Xbox One boss recalls "wrong" decisions from last summer, promises "gamer-first" approach going forward

New Head of Xbox Phil Spencer discusses last summer's policy reversals, says a two-way dialogue with fans will be important going forward.

by

In his first video interview as Head of Xbox, Microsoft's Phil Spencer acknowledged the company's shortcomings and promised a brighter future for Xbox One going forward. In the Xbox-produced video, Spencer addressed the company's controversial (and since-reversed) Xbox One policies, saying it was the right move to change some of these.

"When I heard how our message resonated with people...some of the decisions that we made that I think were actually the wrong decisions and we had to revisit those decisions," he said.

Spencer did not say which policies he was specifically referring to, but he's likely talking about the Xbox One's controversial used-game and online check-in systems, which Microsoft changed in a surprising about-face last summer following E3.

Though the past year has seen its struggles for Spencer and the Xbox team, he also made clear Microsoft also accomplished a lot in shipping the Xbox One. The company sold 3 million systems in under two months and Spencer said Xbox Live activity and engagement is strong. Indeed, people spend an average of 5 hours per day on Xbox One across games and entertainment.

Going forward, Spencer vowed to deliver a "gamer-first" approach for the Xbox One and said it will be critical that Microsoft has an open dialogue with consumers about the system.

"That two-way dialogue between us and the fans will be important as we drive this product forward," Spencer said about the Xbox One. "I think it's going to be a foundational element to the culture of this organization. I want the two-way dialogue; we hear what fans say, they have great ideas, and we should use that as an input to how we build our product."

Finally, Spencer stressed that though the Xbox One has been a successful launch, he and his teams still have "a lot of work" ahead of them. This is what drives him to get up every morning at 5:30 a.m. and come to work, he said.

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

Discussion

349 comments
Rakou
Rakou

MS pulling a 180, again.

ChiliBean2000
ChiliBean2000

I'm so happy there is the Sony PS4 to compete with Xbox One.  If Microsoft did not have competition then there would be no stopping them from moving on with their "wrong" decisions. 

berserker66666
berserker66666

When a supposed gaming console focuses on TV, music and sports and later gives statements about video games, stay away. Stick to PS4 or PC.

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

He's saying all the right things, but it'll be interesting to see if they can properly translate them into the correct actions.

taker254isback
taker254isback

MS needs to make more "TITANFALL- LIKE" bundles for 450$ that's all they gotta do...and make good games.

ahmad996
ahmad996

XBONE OR PS4? 45 Minutes to decide

PrpleTrtleBuBum
PrpleTrtleBuBum

Typical. The console is out and they think they can do huge changes. I guess the RROD case with X360 was the same. "Lets just release crap and then tell we will fix it"

XNEXUS666X
XNEXUS666X

haha yeah, guess what you sad old hacks, you blew it it! Consoles kids went to PSFlaw and grown ups knew PC was the intelligent choice. Textbook fail.

GrendelSP
GrendelSP

Too little too late Microsoft. Your mistakes have cost you my money this gen. 

translucent17
translucent17

i just wish some friggin games would start getting released.  Releasing TESO for the one and ps4 now would have been a fantastic way to bridge the gap between now and when a lot of the other games come out this fall. 

hellgast0
hellgast0

This guy made Insomniac Games, who are most famous for their PS exclusives (Spyro, Ratchet&Clank, Resistence) ,make an exclusive game for the X1. I'm confident he will do a great job!

translucent17
translucent17

Microsoft is like that girl you broke up with that just doesn't get that it's over and thinks that if she keeps coming around and forcing herself on you that somehow you'll magically get back together.......honey it's over and it's you not me......

Leria
Leria

If they want to do a 'gamer-first' thinking, here is what they have to do:

1. Never put in any DRM that links a game solely to one console or one person's account. Linking add-ons such as DLC to one person's account is fine, that is the only way to be sure that someone has actually bought the DLC in question.

2. Think about not releasing the game until the DLC has all been finished or making the DLC not additional cost stuff.

3. Stop with the disc-based DRM. I.E. having to have a disc constantly spinning in a drive in order to play your legally bought game and the various 'disc-tricks' that make it impossible to play game backups. If you are going to use the latter, make it a FREE service to have your disc replaced.

4. Decrease the prices of 'day one' games. I'm sorry, but more and more people even with 80K a year incomes like myself are coming to the point where we cannot justify these purchases, so we wait and buy used if we buy at all.

thermalmotion
thermalmotion

It's just funny to me how Microsoft keeps interviewing itself. That Major Nelson guy try's to come off as a hip, personable dude and yet he's so obviously just another ageing Microsoft employee.

59Hertz
59Hertz

By this they most likely mean they will slowly implement the original plans over a longer course of time. It's amazing how powerful there marketing is. It's also amazing how many people fall for it.

rdwolf260
rdwolf260

I love my Xbox 360 and PS3. Until Xbox One is fixed, I will not buy it. Here's how you fix it:

-Make Kinect optional

-At least 2T HDD if you're requiring full game installs (30G-50G per game going into the future).

-Make game installs quicker (20 minute installs before you can play is far cry from "instant" that was promised.

-Stop trying to convince developers to make their games rely on your "cloud." You cloud WILL have downtime which means my games will look like shit or not work at all.

johnnylex
johnnylex

Gamers first eh. How about getting rid of Kinect and dropping the price.

I refuse to be forced into buying a peripheral that I don't want.

rawkstar007
rawkstar007

I'll make you a deal, Phil. You bring me a demo of an exclusive game at E3 that makes me as excited as when I first saw "The Last of Us" gameplay at the Sony presser back in 2012, and I will buy an Xbox One.

musalala
musalala

Just remove Kinetic already

creepshow2
creepshow2

Sorry,but it is still a terrible console as long as they keep forcing kinect BS. I really do like my 360, but I cannot support them and will be staying with PS4 and Wii U.


theKSMM
theKSMM

I'm still salty about the turnaround they did last year.  The thought of having my game library follow me to any system I logged in on had me ready to go all digital with my XBOX game purchases.  But thanks to unwarranted gamer rage, it seems like that's not gonna happen.  :-(

assertive_user
assertive_user

@XNEXUS666X     Please stop making your fellow PC Gamers look like insecure, immature fools. We don't care for it very much

se007
se007

@translucent17 Wow, so consoles are like girls to you? You should consider therapy.

kachan64
kachan64

@Leria  I have to agree with you as well. Also they need to

1. Making the console cheaper.

2. Not to bundle kinect. If people wants to, they can go and buy it.

3. Play disc based games just like what the xbox 360 did.

And those will be great for Xbox right now, if they did those.

Dannystaples14
Dannystaples14

@thermalmotion  He was the best aged employee of the lot though. Even at the launch conference you could tell he wasn't just a simple suit standing there reading a script, he actually had some finesse about him.

And considering the first thing he has done is apologise for the dodgy start he knows business politics as well. He is going to be a great head of Xbox I think.

flyinb11
flyinb11

Or we just want it. I was sold on the system initially for the game sharing. I always have Internet and decided to go full digital on both ps4 and Xbox one. I loved the idea of sharing with my brother several states away.

The crying was largely from Sony fans that would never have bought the system anyway. At least it differentiated the 2 consoles. Now I own 2 boxes that are only separated by exclusives.

Dannystaples14
Dannystaples14

@59Hertz  You know putting words in other people's mouths and reading between the lines and coming up with nothing but conspiracy theories, makes you look like an idiot.

How can people be so annoyed by Microsoft's presence and their need to justify their purchase of a console that they will just make shit up?

flyinb11
flyinb11

Just stop with the optional kinect. See how it killed the development for ps camera. If you don't like that, get PlayStation. The 2 systems are almost identical, except a few exclusives and kinect. Stop trying to change the Xbox One into A PS4.

deathwish026
deathwish026

@rdwolf260  world of warcraft has 6-8 hour downtime and so does playstation network but nobody complains about that. seriously this website is full of crying babies.

Leria
Leria

@rdwolf260

rdwolf, those are pretty much 'standard' install times even for PC games that are that large. So, you are not going to get any better install times than that unless or until something better than SATA 6.0 comes out.

Leria
Leria

@johnnylex

What is wrong with 'buying' the Kinect? It is being thrown into the box for basically NO COST by Microsoft, you are not going to get any price DECREASE if they stop including it. Now, making it mandatory was an exceedingly great mistake on the part of Microsoft but including it period? Not so much.

Leria
Leria

@rawkstar007

Last of Us was a third-party game by a known exceedingly good developer. I doubt that you are going to have a game on the XBox One that is exactly comparable to Last of Us unless or until Sony allows the publisher of that game to 'port' it to the XBox One.

flyinb11
flyinb11

You would have gotten a PS4 anyway. That's ok. Stop trying to make the Xbox One into a PS4.

flyinb11
flyinb11

Well said. They let PS4 fans hate change the biggest reason that I wanted an Xbox one.

dgg2828
dgg2828

@theKSMM  well you can if you buy all your games on the digital store. you can play them on any console as long as your live account is logged in. its even been a feature on xbox 360 for a while now.

sunbeam4
sunbeam4

@theKSMM "gamer rage" has nout to do with it. they clearly said they had a half arssed digital ownership program.

beside kinect 2.0 + no updatable HDD. we can't afford and don't want "Planned obsolescence".

figures just talk for themselves the x1 & Wii U are miles away from the PS4.

ps will still be waiting for the slim PS4 while M$ & BigN get their act together :\

kyelo
kyelo

@theKSMM  what is the reason they cannot do that now?

se007
se007

@kachan64 @Leria More like 2. Make kinect actually useful and innovative, and implement really interesting and fresh gameplay elements with it.

translucent17
translucent17

Are you talking about Nelson or spencer? Because Nelson is a total knob jockey

59Hertz
59Hertz

@flyinb11 Well if you wanted it for those reasons that's cool. I look for just games. I personally can care less about cable TV, or the extra services, or sharing over the internet etc and that goes for both consoles. My TV has most of the services by itself anyway.
 Sony fans may have been largely to blame with the policy reversal but really those policies were more in favor of MS than they were for anyone else. With all kinds of bullshit that screws us and gives them that little bit of extra $.
 One of these ways is what I've mentioned before and plenty are aware of it. Paying for Netflix by itself and then having to pay Live if you want to watch it over the Xbox. Just one example.
 And if you were cool with the used game policies etc then I don't know what to say.
 Both consoles will have good games no doubt but the way MS operates and the main goals they seem to have are not something I personally back.
 

59Hertz
59Hertz

@Dannystaples14Well for one I'm not justifying anything so, please don't put words in my mouth. Did I really come up with multiple conspiracy theories?
It's no conspiracy that they do penny pinch the consumer a lot, and that there marketing is quite powerful and well funded. Maybe they implement stuff later on maybe they won't. I do grant you that the "falling for it" is from my own bias towards the company, obviously but it doesn't warrant a conspiracy and neither does implementing policies later on.
 "Most likely" is probably a key phrase here. My comment states my own opinion.
So stop making shit up

johnnylex
johnnylex

@Leria @johnnylex  I don't care if it added to the cost by a mere $10 which I don't believe it did.

It's simple, I won't use it so I don't want to pay for it. And you can't tell me that it didn't add to the overall cost, it more than likely is the reason for the price difference of the two consoles.

I don't like Microsofts bully attitude towards their customers, they don't control us we control them with our wallets. (Same goes for Apple) I decide what I want, and when I get it what ever I want to do with it. ie: keep it openware

Dannystaples14
Dannystaples14

@Leria @johnnylex  It was a "mistake" in terms of core games but it was the ONLY choice they had to make the Kinect a potential hit.

Kinect 1.0 was fucking terrible. No one was going to buy 2.0 no matter how much space age stuff they cram in there. By putting it in the box they maintain that all Xbox One users have one, meaning people will be more likely to look at Kinect games and they can now develop new ideas for it without the added pressure of no one even having one to start with.

No developer was going to try and push the boat out on Kinect 1.0 because it was terrible and no one had one. Not so any more. 

Kinect 2.0 has to potential to be a fantastic gaming peripheral. Hell people have already taken to the voice commands rather well overall despite it being a little inaccurate. But think about it this way. If it doesn't work this time, it won't be getting a third chance.

Wether it will remains to be seen but I'd rather give it a chance and let it battle for itself. I mean Sony have no innovation at all this generation so far. Just by having voice commands and a camera that is actually worth the price tag for those who want one puts them head and shoulders with the PS 1080p.

The only thing Sony have done is add game streaming and no fucker even knew what that was until Playstation Now came out. So much for them listening to customers.

theKSMM
theKSMM

@dgg2828 But I cannot share my library with family or friends in remote places.  That was to be a feature of the XBOX ONE's digital library management.

theKSMM
theKSMM

@sunbeam4 You call the ability to play any game in my library on any console I log onto "half arssed."  I call it the future.  But to each his own.

theKSMM
theKSMM

@kyelo I would say fear.  You can't just tell publishers that you're going to allow their games to be playable across all consoles without some assurances that there will be protection against piracy / copying / account sharing.  In other words, there has to be a DRM component.

But as soon as you announce a new initiative that has DRM, the gamer community is going to have a knee-jerk reaction to say "See, they're going back on their word!"  And having Sony fanning the flames of XBOX discontent doesn't help things at all.

XNEXUS666X
XNEXUS666X

@translucent17 they're just a bunch of old dorks getting caught up in a frenzy of their own bullshit. Kinect is so shit it doesn't even turn on when you tell it, that was actually a selling point for me. The future is NOT now.

flyinb11
flyinb11

Then get a PS4 like you probably intended to do anyway. I bought both.