Phil Spencer Is Exactly Who You Think He Is

How the video game industry’s most progressive exec is forging a bright future for Xbox.

On a warm Saturday in early June, Phil Spencer, the Microsoft executive in charge of Xbox, was helping Keanu Reeves, the movie star, calm his nerves inside the Microsoft Theater green room in downtown Los Angeles. It was the unofficial start of E3 and Reeves was there to surprise the roughly 7,000 people attending Microsoft's Xbox showcase.

"I got the feeling he maybe wasn't fully prepared for what was coming," Spencer, 51, told me a few days later. Spencer, who has been participating in the showcase for close to a decade and has recently taken to hosting it, promised Reeves he had nothing to worry about. "They're going to love you," he assured him.

You can see the shock on Reeves's face as he walked onstage in the many videos that have been posted online since: the whoops and hollers took a full minute or more to die down; the shouted declarations of love even longer. It's a testament to Spencer's own celebrity in the video game industry that his arrival onstage moments later was met with the same level of riotous enthusiasm. And not just once: it happened every time Spencer was on stage that day. At one point during the showcase, someone tweeted, "Phil Spencer is literally God."

The idea of anyone idolizing a business executive is surprising in any industry, let alone one where consumers are routinely suspicious of big companies and corporate scheming. But many gamers seem to view Spencer as one of them, rather than the physical embodiment of a corporate business strategy. Spencer's public behavior does little to discourage this: he has a habit of publicly sharing his Xbox Live gamertag, for example, and inviting people--everyday, non-executive people--to play with him. His overwhelming popularity means he gets more requests than he can respond to, but there are plenty of stories floating around the internet of Xbox Live users who have managed to challenge Microsoft's executive vice-president of gaming to a Forza race or Rocket League match.

This kind of thing is unusual for someone at Spencer's level. "One of the things I've always appreciated about Phil is how, even as busy as he is, he still plays a lot of games," Geoff Keighley, the creator of the Game Awards, told me. "I'll always remember talking to him Thanksgiving weekend 2014, right as we were about to launch the Game Awards, and it was clear he had just spent the entire day playing Assassin's Creed. That stuck with me."

Spencer has worked hard to create the impression that his loyalties lie with consumers. Since taking over as head of Xbox in 2014, he has tirelessly advocated for cross-platform play, insisting gamers should have the freedom to play together irrespective of console or platform, and reintroduced backward compatibility to the Xbox ecosystem. He has overseen the acquisition of a handful of first-party studios with the intention of diversifying the brand's content; introduced Xbox Game Pass, an online game subscription service; launched the Xbox adaptive controller, the first controller released by a major publisher designed for gamers with limited mobility; and began work on Project xCloud, a game streaming service that will debut later this year and go head-to-head with Google's Stadia service.

Of course, it's not just consumers who have benefitted from Spencer's progressive vision: last year, Microsoft's annual gaming revenue went up by almost 15%, hitting $10 billion--a first in the company's history. "Certain cynical people look at me playing or caring about video games and see it as me being that way because of the job I have," Spencer told me. "I see it as me being one of the lucky people who found the job that is my hobby, my passion, the thing I love. I've been playing video games since I was six years old. This is what I'm made to do."

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At five foot nine, with broad shoulders and a square jaw, Spencer looks more like a high school football coach than an executive. His personal style falls somewhere between geek dad and personal trainer: loose jeans, sneakers, some kind of video game t-shirt (usually an Xbox-related one), and a hoodie or blazer, depending on the occasion.

Spencer married his high school sweetheart, and the couple has two daughters, both in their twenties. During the week, Spencer keeps to a strict routine, arriving at work early but never staying past dinner time. He'll usually squeeze in a couple of hours on Xbox Live before retiring promptly at midnight. On weekends, he plays other things: piano, mainly, or chess. His broad tastes make him a skilled conversationalist and a fun sparring partner; get him talking about a subject he loves and his passion is evident. Music is probably his second-favorite thing to talk about after games: he is as comfortable talking about Xbox strategy as he is about Led Zeppelin (his favorite band) or old-school punk ("I like the kind of raw emotion and energy of good punk music"). He recently accompanied his daughters to a Rise Against concert, which he didn't hate.

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Spencer's entire career rests on a chance encounter during his sophomore year at the University of Washington. "There was a guy who lived two doors down from me, and his dad was a vice president at Microsoft. He came to visit one day and saw me doing some game programming on my Atari ST. I think Microsoft was trying to do some of this stuff in Windows at the time. Of course, I didn't know what Microsoft or Windows was. I was completely oblivious to it. But he just said, 'Hey, come intern this summer.' And I was immediately like, ‘Right, let's do it.'"

Spencer began his internship with Microsoft in the summer of 1988. The company was only 10 years old at that point, and still very much led by a programming mentality. Spencer fit right in. At the end of the summer, Spencer's boss asked if he wanted to stay on--and get paid for it. Spencer spent the next few months waking up at 6 a.m. for classes and then driving across Lake Washington in his Ford Pinto--"a car known for its potential to blow up if you got rear-ended," as he remembers it--so he could be on the Microsoft campus by 11 a.m.

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After graduating in 1990, Microsoft offered Spencer a full-time programming job in the multimedia group, where he went on to lead development on CD-ROM titles, working on projects like Encarta and the launch of MSN in 1995. In 2000, Microsoft officially entered the North American video game market with the announcement of its first home console, the Xbox. A man named Ed Fries was put in charge of acquiring first-party studios. When Microsoft eventually set up a new division, Microsoft Games, later the same year, Fries sought out Spencer. "His pitch to me was, ‘I've got this studio that I should probably shut down. Do you want to try running it before I do that?" Spencer said.

Spencer took over Studio X, an internal publishing studio, eventually working with designers like Peter Molyneux on Fable; Brian Reynolds on Rise of Nations; and John Tobias on Tao Feng. He spent a few years in London looking after Lionhead and Rare before returning to Redmond in 2008 to take over as general manager of the company's internal game studios and begin work on Microsoft's third home console, the Xbox One.

The company targeted its first two consoles, the Xbox and Xbox 360, predominantly at core gamers, making the machines faster and graphically more powerful than their rivals. The strategy had worked, at least up to a point: while PlayStation and Nintendo were still ahead (with the PlayStation 2/3 and the Wii, respectively), Microsoft had successfully managed to carve out its own niche in the North American market. The Xbox One, however, seemed specifically designed to expand the brand's reach far beyond console gamers. In an attempt to appeal to a broader range of consumers, Microsoft shifted the Xbox One's focus away from gaming towards other entertainment, like television and movies. In doing so, it also introduced a number of anti-consumer restrictions, like preventing people from sharing games with their friends and requiring online authentication every 24 hours.

While these were later reversed after considerable public outcry, it was too late. The Xbox One and Sony's PlayStation 4 went on sale within a week of each other; both consoles sold one million units in 24 hours. But, while the PlayStation 4 continued to break sales records in its first year of release and beyond, the Xbox One quickly fell behind--and has never caught up.

A few months later, Spencer took over as head of Xbox. Whatever jubilation he felt was short-lived; a few weeks into the job, he got a call from Satya Nadella, Microsoft's new CEO. "I don't actually know a whole lot about why we're in gaming," Nadella told him.

Spencer tried to work out what to say to Nadella. He looked at where Xbox had failed, and how the brand could be saved--if at all.

It seemed like a good time to ask that question. Spencer was facing a lot of internal scrutiny from his own team. Many developers who had worked on the Xbox One felt let down by Microsoft's big vision; it was, as some told Spencer, not in line with "the soul" of what Xbox was. "Satya was transparent that there could be a future where gaming isn't a business that Microsoft should be in," Spencer told me. "But it's better to have it above the table than below the table, right?" Spencer tried to work out what to say to Nadella. He looked at where Xbox had failed, and how the brand could be saved--if at all. When he finally called Nadella back, it was to say this: "If we're going to stay in the gaming space, then let's make sure we're all-in. The last thing I wanted to do was run the gaming organization here as kind of an afterthought of the company and kind of half-in, half-out. Let's go fix who we are."

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A few days ahead of E3 2014, Microsoft launched a feedback portal, inviting people to submit ideas on how Xbox could improve its products and services and vote on the best ones. Within a week, the portal had registered nearly 170,000 votes. "It was very public, anybody could see the list of suggestions that were there," Spencer said. "And we were actually using that as a way to drive the updates that we were doing. Backward compatibility actually came from that feedback. We didn't know if we could do it, but we set off a small team to see if we could get it done."

Many saw this as Microsoft's first act of atonement for the Xbox One snafu. The second came a year later, and it was led by Spencer. He pushed Nadella to acquire Mojang, the Swedish developer of Minecraft, for $2.5 billion--a move that gave Microsoft exclusive control over the most popular game in the world at the time. The company could have easily forced people to buy a Microsoft platform if they wanted to keep playing Minecraft. Instead, Microsoft announced the game would continue to be available on all platforms, including those of its direct competitors. It was an unprecedented move for a publisher of Microsoft's size. "One of the first calls we got after the Minecraft acquisition was from Sony saying, ‘Are you going to pull it off PlayStation?'," Spencer said. "And I'm like, ‘Why would I do that? People like playing it on PlayStation.'"

In March 2016, Spencer attempted something even ballsier: he opened up Xbox Live to cross-platform play, inviting rival publishers to allow players on competing consoles to connect with Xbox Live users. Cross-platform play became something of a cause célèbre for Spencer; he extolled its virtues on every stage and public forum. He stood on stage at Microsoft events and declared in front of millions that Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo should be competing on games and services, not through exclusionary walls that hurt gamers. What right do video game publishers have to block players from playing together, he'd ask. Doesn't this create unnecessary divides, and prevent more people from playing games?

"One of the first calls we got after the Minecraft acquisition was from Sony saying, ‘Are you going to pull it off PlayStation?'," Spencer said. "And I'm like, ‘Why would I do that? People like playing it on PlayStation.'"

"The number of people that are actually buying a console every generation isn't growing dramatically, if at all," Spencer told me. "At one point you have to recognize that, okay, you can't just lead with one device. You can't just say, here's an Xbox. I'm going to go sell this device to every single person and that's what they're going to play on. That just doesn't work."

The idea of Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo working together probably seemed crazy at first, but Spencer was relentless. In 2017, Microsoft and Nintendo announced a first-of-its-kind partnership for Minecraft cross-platform play between the Xbox One and the Nintendo Switch, a rarity for console platform makers. "I'm positive it was the first time a Nintendo ad ever had the Xbox logo in it," Spencer said, referring to Nintendo's ad announcing the partnership. Sony demurred for a long time before eventually allowing cross-platform play for Fortnite. It's now possible for PC, Xbox One, Switch, and PlayStation 4 players to play together. Earlier this year, Microsoft and Nintendo teamed up once again, revealing Banjo and Kazooie (two popular mascots of the Xbox-owned Rare Studios) will join the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate roster. Meanwhile, Sony and Microsoft recently announced a partnership to explore innovations in cloud, AI, and game and content streaming services.

"Nintendo is a strong player in this industry," Spencer told me in May. "Do I wish every Switch player was also an Xbox owner? That would be awesome, but that's not going to happen. Sony is the same way. I don't think gaming is better if Xbox somehow replaces PlayStation."

It's this kind of candor that has earned Spencer the respect of so many gamers.

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Respect is probably too polite a word for it: Spencer is so used to being mobbed in public by well-wishers that Microsoft assigned him his own security detail ahead of this year's E3, adding to the already comically large party of people who follow Spencer around. To his credit, Spencer treats this as a fact of life--he ignores it as best he can--but is prudent enough to be apologetic about it if anybody points it out.

Not that anybody cares, really. Especially not at an event like the annual Xbox FanFest, which Microsoft throws for roughly 700 fans during E3 week. You can play games, chat with developers, drink, snack, and buy Xbox merch. You can also meet Phil Spencer. He attends FanFest every year, spending a few hours chatting to people and posing for selfies. His presence is never announced or scheduled: he likes to just drop in whenever he can.

A few days following the Xbox showcase, I accompanied Spencer on his annual FanFest visit.

The event is held in the same place as the showcase, inside the Microsoft Theater. The first person to spot Spencer as we walked in pointed at him and, in a dazzlingly accurate impersonation of the now-viral video of Keanu Reeves interacting with a fan during the showcase, yelled, "You're breathtaking!" Shouting things at Phil Spencer seems to be a well-rehearsed routine among Xbox fans; as more and more people were alerted to Spencer's presence, the "I love you!" declarations kept coming with startling regularity. Undeterred, Spencer walked around shaking hands and shooting the breeze. One guy asked Spencer to sign his life-size Master Chief helmet. Another pulled out an old Xbox controller. Spencer signed both. Someone else wanted to impart some feedback on how to improve Xbox Live. Spencer listened patiently. Almost everyone asked for a selfie. Slowly, a line began to form; after an hour, there were more than 50 people waiting.

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I went down the line and spotted a guy with a lime green buzzcut. In a heroic display of brand loyalty, he'd also shaved the Xbox logo into the back of his head. "It took the barber four hours to do this," he told me. "But he wasn't mad because he remembered me from last year." I raised my eyebrows. "Oh yeah, I do this every E3. I even dyed my mustache green last year!"

I asked him if he'd met Phil Spencer before. "Yes, heaps of times! We're both from California. He's the best. The loveliest guy you'll ever meet. I actually feel really close to him."

At the front of the line, Spencer seemed a little distracted. "I'd love to find Hitman and Megatron after this," he said, scanning the room. Three years ago, Spencer got an Xbox Live invitation to play Destiny with a man named Keith Garlington ("Hitman"), a father of two who runs a funeral home in Arkansas. "Phil had talked a lot publicly about being a dad and not having enough time to play games, so I just sent him a message saying, ‘Hey, I'm a dad too," Garlington told me recently. Spencer and Garlington now play together a few nights a week. They're usually joined by Amin Cooper ("Megatron"), who works construction and lives in New Jersey. The three men talk about life, work, and family as they drive around in Forza and co-op on Destiny 2 strikes. "We know each other's wives' names. We know each other's kids' names. We know what we're all doing next weekend," Spencer told me. "What other social construct would put these three random people together like this?"

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Both Garlington and Cooper came to FanFest at Spencer's invitation. It was the first time all three men had hung out in real life. Leaving Spencer to his line duties, I tracked them down to find out whether Spencer was actually any good at playing games. Did he kick ass? Or did they kick his ass? "We don't really play competitively, we mostly play co-op," Cooper answered diplomatically. Spencer, spotting us, rushed over. "Don't tell her anything!" he yelled before running away. "I think you can probably tell by now, having spent some time with him--Phil is 100% genuine," Garlington told me. "It's not a facade, and it's not for the camera. He's legitimately a good guy who loves games." For his part, Cooper admitted he was a little starstruck when he first reached out to Spencer on Xbox Live. "He was so friendly right away," he said. "He cares about everyone who plays, no matter where they're from or what they do. That's why everybody loves him."

The downside of such public adulation is the scrutiny that inevitably comes along with it. Spencer's detractors have wondered whether he is somehow playing the long con. From a purely competitive standpoint, Xbox remains behind PlayStation and Nintendo. It's hard to know by how much: Microsoft stopped releasing sales figures for its consoles in 2014, the same year Spencer took over as head of Xbox. Would Spencer be as collegiate with his rivals if he had a competitive lead to maintain? After all, it's easy to take risks when you have nothing to lose. "I hear that a lot," Spencer told me. "That I only care about cross-platform play because we're ‘losing.' There's no way for me to disprove that other than to say it's not true. These decisions aren't part of a strategy to eke away at number one's foothold or something. It doesn't mean that I'm perfect at this job. Obviously, you can get smarter people to do this job. I mean, I don't even have an MBA. There's a ton of things that I'm incapable of doing. If you put me as head of Microsoft Office or something, it would seem totally disingenuous. That's not what I am."

"I hear that a lot," Spencer told me. "That I only care about cross-platform play because we're ‘losing.' There's no way for me to disprove that other than to say it's not true.

In 2017, Spencer was promoted to Nadella's senior leadership team, becoming the executive vice president of gaming and reporting directly to Nadella himself. "There's no part or thing that happens at Xbox that Phil doesn't want to know about or be a part of," Matt Booty, the current head of Xbox Game Studios, told me recently. "He is always thinking about where we need to be and how to get there. He is like a chess player in that way, always planning five steps ahead. If you just trust in that, he will get you there."

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A few days after FanFest, I tagged along with Spencer on a tour of the Nintendo booth on the E3 show floor. The heads of Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo usually visit each other's booths during the show as a sign of respect and friendly competition.

The first person Spencer bumped into was Steve Singer, Nintendo America's vice president of licensing, who, upon spotting Spencer, promptly gave him the middle finger. It was all for show, of course--the two men hugged warmly and talked shop out of earshot. Even inside the booth of a direct rival, Spencer's fans weren't far off. A young volunteer in a red Nintendo shirt spotted him and jogged over to say hi; it turns out the two know each other from Xbox Live.

After a brief tour of the main part of the booth, Spencer was whisked upstairs to play some games. He made for the Luigi's Mansion 3 station and happily passed the next 20 minutes trying to maneuver Luigi out of a number of sticky situations. I'd love to say Spencer aced the demo, but the fact is, he kept dying. He finally realized why: he was accidentally pressing the wrong button on the controller. Every time the screen prompt told him to press X, he would press Y. (The Y button on the Nintendo Switch controller is in the same position as the X button on the Xbox controller.) "Remind me to tell them their X button is in the wrong place," he said cheerily.

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In the last year, Spencer has made good on his promises to make Xbox a more collaborative and diverse platform. He's brought parts of Xbox Live to iOS and Android devices--as well as the Nintendo Switch--and pushed for more PC integration, something which has pleased a lot of PC gamers who have long argued that Microsoft wasn't doing enough to acknowledge them. But perhaps his biggest investment in the future of Xbox has been in the slow but steady acquisition of a number of well-known studios, including Ninja Theory, Obsidian, and Tim Schafer's legendary Double Fine Studios. "I think people want us to do a better job with our first-party games," Spencer told me.

For his part, Schafer was initially skeptical of the acquisition. Firstly, it wasn't something that he'd been thinking about. Secondly, he was worried about potentially putting Double Fine's identity at risk. "Like, do we all change our emails to Microsoft emails and paint all the walls green?" he told me. What ultimately changed his mind was a phone call to the folks at Ninja Theory, who told him that Microsoft's insistence on letting first-party studios just keep doing what they wanted with minimal interference was true. "They said, ‘We are still who we are. They're letting us make the kind of games we want to make.' And that was a huge thing for me. I could see how it makes sense--it makes sense not to have them convert us to making Forza DLC or something."

When the discussions became more serious, Spencer invited Schafer out for a drink during this year's DICE Awards. He laid out what the acquisition would mean for Microsoft, and what it would mean for Double Fine. "I've worked with a lot of different publishers over the years and they all have their own personalities and styles--but Phil is just a very legit individual," Schafer said. "He's made a lot of really great public statements about diversity and making games a positive force in the world, which really mesh with Double Fine's own mission. It kind of cemented that feeling that this is the right thing to do."

If he'd wanted a second opinion, Schafer might have also called 343 Industries, the veteran Microsoft studio that oversees the entirety of its Halo franchise. The studio's head, Bonnie Ross, has worked with Spencer for more than two decades. A few weeks before E3, Spencer dropped in at 343 to give Ross and her team feedback on a demo for Halo: Reach on PC. The studio is located a short walk from Spencer's office on Microsoft's Redmond campus. Almost half of the building's ground floor is taken up by a Halo museum, which features everything from life-size Master Chiefs to television props from the live-action web series Halo: Forward Unto Dawn, which aired on YouTube and Netflix, and the Ridley Scott-produced "Halo: Nightfall." The museum also houses replica weapons, fan art, various Halo-related tchotchkes, and a random collection of Halo-branded snowboards (one of which Spencer owns).

"I've worked with a lot of different publishers over the years and they all have their own personalities and styles--but Phil is just a very legit individual," Schafer said.

As we sat down to play the demo, Spencer attempted to calm my nerves by telling me he usually finishes all the Halo games on Legendary difficulty. He breezed through most of the demo easily enough and made it to the final checkpoint, which required him to take out two Hunters. Spencer tried to do this multiple times: he would manage to kill one but kept running out of both health and ammo before he could get the second. I reminded him of his previous boast. He pretended he didn't hear me. Undeterred, he tried again. Someone offered to help, but Spencer jokingly waved him away. "It's ok, I got this."

After a few more tries, he finally killed both Hunters, but, just as the final cutscene was about to roll, an enemy he'd missed earlier snuck up behind him and shot him in the head. The room erupted in howls of disbelief. Spencer laughed. "I believe that's my cue," he said, standing up. Before he left, he went around the room, shaking the hands of all the developers and programmers who'd assembled to watch. "Good job, everyone. It's great. It's really, really great."

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Photography courtesy of Jay Lewis and Microsoft.

More Exclusive Phil Spencer Coverage

We've broken out several stories of note from our conversations with Phil Spencer and outlined the full list of news articles below.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Avatar image for TomasLacerda
TomasLacerda

Be Xbox
Become greedy
Get rich
Insult gamers and consequentially lose them
Wallet getting empty
Notice you insulted gamers
Hire new funny face guy
Write something deep
Attempt to trick gamers to comeback
Gamers forget easily, they comeback
Repeat cycle

Avatar image for granatowy
granatowy

Wow, gj https://www.gamespot.com/

a very good article !

Avatar image for johnny0779
johnny0779

I guess Phil Spencer is the only genuine corporate guy out there after Nintendo lost Reggie and Satoru Itawa....same with Sony no one to really matters.

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ShakesMcQueen

Yeesh, what a cesspool these comments are. Fanboys are like moths to a flame with articles like these.

Avatar image for ronthallsballs
RonThallsBalls

Shhlllurrrrp!! Sccchhllluuuurrp!! Sccchlllurrrrp!!!

Avatar image for CyberEarth
CyberEarth

And here's the proof folks - Microsoft wants to win back gamers. You only want to win back when you've lost.

Avatar image for girlusocrazy
GirlUSoCrazy

@CyberEarth: I'm just waiting for them to put something out I want to buy. Been waiting all gen. Feel like I'm still going to wait.

Philly Spence is a nice enough guy but you can't buy his nice feelings, only games, and that's where we start to have a problem.

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mazuiface

I wonder how much this article cost MS

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Cashmoney007

I have been following Spencer for a few years now, and he is still a PR nightmare. For the ones that continue to defend him, why was the conference at E3 full of less gameplay and PR nonsense? I don’t hate Spencer, but how many times do we need to go through this old story with him? If Spencer and MS go back to what worked very well with the 360, then they will be on a much better track again.

Avatar image for ditronus
Ditronus

They will always boast about slight increases in revenue, or "friendships formed online," but they don't disclose their xbox division profit or hardware sold--because they dont operate at a profit and they are losing horribly to their main market competitor. They've heavily discounted and promoted their products for over 5 years, and they still lost to their competitors.

I appreciate the turnaround, but I do think Phil is just really good at PR and does BS his audience at times. Who else can boast about xbox one x enhanced games in their first party lineup being "demonstrably better" (IGN interview back in 2017) than the rest of the market and release Crackdown 3 or state of decay 2. I mean, how could Phil, this relatable gamer, play the Microsoft Studios published Sea of Thieves and say, "Yes, this is a good game worth $60; ship it now."

They are starting to turn around with better hardware, and are making investments in more games, but they have a while to go to reach the caliber of Sony and Nintendo's standard for years now. Another Halo and another Gears, franchises the original developers didnt even want to continue with, won't win gamers back--and I'm not so sure acquiring mostly C-rated studios with little to no history will help.

Avatar image for Willy105
Willy105

This is great stuff, Laura and Gamespot.

But I wonder if Gamespot would be willing to also report on negative stories in the game industry (just like how places like Kotaku and Polygon) instead of only fluff pieces.

Avatar image for Mogan
Mogan

Xbox started the generation stumbling over their own feet. These days though, their only real problem is exclusives. If you take exclusives out of the equation, Xbox is a significantly better platform than PlayStation. So, if they can fix that critical games issue (and it looks like they're trying to with all the studio purchases), Sony's really going to have to step things up on the services side to compete.

Avatar image for girlusocrazy
GirlUSoCrazy

@Mogan: @Mogan: Taking out exclusives is literally half of PS4's library at this point, it's hard to overlook.

And there are still problems with Xbox even if you take out exclusives. The annoying UI that just can't be nailed down. The most horrible store experience ever. The cost of the hardware. Bad choice making controllers with RF instead of Bluetooth from the start and the weird headphone jack on the controllers they had to fix. Poor use of Kinect and bad job porting Kinect games to One.

What about services was better on One at all this gen? This gen they even had horrible party chat until recently.

Avatar image for gamerbum
GamerBum

@Mogan:

I agree with all of your comment except the part about the exclusives. For me Xbox has the better exclusives but that comes down to personal taste. Everything else Xbox is hands down the best. Better console, better online network, better controller (traditional and motion) better console features (achievements, LFG) better gaming subscriptions and imo better exclusives.

They really do offer the best all round gaming package and go more to move gaming forward.

They’ll also probably have the best cloud gaming service when Xcloud goes live.

Keep up the good work Phil and Microsoft Xbox.

Avatar image for lanmode4ever
LANmode4ever

@Mogan: LOL HAVING AMAZING unique games to play is WHAT sells your brand though!! Be like saying ONLY thing that COKE has over PEPSI is it TASTES better.......LOL

Avatar image for Mogan
Mogan

@lanmode4ever: Like I said, it looks like MS is gearing up for a lot more first party stuff in the next few years.

Avatar image for judge99
Judge99

@Mogan: I think you just made the POINT.

It’s about the GAMES.

PlayStation is only beating the bricks off from Xbox because of the EPIC exclusive games.

Talking about cloud gaming is wasting time and breath.

Gamers care about GAMES not cloud gaming, not saving 20% on a game, not platform services. Make better games.

Avatar image for Mogan
Mogan

@judge99: Evidently. And that's why I'm saying, if all the studios Microsoft's been buying can give them a competitive library on the Scarlet, Sony may well be at a disadvantage if they don't improve their services and infrastructure.

Avatar image for judge99
Judge99

@Mogan:

I guess I still don’t understand how Sony is at a disadvantage.

When Xbox hits an all time high at 10 billion in game revenues, and Sony was 18 billion. Like no big deal, because Sony crushes the gaming revenue every single year.

For Xbox I hope they turn it around.

I just find it hilarious where people are saying Sony’s gotta watch out..... Sony blows them out of the water by a long shot in revenue.... I guess if I’m Sony I’m not that worried? 🤷🏽‍♂️

Avatar image for Mogan
Mogan

@judge99: It's a hypothetical. IF Microsoft builds a library of exclusives just as good as Sony's, then Microsoft has the edge because, outside of exclusives, they've got the better system and services.

Avatar image for CyberEarth
CyberEarth

@Mogan: Microsoft will never be at a competitive advantage because every game on Xbox also gets released on Windows at least. Nothing is exclusive.

Avatar image for Mogan
Mogan

@CyberEarth: I mean, if you’re buying their first party stuff on Xbox, or from their Windows store, or Steam what’s Microsoft care?

Putting their stuff on PC gives them access to more gamers. I don’t think that’s going to hurt them.

Avatar image for gamerbum
GamerBum

@Mogan: Stop talking sense would you? Your confusing all the neanderthals who can’t look past their crappy playstations. Seriously though how many times did you have to explain your comment. You made perfect sense the first time.

The ponies on this site are so thick and are many.

Avatar image for CyberEarth
CyberEarth

@Mogan: "Putting their stuff on PC gives them access to more gamers. I don’t think that’s going to hurt them."

Apparently it does, because gamers overwhelmingly chose PS4 and highlight true exclusives as one of the leading reasons why.

So if I can buy on PC, why do I need to buy their console that clearly has things like locked frame rates.

Avatar image for Mogan
Mogan

@CyberEarth: We won’t really see how successful MS putting their first party stuff on PC is for a bit, since they’re only just now cranking up the first party development.

And I doubt MS cares if you buy an Xbox to play their games or play them on Windows. They won’t actually need to compete with Sony on hardware sales if they’re selling games and Game Pass subs. And whatever their streaming service ends up being.

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Ditronus

@Mogan: I don't care for their UI. If I pay for my games, hardware, and online service, why am I forced to look at several dynamic ad tiles on my dashboard permanently?

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Mogan

@ditronus: I actually like that stuff. Not so much the ads, but having the store, Game Pass, and Mixer all right there on the dashboard is handy for me.

I wasn't a fan of the PS4's UI because it was just one long bar of icons without any hierarchy.

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DoubleM-K

@Mogan: To say "Xbox is a significantly better platform than PlayStation", is a matter of opinion.

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Mogan

@doublem-k: Clearly, but it's my opinion, so that's why I'm saying it.

Xbox has Game Pass, backwards compatibility, the better online and market place services, cross buy/save with the PC versions of all MS's first party stuff (and cross play in some cases), and the X is the most powerful console hardware.

I didn't have an issue with my PS4, but it always felt like a pretty traditional game console. I'd play the PS4 games I bought on it, and that was it. I much preferred the Xbox for everything that wasn't a PS4 exclusive game.

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Ditronus

@Mogan: yes, the X, the $100 more expensive console, has better results with some games. That's to be expected. That means that for the last 1 1/2 years out of the possible 6 xbox has had better hardware. Base ps4 is still much better than base xbox.

I think the new xbox will be better than ps5, in terms of hardware. I expect Microsoft to not have any compelling first party games for years to come, still.

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Mogan

@ditronus: It'll probably take them some time to spin up their new studios, yeah. I don't expect either platform will have a terribly compelling launch library for the next generation; they rarely do. But Microsoft is clearly putting more effort into their first party stuff this time around, and I'm interested to see where that leads.

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newbpwnr

How is the guy ushering in crap like dlc, same day dlc, on disc dlc, loot boxes, and not even being able to use a console as a proper web browser for generations "progressive"?

Oh wait this is gamespot they are idiots.

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dussan2

Here is what is pissing me off.

MS has several IP's that they are just sitting on. Why not do another Mech Assault? Or make a proper Shadowrun action game. Do something with the IP's you bought up.

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sladakrobot

@dussan2: I agree,
Hopefully not like what SE did with Front Mission.
SE killed almost the franchise with that western approach to a strategy series

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sladakrobot

Gamespots love letter to Phil Spencer?

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Fernin-Ker

Man the poor fanboyism in the comments here is both incredible and kinda pathetic really. Of course I've always just bought each console anyway so I never cared which 'team" was "winning'.

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wespunk

I had a Xbox one got rid of it because I just got tied of playing games that where multi platform. It had exclusives like Halo and Gears of War and few others but nothing to hold me in ,as Playstation has since 1995 ,with the Playstation 4 and Nintendo has with the Switch now . Don’t get me wrong as I have a original Xbox thats Modded with over 40,000 games on the HDD love that beast and have 360 as well , but Phil spencer doesn’t grab me as a boss of Xbox maybe he should go back to Playstation where he come from .As far as Xbox is concerned they would have twist my arm really bad for me to go back to Xbox, as they just don’t grab my attention anymore , as I have limited internet now which is another reason why I left , so at least Playstation and Nintendo you can play games without the internet ,but with Xbox you can’t here in Australia

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edt89

I'll believe this BS when I see a new Banjo Kazooie game. I could solve these "problems" in 20 minutes. Continue to ignore amazing franchises like Banjo Kazooie, Perfect Dark, Splinter Cell, etc. and you can continue to **** right off.

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Ditronus

@edt89: well, the last banjo game was bad. The last perfect dark game was a letdown, and the last rareware game was a massive disappointment. Who exactly do you recommend make these games as clearly rareware has lost their touch.

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sladakrobot

@edt89: Splinter Cell doesnt belong to MS

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naomha1

This whole I'm #1 thing is moot any longer. Xbox, Sony and Nintendo are here to stay and to stay a long, long time. Sure, bragging rights are cool and all but if you have kick a$$ games on your system people will buy your system. Period. If you make it they will come. Same holds true to great first party games. Sure, saying your #1 is awesome but it only matters if the games are worth it. If the juice is worth the squeeze. If the juice sucks so will the systems.

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Packer1080

Yea he's been talking about it for over 2 years with little to nothing to show for it. Part of the issue is Microsoft runs their company with an arrogance to try and force gamers to adopt to what they want to do with consoles. Unfortunately for them this isn't Windows where people have little choice and no competition. They get rocked by Nintendo and Sony. They offer no real compelling reason to use their console over Sony's or Nintendo.

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JesterOfBass

@Packer1080: I'm not defending their lack of exclusives for the majority of the generation (it's been inexcusably bad) but in all fairness it takes more than 2 years to make a AAA-tier game from scratch. The acquisition of companies is great and all, but if you want something GOOD and not rushed it'll likely be another year or 2 at the very least. The XBox One is basically done, but Scarlet may have a bright future if they do this right. The pieces are all there, all that's left is to see whether the games they put out are any good.

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onehitta323

Sorry Phillip but you destroyed xbox. Your console became undesirable to put it mildly. Better luck next gen Phillip. I enjoyed the OG xbox and the 360 but it will take a lot for you to convince me to buy a scarlet.

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sladakrobot

@onehitta323: Your comment could sound different if you werent wearing those pink glasses