Xbox One DRM/online controversy "hurt me personally" says Phil Spencer

New Head of Xbox says he was so personally hurt because he knows that Microsoft builds Xbox "for the right reasons."

Please use a html5 video capable browser to watch videos.
This video has an invalid file format.
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Last summer's Xbox One DRM/online controversy "hurt me personally," new Head of Xbox Phil Spencer told Microsoft's Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb during his latest podcast. The reason why he was so intimately affected was because he said he knows Microsoft builds products "for the right reasons" and Microsoft could have done more to better communicate this last year.

"I believe in why this company builds products. It's one of the reasons why the whole thing around last summer with Xbox kind of hurt me personally so much," Spencer said. "Because I know we build Xbox for the right reasons. We didn't completely communicate it the right way; some of the decisions maybe didn't land or weren't the right decisions and we changed some of those. But this a company that has the resources to really do things that change the world."

Spencer has since acknowledged that some of the Xbox One policy decisions announced last summer (and later reversed) were "wrong." Microsoft drew significant debate for its controversial 24-hour check-in system and used-game stance.

Spencer's comments came in response to a question regarding why he has stayed with Microsoft for so long. He said he's energized by working at Microsoft because the company has "both the resources and the ambition to change the world." Spencer joined Microsoft as an intern out of college and has worked at Microsoft for the past 26 years.

Also during the podcast, Spencer teased that Microsoft has major plans for PC gaming in the future.

"On the PC space specifically right now, we're doing some PC-specific work that I'm really excited about," he said. "We're probably still months away from showing it in any major way. But it's nice to see us getting back to our roots at Microsoft Studios because we started as a PC developer."

Last week, Microsoft released Halo: Spartan Assault for PC via Steam, marking the iconic franchise's debut on Valve's marketplace.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email

Join the conversation
There are 564 comments about this story
564 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

Avatar image for sorariku2002

Let's not forget the fact that we STILL can't play the games on our hard drives if we're not connected to the internet. Microsoft allows us to use our discs in offline mode, knowing that the majority of us buy our games digitally or through console bundles (which bring the games in a digital copy). They removed 24-hour DRM, but it's still there. They can burn to the ground now, for all the shits I give.

Avatar image for Shinobi120

<< LINK REMOVED >> Yeah, those assholes lied. Another person has this same problem:


Apparently, you can play games offline for a short while, but just wait until there's a update! If you don't have internet at all, or have a poor internet connection, then your console becomes a brick. You won't be able to play that same game or anything else on the console unless you connect to the internet.

This also goes for games as well, because all Xbox One versions of games doesn't include OS updates like all games for Xbox 360, Wii U, PS3, & PS4 do.

Avatar image for AlwaysRunning

Yeah, yeah. Keep saying that until you blindside your users again with the re-introduction of 24-hour DRM. Xbox deserves to die because of their even attempting that once.

Avatar image for GrenadeLauncher

"The reason why he was so intimately affected was because he said he knows Microsoft builds products "for the right reasons" and Microsoft could have done more to better communicate this last year."

Thought so. No admittance that DRM was wrong, just the usual "we only communicated it wrong" garbage.

Anyone who ever buys an Xbone is directly responsible for the death of vidya.

Avatar image for mattress805

As a360 and ps4 owner I can honestly say Phil spencer seems to have a good head on his shoulders. Now drop the Krapnect , lower the price, and announce a few new franchises and Microsoft will get itself out of dead last in sales this gen. Thank god Don Mattrick is gone...that moron was the biggest supporter of Kinect , and he thought it was going to change the world

Avatar image for berserker66666

It 'erks him to see PS4 getting so many sales and Xbone ain't.

Avatar image for sinclairhxc

<< LINK REMOVED >> aww come on man how can he not be, when Xbox is made for the fans, with its privacy invading - constantly on - controversial watching and listening, its additional $100 price tag and obsolete hardware packed in with the undesirable peripheral, the inconvenience of said peripheral never working, the lack of quality titles and support from the majority of the gaming industries developers who see it for what it is, and the gimmicks it tries pushing so hard that no one asked for.

its for the faaaans maan!

Avatar image for herxtheslayer

It seems they are working to implement it silently anyway. They recently IP-locked the marketplace so I can't buy anything anymore as I don't have US PayPal/CC. Plus, I can't even buy gift cards on amazon as I'm not from US. Seriously, WTF MS, it all worked perfectly and now you start messing stuff up. The only reason I decided to upgrade to XO was because you stated it's gonna be region free and no country IP locks. This is very far from your statements...

Avatar image for daikkenaurora12

Why does he keep bring it up?

Avatar image for Yulaw2000

I like that he acknowledges that they made some mistakes but why does he come across like he thinks how they communicated was the main problem?

Their messaging was inadequate but the primary issue was what they were actually trying to do.

Avatar image for tomtomtom1230

This is marketing BS and damage control. But he does sound somewhat sincere in his mission to build a truly great Xbox. This won't help him until another 7 or 8 years on when he influences the next Xbox console. I can see Microsoft pulling it out the bag next time, in terms of power and features. They won't be outdone again. This generation is all about the Playstation though, in my opinion.

Avatar image for jakerscythe

Damage control and spin still going on just fine, I see. Sincerity not so much though.

Avatar image for battlefront1943

First, Spenser sounds like he genuinely wants to try and get gamers involved again with XBOX. That's good. He also says that MS made mistakes. That's also good, but there's a lot of bad here too.

Spenser still spins the "mistakes" as problems of messaging, leaving equal blame between the PR dept. and gamers/consumers. Can't you just for once stand up straight and take your medicine? Accept responsibility for your mistakes.

Spenser also still offers no apology. The words are simple: "we're sorry." We're looking for that symbol of responsibility and humility, but MS refuses.

Lastly, Spenser has taken the low road of Orth and played the victim. "Whoa is me, those terrible gamers!" Just stop it. You're being childish and ridiculous. Be a man and stop blame shifting like a weasel. Yeah, criticism hurts, but when you're an adult and it comes because of your bad ideas and behavior, you take it... digest it... and change your position. And if a man with your pay grade and position at a giant like MS can't accept harsh criticism, maybe you're more suited to another job? I come from a public safety family where real life threats and stalking happens often. You see us changing jobs or blaming the public? Grow up.

I hope MS gets their sh@t together -- they're certainly throwing a lot of PR out this week -- but I think a real change has to come to MS, a real change in corporate culture. Seems there's a glimmer of hope with Spenser, but probably not more... I expect the same arrogance about their capabilities, the same inability to take responsibility, and the same anger directed at gamers, but I'm fine with being proven wrong. We'll see...

Avatar image for UnrealPro

I feel more confident now that douchebag Don Mattrick is gone.

Avatar image for battlefront1943

<< LINK REMOVED >> He was an a@@hole. Yeah, if he'd have stayed there would have been no hope.

Avatar image for UnrealPro

@battlefront1943 @UnrealPro My former manager from Gamestop said he met him at E3 last year and Mattrick was a total douchebag in person. Definitely solidified the perception most people already had of him. For example, several people asked to take a picture with him and he shooed them away. He was just rude in general and didn't give a damn about MS/Xbox fans. He was just an emotionless, and at the same time arrogant business suit, robotic as hell, and only showing anger and arrogance in general.

Avatar image for battlefront1943

<< LINK REMOVED >> Yeah, I believe it 100%. That slap in the face to servicemen/women really showed his true colors... and Mattrick didn't even understand what he'd said.

Not to expand too much, but there's a tsunami of arrogance across the high-tech industry (start-ups and industry leaders) that's quite scary. It's a culture war where tech sector feels they know what's best and don't care about the "outsiders"... even when those are the consumers -- some even advocating a kind of feudalism. Seriously. I've spent a lot of time in SF and Silicon Valley and this is a growing world view that's kinda frightening. When I heard the same things from Mattrick and MS it was sickening but not unexpected.

Avatar image for Master_Turismo

The more I hear from Spencer, the more comfortable I feel that the Xbox Division is moving towards the more positive light. Microsoft finally has a proper person running it. Just here on out, you got to fully support the gaming community. Keep making the Xbox One move forward in the right direction and you'll definitely get some awesome support from the gaming community.

Now Microsoft just needs to get rid of Major "Idiot" Nelson. . . God knows we need to remove that form of stupidity.

Avatar image for Shantmaster_K

<< LINK REMOVED >> I agree man. I like the guy. I do like Nelson too.

Avatar image for battlefront1943

<< LINK REMOVED >> Nelson's just a "yes man" PR guy. He'll say whatever MS wants... no matter what. He did (does) look like a fool, but he doesn't have any power at MS. He's the last of gamers worries.

Avatar image for TheCyborgNinja

About a year's worth of "we all hate always-online" talk around the internet before the new systems were announced should've spoke for itself.

Avatar image for leviathanwing

<< LINK REMOVED >> duh right? i mean did they not notice sim city or d3? or is that fishbowl airtight?

Avatar image for lostn

You should have thought it through first Phil. What did you expect?

And it wasn't the way you communicated your ideas that killed it, it was the idea itself. Just bad. You should have done some surveys with gamers. You would have quickly known they would be overwhelmingly against it had you done your research. If it was simply a communication problem it could be fixed with the proper marketing. You wouldn't have had to cancel the policies. All you had to do was make it worthwhile. When you take away the ability to easily sell or lend your games out to people, you've lost them. You had some complex setup where you're allowed to sell it once, if the publisher participates in the trade in program, and it's not a simple process, and it was just unnecessary. No one was ever going to go for that.

Deal with it as Adam Orth would say. You were out of tune with what gamers really wanted.

Avatar image for GSyymilleniaxenderyyGS

<< LINK REMOVED >> He was not the head of Xbox at the time! It was Don!

Avatar image for lostn

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> He should have told Don it was a bad idea.

Avatar image for AyatollaofRnR

A significant proportion of people in the comments can't read apparently. He acknowledged they made mistakes:

"some of the decisions maybe didn't land or weren't the right decisions and we changed some of those."

"Spencer has since acknowledged that some of the Xbox One policy decisions announced last summer (and later reversed) were "<< LINK REMOVED >>."

Avatar image for lostn

<< LINK REMOVED >> When you make major decisions like this without doing any research on whether it would be well received or not, it shows a lot of arrogance. At e3 they basically gave Sony the best gift ever.

Avatar image for AyatollaofRnR

The whole evil corporation thing is a bit silly.

Yes, MS are a big corp, and the X1 unveil was clumsy, but I believe in Xbox as a gamer. Both the Xbox and 360 were fantastic consoles. I'm already happy with my X1 purchase.

Avatar image for SphinxDemon

Lol the more PR we receive the deeper the hole microshi! digs. My PC still sh!!$ on both consoles

Avatar image for Xx_DemonSoul_xX

Butthead: you wuss.. Put on your Winger shirt Phil

Avatar image for lilrobda1

Microsoft had a "vision(the exact word said on stage)" and then they did a 180 after negative feedback. So much for believing in your vision/product. Would have been interesting to see how the X1 would have done.

Avatar image for AyatollaofRnR

<< LINK REMOVED >> I think they should have tweaked it rather than gone all the way back. But I think we will still some of those ideas roll out on the X1 in the future.

Avatar image for eternal_napalm

Interesting spin by MS. I wonder if sometimes they even believe their own bullcrap.

Avatar image for daikkenaurora12

<< LINK REMOVED >> They do and so do xbots.

Avatar image for deactivated-5887c3545bd6c

all i hear from ms and xbots is we didnt, we understood exactly you just thought we wouldnt say anything. building xbox for the right reasons??? forcing consumers to buy new instead of being able to buy used is"the right reasons?"

if there so called digital plans were actually planned then they wouldve said so, and they could do it now but no they wont. BECAUSE THEY WERE NEVER GOING TO

Avatar image for AyatollaofRnR

<< LINK REMOVED >> He didn't say we didn't understand, he said they didn't communicate well and made some mistakes.

Avatar image for SauhlGood

yeah there really was no problem with the communication of the message, it was more the message itself that people took issue with...

nice spin thou...

Avatar image for eternal_napalm

I made a video how consumer demand would reject it before it was even confirmed. Look up Gammameggon on Youtube

Avatar image for anarky23

Well Phil seems cool and is willing to admit MS made mistakes showing he has humility unlike some other people who work at MS.

Avatar image for hystavito

@anarky23 But it's still that thing where they barely admit anything was "wrong", but rather mostly that they failed to communicate properly. There was an article the other day, I forget who it was, maybe it was the #dealwithit guy who was starting his own thing. Anyway it sounded a lot more honest, more like yeah we made some wrong decisions.

Avatar image for AyatollaofRnR

<< LINK REMOVED >> "some of the decisions maybe didn't land or weren't the right decisions and we changed some of those"

Avatar image for hystavito

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> As I said, that to me is barely admitting.

Avatar image for Vodoo

I just can't wait for both the XB1 & PS4 to get the games rolling out. The XB1 launched with a handful of great games but then fell off. Titanfall is a great multiplayer shooter but I won't pay full price for half a game out of principal. Aside of that one game, the XB1 hasn't had shit since launch, which is unacceptable!

Sony is even worse. They didn't launch with any good games of their own (unless you count the ultra-generic Killzone), and only just recently put out their first game worth buying, Infamous. You know the game lineup is shit when the best games on the platform are the free PS+ games (and those aren't anything special on PS4).

But come this Fall we're gonna be over loaded with quality games for both consoles. I was looking at GameStop's website, at release dates, and there's so many awesome looking games coming out in Sept, Oct & Nov.. But the fact that these consoles launched without a steady flow of games is bad for the whole industry. Didn't they pay attention to what Nintendo went through because they didn't have any software out?!

Avatar image for deactivated-5887c3545bd6c

<< LINK REMOVED >> well mlb 14 is coming out in may, thats going to sell alot of ps4 consoles and copies. that game looks amazing and its going to set the bar for sports games even more so than 2k did with 2k14(which is a lackluster game) just has great graphics

Avatar image for GSyymilleniaxenderyyGS

<< LINK REMOVED >> Sony fanboy! How it going to sell PS4s when its no PS4s in stores?! -__-

Avatar image for DARKSPACE

Ohh Philly.. you're doing it again. you're becoming that guy nobody likes. lol