy, then you really need to end your own misery.

Fanboys also seem to be of the sort that still live with mummy and have no employment hope.

RighteousNixon
RighteousNixon

@blutosan @RighteousNixon  By the way, I wanted to add that for publically traded companies, shareholders do have the ability to issue a shareholder resolution. These are basically proposals, which are regulated by the SEC, that get voted on at annual shareholder meetings. These resolutions or proposals are usually not favored by the companies board of directors or acting CEO, which is basically the whole reason why shareholders are asking for a vote in the first place. Its basically a way of showing the board and the CEO that the shareholders are not happy about a partciular aspect of how the company is being run. Its important to note that such votes are not binding. Even if a vote is overwhelmingly in favor of a partiuclar change in policy, the board and CEO can simplly ignore it and do nothing. 

That is really the limit of shareholder power in publicly traded US companies. So even if the majority of MS stockholders wanted MS to sell Xbox, and even went as far as putting forth a shareholder resolution to that effect, which overwhelmly passed the vote, the company could just ignore it and continue supporting the Xbox brand as long as it wanted. 

RighteousNixon
RighteousNixon

@blutosan @RighteousNixon  First off, I could care less what your sick of. Second, If you don't want people picking apart your clear misunderstanding of this industry than don't make posts about it on public forums. Its really that simple. And once again your clearly demonstrating your total lack of understanding of not only this business, but the entire business world in general. Stock holders have ZERO say in what a company does. They can make suggestions and MS's board of directors can take those suggestions under advisement. That is as far as stockholder power goes, period. It doesn't matter if you own  single share or 20% of the company. These are publicly traded companies, not private held companies. MS is not selling Xbox, period. Anyone suggesting otherwise is living in la la land. MS is making significant money off of Xbox now. Xbox and Xbox 360 had 48% off all software sales in Februrary. That leaves the other 52% for PC, Nintendo, and Sony and again software is where the VAST majority of money is made in this business. 

Its all good tho, if you want to continue running around public forums suggesting that MS is going to sell Xbox because a guy who was up for CEO mentioned the possibility, as well as a couple high level stock holders, than by all means have at it. In the end, your only showing people that you have no clue what your talking about. Again, have at it. You will be proven wrong in time. 

As for suggesting I am a fanboy, now that is funny. I have owned every MS, Sony, and Nintendo console every released on US soil with one exception, the Wii U. I  am as big of a fan of Sony as I am of Nintendo as I am of MS, and that is not a fan at all. I like thier videogame consoles, but at the end of the day I recognize these companies for what they really are, large multi-national corporations who don't give a rats fart about you or I. All they care about is sales numbers and what is in thier best interest. I am the exact opposite of a fanboy as I don't pledge my alligence to any large multi-national corporations. The fact that you deem everyone who has opinions that conflict with your own a fanboy.....well, your clearly wrong about everything else so why stop there. At least your consistent. Consistently wrong, but still consistent nonetheless. 

blutosan
blutosan

@RighteousNixon  I'm sick of these conversations. I hate getting lambasted after stating an opinion. I back up that opinion and get lambasted again for being "clearly" wrong. It's irritating. I'm not "clearly" wrong. Reasonable people can reasonably disagree. I think that a group a shareholders that control roughly 5% of Microsoft have a pretty big say in where the company goes, even if they are just shareholders. I think that comparing the rhetoric of Xbox fans to the criminal acts of sports fans isn't quite proportionate. Don't bother arguing with me, I don't care anymore.

The irony is not lost on me. This is exactly the kind of meaningless argument the fanboys have. Maybe I have that coming, defending them and all. 

RighteousNixon
RighteousNixon

@blutosan @RighteousNixon @brownyyy  


First, its not hard at all in the video game world to get significant numbers of fanatical followers, as the last 13 years has clearly shown us. Second, no company wants to be associated with negative behavior from its customers or fans, period. Anyone suggesting otherwise really has no clue what they are talking about. 


"can you think of situations where companies actually asked their fans to stop being crazy-in-love with them?"


Yes, I can. Have you ever seen sports fans get too rowdy after a game? Its happened MANY times throughout sports history. The 1984 Detroit Tigers World Series win is a perfect example. The fans went and tore up the city, including buring police cars. Its happened MANY other times in MANY other cities, with many different sports. Team owners now go on TV before the final games and ask the fans to behave and act in a respectful manner. As I said up above, no company wants to be associated with negative bahavior from its fans or supporters. Zip, Nodda, None, and that includes fanboys in the videgame industry. MS maybe the first console maker to come out and make this kind of statement but they are not the first in this undustry to do so. Many individuals, including many high profile developers, have come out and stated this same thing. 

As for your last comment, there is only one person that has publicly come out and said he wanted to sell the Xbox Division (along with Bing). His name is Stephen Elop and he was up for the CEO position when he made those comments. He didnt get the job!  The only other people that have said anything regarrding MS selling the Xbox division is some high proflie investors, and quite frankly, it doesnt matter what those people say or do. They are not in control of the company and have no say in such matters. This sort of thing happens all the time in the investing world. 

MS has been dumping money into Xbox for 13 years, so they could get a set top box that would give them control of the living room. This was Bill Gate's goal from the very beginning. They have now basically achieved that goal and the Xbox if finally a success and making money. They are pulling in 1.6+ billion a year just from Xbox Live Gold memberships alone. Selling the Xbox division at this point, when they finally achieve the goal they set out to achieve, would without be the dumbest business move in the history of business. Its simply never going to happen, regardless of how many high profile investors want it to happen. The only thing that matters is what the board of directors at MS want and the fact that they passed on Elop is all the proof anyone needs that MS is still dead serious about its Xbox division. The only thing that could get MS to sell the XBox division at this point would be it completely bombing and starting to lose big money, which also is never going to happen. Xbox One is seeing record sales and they are dominating everyone (Sony, Nintendo, and PC) in software sales, which is where all the money is made in this industry. 

Clearly you don't know as much as you think you know!