Xbox Boss Phil Spencer Talks Nintendo In New Documentary Series

Spencer is a big fan of Nintendo's willingness to innovate, which shaped his own approach to video games.


Phil Spencer is the head of Xbox, but that doesn't stop him from being a big fan of Nintendo. In fact, he spoke about the company's influence and boldness in a new documentary series that you can watch right now.

Playing With Power: The Nintendo Story is a five-part documentary series available to stream for free on Crackle. It features interviews with a wide variety of video game experts and industry legends, Spencer being among them. According to VGC, Spencer praised Nintendo's focus on creating a family-friendly and inviting atmosphere for gaming, adding that he doesn't think it's possible to decouple Nintendo from the industry as a whole.

Spencer also admitted he didn't understand the N64 controller's design--to be fair, few people do--but praised how Nintendo boldly innovates in ways its competitors don't. We've certainly seen that several times, from the DS to the Wii, along with less-successful examples like the Virtual Boy and Wii U.

He also stressed that sometimes, it's the strengths of Nintendo's brands that help it succeed. With Pokemon Go, for instance (Nintendo is a partial owner of The Pokemon Company), Microsoft's internal team saw its success and an employee thought it meant AR was the future.

"And I challenged him a bit to say, 'Well, really what you have, is you're seeing the strength of Pokemon,'" Spencer added. "And it just happens to be an AR game."

Microsoft and Nintendo are still technically competitors, of course, but this has turned into something of a symbiotic relationship for the companies in recent years. Microsoft publishes games on Nintendo's platforms, including Minecraft, and both companies allow cross-play in several titles. Sony eventually jumped on board the cross-play train, as well, after holding out initially.

Playing With Power: The Nintendo Story is available on Crackle now. All five episodes can be streamed here, and they chronicle its history from the earliest days of playing cards to the Nintendo Switch today.

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