Phil Spencer wants to change Xbox's dudebro image

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#1 Posted by Salt_The_Fries (8398 posts) -

A neat little feature with an interview with Spencer, courtesy of Kotaku UK:

Xbox has long been the home of sports and shooting, but it's now looking to diversify that dudebro image, says Xbox chief Phil Spencer.

You know the strange thing about my eight years with the Xbox 360? Despite the fact that I played it most days, I often felt kind of alienated by it. The ads it was serving me, the language used on the dash and the games that Xbox always chose to highlight made me feel distinctly like I was not the target audience; I was perhaps playing something that was not actually intended for me. The Xbox One reveal, with its heavy emphasis on TV, sports and military shooting – three things that, if I'm honest, I struggle to muster much personal enthusiasm for – did little to alter the overriding impression that Xbox was aiming for a very specific demographic that did not include me. If it happened to have things that I wanted to play as well, that would be a happy coincidence.

In the early days of the Xbox One, leading up to its reveal and launch, it looked like Microsoft was doubling down on the sports and shooter consumer, spending what must have been gigantic money on timed DLC exclusivity deals with EA and Activision. Meanwhile, Sony set about tending to its diversity garden, wooing the non-sports, non-shooter types with an attractive array of indie and off-beat games. But since then, things have changed. Xbox is under new leadership in Phil Spencer, and we're starting to see different kinds of game featuring in Xbox's presentations: games like Below, D4, Inside, Superhot, Ori and the Blind Forest and, yes, Tomb Raider.

Microsoft is making a conscious effort to diversify, says Phil Spencer, whose background in the studio side of the Xbox business means he has a different approach to what he wants to bring to the platform. "I don’t know if I’ve sad this publicly, but I’m actually not the biggest first-person shooter fan", he tells me at Gamescom. "I’m playing Valiant Hearts right now, I loved Max: Curse of the Brotherhood, I loved Brothers last year, Limbo is probably my favourite game of the last five years. These are the kind of games I play. I don’t want it to be only about what I play, but I’m definitely going to have a flavour of games that I want to show up on our platform in addition to the things that traditionally shoot to the top".

The kind of game that shoots to the top has itself diversified in recent years, though – on PC, most noticeably, but also on console. "When I think about who the gamers are on Xbox and what’s at the top of the list on Live, FIFA is up there, sports is up there, COD is up there, but there’s also this crazy thing called Minecraft that does really well on 360 and which I think will shoot right to the top on Xbox One when it comes out there", Spencer points out. "That says to me that there is some diversity. The sports gamers tend to be a little different to the FPS gamers - [I couldn't say] whether or not that’s necessarily 'bro', there may be a gender difference there that’s not showing up, but in terms of what people like to play were seeing a diverse set of things".

Spencer feels that although the early Xbox One adopters are likely to be what we'd imagine to be the traditional "core" gamer, the console is already starting to move past the "shooterbox" image that stuck to the Xbox 360 for years. "It’s interesting - from a first-party standpoint we haven’t really had a great shooter on the box yet", he says. "We’ve got Master Chief Collection, which you could either say is four old games or re-imagined Halo depending on your cynicism on it. One of the things I would applaud Sony on in their [Gamescom] presentation is the diversity of games that they showed… it’s something that we strive for as well".

The limiting factor here, of course, is money: even Microsoft does not have unlimited money, and must choose where to invest. If Microsoft previously chose to invest in big third-party partnerships, like the COD map packs and FIFA Ultimate Team, that means that it isn't investing in a variety of smaller projects for the platform. But it's not necessarily a case of one versus the other, says Spencer; rather, it's a question of balance.

"I don’t at all have infinite money", he says. "The smaller stuff isn’t as expensive, so you can do more of it...the industry isn’t all that large. It’s really about relationships with people, and sometimes those people work at big studios and some of them work at small ones. And on the small studio side you’re probably going to invest in more things at a lower cost. I think they co-exist really well. The console business is great because it can support the big and the small. The diversity of what we see on console should be a strength. Can it be challenging? Yes, but I think we have to succeed at that as a platform owner.

"My goal is to have a very diverse portfolio, more diverse than we had on 360 certainly, and that’s the kind of stuff we’re going to invest in".

Realistically, Xbox is never going to stop courting the players (and makers) of probably the two most lucrative genres in gaming, sports and shooters. There's too much money in it. But the change in Xbox's public attitude to other kinds of games in the past year or so is encouraging - and though it's easy to see it as a reaction to Sony's clever positioning since the PS4 reveal, I believe there's a genuine desire to diversify the Xbox's image, and make it appealing to a greater cross-section of people. Xbox will always serve its core demographic, but it's also starting to feel a little less alienating to everyone else.

What do you think, System Warriors? I think it was unfair to associate Xbox solely with dudebro shooters as 360's lineup was extremely diverse featuring games that couldn't be found on any other console last gen, such as strategy/action hybrids Battlestations Midway and Pacific, space sims such as Darkstar One and a whole range of RTS games, including Halo Wars, and countless others.

As for Xbone, its lineup is already diverse and colourful and is not only about being gritty, and upcoming games like Forza Horizon 2 or Sunset Overdrive will solidify it.

Do you feel current direction of Xbone's games channel Spencer's personality and taste? What do you think about the balance of timed exclusivity deals, in-house exclusives and indies?

#2 Posted by PapaTrop (572 posts) -

I never really thought the "dudebro" image fit the console. Especially since it also had the best racing games, and was the home of the most WRPGs on consoles last gen.

It's more an image I associated with gamers than consoles.

#3 Posted by getyeryayasout (7216 posts) -

The guy says the right things. I'd love for Xbox to diversify it's games selection a bit more, only good can come of it.

#4 Edited by Maddie_Larkin (6401 posts) -

To the majority of consumers a platforms audience, is made by adverts. Sofar the X1 has been advertising on dudebro humor and shooters :\

But all the power to him if he wants to change that. It would likely be very fitting since no one I know would touch the X1 with a stick, partly due to the adverticements they chose to make).

It would benefit to have a wider audience, a wider appeal. But they made so many mistakes already that it will be a hard thing to do 8hell the physical box itself is rather offputting)

In the balance of the timed exclusives/1st party and Indie, I do expect to see much better then the 360, even without him pointing that out to us, but atleast if true it is a good thing to hear, which might well happen.

#5 Edited by AdobeArtist (22829 posts) -

@getyeryayasout said:

The guy says the right things. I'd love for Xbox to diversify it's games selection a bit more, only good can come of it.

You aren't suggesting the Xbox lineup wasn't already diversified?

Tons of RPGs (Elder Scrolls, Dragon Age, Witcher, FF13, Blue Dragon...)

Racers (Forza, NFS, DIRT, PGR...)

and the host of action Adv. including; Assassin's Creed, Batman Arkham, Tomb Raider, Dead Rising, Alan Wake, Viva Pinata, and so many more.

There was also diversity in the age demographics, M games like Gears and Condemned, as well as kid friendly like Simpsons and Naruto.

On 360 I played more action and RPG games than shooters, and never touched sports.

#6 Posted by Speak_Low (970 posts) -

I agree with him. The ads never really bothered me (because I ignored them anyways - AXE Body Spray? lol) but I like that he's thinking about diversity and even mentioned admiring what Sony did at Gamescom and it being something to strive for.

Also cool to hear the kind of games Spencer likes to play.

#7 Posted by getyeryayasout (7216 posts) -

@getyeryayasout said:

The guy says the right things. I'd love for Xbox to diversify it's games selection a bit more, only good can come of it.

You aren't suggesting the Xbox lineup wasn't already diversified?

Tons of RPGs (Elder Scrolls, Dragon Age, Witcher, FF13, Blue Dragon...)

Racers (Forza, NFS, DIRT, PGR...)

and the host of action Adv. including; Assassin's Creed, Batman Arkham, Tomb Raider, Dead Rising, Alan Wake, Viva Pinata, and so many more.

There was also diversity in the age demographics, M games like Gears and Condemned, as well as kid friendly like Simpsons and Naruto.

On 360 I played more action and RPG games than shooters, and never touched sports.

I just meant from Microsoft themselves. The 360 was definitely a beast of a console with plenty of variety, I own hundreds of games for mine.

#8 Posted by LegatoSkyheart (24993 posts) -

If he says this stuff and we don't get a Proper Banjo Kazooie or Conker game for Xbox One then I'll assure him I will never get an Xbox One.

#9 Posted by ryangcnx-2 (1219 posts) -

I think he means 1st party lineup... maybe? On the 360, it had lots of RPG's like Tales of Vesperia, Lost Odyssey, Mass Effect, the better versions of Bethesda titles (plus all the other multiplats, to the point of that they should just have been exclusive anyway, if you bought them for PS3 it was like shooting yourself in the foot). Forza which overtook Gran Turismo, Dead or Alive 4, Kameo and PDZ, HD versions of Banjo and Kazooy. For some odd reason, Call of Duty and sports players really liked the 360 and gave it that Dude bro image, even though the games were available on literally everything. Most shooters came out on PC, 360 and PS3.

Even when the PS4 and X1 launched, the xbox didn't launch with an exclusive shooter, just Call of Duty. Xbox's premier titles were Forza 5, Killer Instinct, Dead Rising 3, Ryse, none of which are shooters.

Ultimately I think it was all the Doritos and Mountain Dew Call of Duty and Halo ads that gave it that image.

But I'm all for X1 getting more exclusives, unlike last gen, the Microsofts console won't be my main choice for multiplats as this gen Sony's console is getting the superior versions. So the more they have just on xbox gives me more games to buy for it.

#10 Edited by DEadliNE-Zero0 (1546 posts) -

Either this guy should be a polititian or he's the real deal.

Either way, this a great news for xbxo owners. Phil Spencer is righ now the best thing to ahve happened to the xbox. I can definitelly see teh usual MS business to work with 3rd party devs and release pc version to continue, but if they invest in more 1st party unique exclusives, like maybe some mroe RPGs or stealth games, i'll definitelly get more interested in the xbone.

Also, i just got this feeling of M$ stealing Mortal Kombat X next, after TB

#11 Posted by scottpsfan14 (4036 posts) -

Phil Spencer in the key to saving the Xbox. Too bad many of the idiot lems on here actually are shooter maniacs.

#12 Posted by Aljosa23 (24777 posts) -

Anyone who uses the term "dudebro" seriously has some problems. The Xbox One doesn't have a demographic problem, it has a price and lack of games problem.

#13 Posted by AdobeArtist (22829 posts) -

Phil Spencer in the key to saving the Xbox. Too bad many of the idiot lems on here actually are shooter maniacs.

Generalize much?

#14 Posted by farrell2k (5823 posts) -

Wow. Even ms realized that shooters are over saturating the market.

#15 Posted by speedfog (3056 posts) -

I like this guy. Would be great if he made it come true.

#16 Posted by Aljosa23 (24777 posts) -

@scottpsfan14 said:

Phil Spencer in the key to saving the Xbox. Too bad many of the idiot lems on here actually are shooter maniacs.

Generalize much?

Not to say it's a bad thing but how is he wrong? Many of the Microsoft fans here and in general are big shooter fans.

#17 Edited by Riverwolf007 (23586 posts) -

"blah blah blah please women look at our product so our consumer base expands by 51% and we get more $$$ blah blah blah."

i mean lol right.

all these guys have said this shit constantly for the last 10 years and you have to be a moron to not see what they get out of saying it.

and why would you not want to expand your base?

the whole point in almost any business is to appeal to the widest base.

#18 Edited by scottpsfan14 (4036 posts) -
@scottpsfan14 said:

Phil Spencer in the key to saving the Xbox. Too bad many of the idiot lems on here actually are shooter maniacs.

Generalize much?

Xbox is the home of dudebros mainly. Why do you think Phil even said it in the first place if I was generalizing?

#19 Posted by which_wich (172 posts) -

LMAO and then Lems act like you're insane when you say Xbox is DudeBro platform. Your own guy is saying the same thing!

Mems, JimmyPSN, Clone01, RR360DD...and all the usual suspects

#20 Posted by WitIsWisdom (3711 posts) -

What's the point of trying to change your image when everyone knows nothing other than that will change? I would say THAT wont change either though.

#21 Edited by Bruin1986 (1240 posts) -

@scottpsfan14 said:

Phil Spencer in the key to saving the Xbox. Too bad many of the idiot lems on here actually are shooter maniacs.

Destiny, a FPS, is the most pre-ordered new IP in history.

The #1 console for pre-orders of Destiny is the PS4.

So, numbers would suggest, that a huge percentage of cows are "shooter maniacs" as well.

Correct?

#22 Posted by LJS9502_basic (150474 posts) -

Eh I have the first two MS consoles and shooters and sports are not games I tend to play. And I managed to find games for the consoles. Just more PR speak from MS.

#23 Posted by jg4xchamp (47521 posts) -

@Aljosa23 said:

Anyone who uses the term "dudebro" seriously has some problems. The Xbox One doesn't have a demographic problem, it has a price and lack of games problem.

Bingo

#24 Posted by ghostwarrior786 (3968 posts) -

Phil deserves to be nominated for nobel peace prize

#25 Posted by RR360DD (11635 posts) -

Phil Spencer in the key to saving the Xbox. Too bad many of the idiot lems on here actually are shooter maniacs.

Going by PS4 game sales and preorders, so are cows.

So I dont see your point.

#26 Posted by Bigboi500 (29401 posts) -

Turning their backs on the only fans they have left? hmmmm....

#27 Posted by jsmoke03 (12785 posts) -

dude nothing has changed from the 360 and the xb1....you swear the 360 didnt have the diverse library...hell a lot of indies like braid and super meat boy was on the 360.

the only thing different now is that phil spencer is just SAYING the right things. xbox is still paying for timed exclusives and the first party studios are still making halo/gears/forza/fable.

dont let the pr fluff blind you ppl

#28 Posted by silversix_ (14122 posts) -

This is something i wasn't expecting from him so im kinda amazed right here right now. Dudebro image is worst than Shavelware image the Wii had

#29 Posted by edwardecl (2142 posts) -

I'd be more worried about the under powered over priced image.

#30 Posted by lamprey263 (23294 posts) -

I doubt they can do much to change this image, nevermind the PS3 had roughly the same amount of shooters and in some cases multiplat shooters that sold better. Think of it like the double standard, MS can't talk about non-gaming features without gamers shitting all over them for it but Sony does it and not so much as one complaint about it. Well, if MS wants to shake the dude-bro image, then they'll have to starve themselves entirely of those dude-bro games... and frankly, that's probably going to do them more damage than just being known as the console for dude-bro gamers.

#31 Edited by Mr-Kutaragi (1930 posts) -

Dudebro are what keeping xbox brand from death. MS did try in original xbox to diverse and even some early 360 exclusive but xbro base does not respond well to these game despite massive promotion. If they cannot make profit, they will not invest.

#32 Posted by Mr_Huggles_dog (780 posts) -

I think the dudebro image fits perfectly.

Not that there aren't other images that could be associated with it....since yes, it has a big library. But some ppl told me, when I asked about what console to get, get an Xbox for shooters....PS3 for everything else. Towards theend of the 360, there wasn't shit for diversity if you'd already played the multiplats and older games.

Since the 360 goes along with COD, last gen, I think it's safe to say that the duderbo image fits.

#33 Edited by Speak_Low (970 posts) -

I don't know how much these changes will help Xbox One in the long run, but I'm so glad we have Phil Spencer on board. He sort of speaks a language that gamers can understand. Way better than that alien Don Mattress. So glad he's gone. He's like the MS version of Iwata.

If he were still in charge, he'd probably be force-feeding us Kinect to this day.

#34 Edited by Star_Skywalker (4017 posts) -

So even MS is aware of the term "dudebro".

#35 Posted by ConanTheStoner (4835 posts) -

I thought the whole 'dude bro' deal was mainly just the original Xbox... and even then it wasn't really accurate.

#36 Posted by cainetao11 (16974 posts) -

@scottpsfan14 said:

Phil Spencer in the key to saving the Xbox. Too bad many of the idiot lems on here actually are shooter maniacs.

Generalize much?

For that, I'll have to shoot him.....

#37 Posted by GrenadeLauncher (4203 posts) -

Really it needs to get rid of its obnoxious, dumbass fanbase image before the dudebro image. The latter is nowhere near as bad as the former.

#38 Posted by locopatho (20192 posts) -

Yeah I'd agree with him. Me and friends were playing Viva Pinata and Toy Soldiers and Eternal Sonata and Devil May Cry along with the likes of Halo, Forza, Gears and Fifa, but it always had that image.

I actually thought MS did a fantastic job of diversifying their library last gen. They secured ALL the third support (MGS4 excepted), they secured tons of indies for XBLA and that closed some BIG gaps in their library (2D platformers anyone?), and for the first half of the gen they made/funded some diverse games, like Rare's cartoon games and JRPGs like Lost Odyssey. That sadly fell apart after a few years though.

#39 Edited by The_Last_Ride (70921 posts) -

He has to stop showing heavy support for the "dudebro" games then. FIFA, Battlefield, COD, Halo, Gears, etc all don't help that image

#40 Posted by GrenadeLauncher (4203 posts) -

Once again this'll be another case of based Phil saying one thing and meaning another. That "dudebro" audience is the only thing Xbox has now.

#41 Posted by SecretPolice (21539 posts) -

He needs to get out more since 360 had as diverse a game library as any console ever but you can't dictate the games people choose to buy and play sooo, alienate your so called dudebro gamers and you may be left with a much smaller fan base than you bargained for. Careful Philly... just sayin. :P

#42 Edited by Cloud_imperium (2685 posts) -

Lol . . . I think Phil is great guy for this job but sad thing is most of the gamers are casual , who rarely try something different and only follow big names (COD , FIFA , Battlefield , Gears , GTA etc) .

#43 Posted by Floppy_Jim (25608 posts) -

It's not accurate but they have themselves to blame with that perpetual goddamn flaunting of Halo, CoD and Forza year in, year out. Funnily enough the 360 was way more diverse than MS themselves would lead you to believe.

#44 Posted by slim70 (340 posts) -

I think he means 1st party lineup... maybe? On the 360, it had lots of RPG's like Tales of Vesperia, Lost Odyssey, Mass Effect, the better versions of Bethesda titles (plus all the other multiplats, to the point of that they should just have been exclusive anyway, if you bought them for PS3 it was like shooting yourself in the foot). Forza which overtook Gran Turismo, Dead or Alive 4, Kameo and PDZ, HD versions of Banjo and Kazooy. For some odd reason, Call of Duty and sports players really liked the 360 and gave it that Dude bro image, even though the games were available on literally everything. Most shooters came out on PC, 360 and PS3.

Even when the PS4 and X1 launched, the xbox didn't launch with an exclusive shooter, just Call of Duty. Xbox's premier titles were Forza 5, Killer Instinct, Dead Rising 3, Ryse, none of which are shooters.

Ultimately I think it was all the Doritos and Mountain Dew Call of Duty and Halo ads that gave it that image.

But I'm all for X1 getting more exclusives, unlike last gen, the Microsofts console won't be my main choice for multiplats as this gen Sony's console is getting the superior versions. So the more they have just on xbox gives me more games to buy for it.

I agree with you except when it comes to multiplats because for me there is just no substitute for XBL. I don't care how far along PSN has come on the PS4 Sony will never be innovators when it comes to console online they will always trail behind and try to mimic XBL as best as they can.

#45 Posted by clone01 (24564 posts) -

@papatrop said:

I never really thought the "dudebro" image fit the console. Especially since it also had the best racing games, and was the home of the most WRPGs on consoles last gen.

It's more an image I associated with gamers than consoles.

It does. But I think the blanket label is misleading. Just like the misnomer that no one buys PS games, and Ninty games are "kiddy."

#46 Posted by nintendoboy16 (26319 posts) -

@AdobeArtist: Not to sound elitist (as this next series I have lost interest in, save for the older episodes), but Naruto shouldn't be in the same sentence as "kid friendly."

#47 Edited by handssss (1827 posts) -

I don't see Xbox as ever NOT being dudebro.

Everything Xbox is built upon Halo, the most dudebro FPS ever next to Call of Duty (which they and their sponsors also push like there's no tomorrow) Gears, their 2nd most recognizable IP is as dudebro as you can get.

And Xbox One's advertisement so far has been Titanfall (which tried to capture COD dudebros) and the dudebros who like to watch Football.

#48 Posted by LJS9502_basic (150474 posts) -

I don't know how much these changes will help Xbox One in the long run, but I'm so glad we have Phil Spencer on board. He sort of speaks a language that gamers can understand. Way better than that alien Don Mattress. So glad he's gone. He's like the MS version of Iwata.

If he were still in charge, he'd probably be force-feeding us Kinect to this day.

LOL...you love the PR. A marketing dream you are.

#49 Posted by Heil68 (43585 posts) -

They tried in 2009 when they dropped core to go upwards of 65% casual with Kinect(lol).

#50 Edited by _WilliamWallace (17 posts) -

I just loveee turtles!