Xbox's Jab at PS4 Pro Is Not Part of a Console War, Spencer Says
"If people say that that's console wars, I think they're wrong."
On the same day that Sony announced the PS4 Pro and PS4 Slim would not include a 4K Blu-ray player, the Xbox Twitter account made sure people knew the Xbox One S offered that functionality. Microsoft also released an Xbox One S TV ad that boasts that the console is the only one with a 4K Blu-ray player.
Xbox boss Phil Spencer has made clear in the past that he is no fan of the never-ending console war debate, so some perceived the tweet as a step in the opposite direction of what he had talked about. Speaking in a new interview with GameSpot, Spencer said this is not the case. He claimed that Microsoft was simply giving consumers the facts about what they could expect from the Xbox One S compared to the competition.
"I think us stating a feature that we have in our box that we think is an important selling feature of our box is completely within fair game," he said. "It is a feature of our box and for somebody to look and say that talking about the features that you decide… I mean, we made a bet on a 4K Blu-ray disc, and they didn't. And I'm not saying they made the wrong decision and we made the right decision, but if somebody wants a 4K UHD Blu-ray drive we have a console that has one, then we're going to make sure that people know that. And if people say that that's console wars, I think they're wrong."
At the same time, Spencer said he wants to be "respectful of what other companies are doing"--but he doesn't think the tweets and TV ads crossed the line.
"I don't want anybody to ever try to put us in a box of, 'Hey, you've got a feature but because somebody else doesn't have it you can't talk about it,' and somehow that's unfair and console wars-like," he said. "Because I don't believe that. I will always be respectful of my friends at the other platform-holders; Nintendo, Sony. I have a lot of friends at Sony and Nintendo and both those companies are doing their best to deliver products based on their vision and I respect that. We're doing the same. You won't see me bad-mouth what the other platforms are doing, but I am proud of the product decisions that we make and I think that we should be able to talk about it."
Microsoft has not yet confirmed if its Project Scorpio console will include a 4K Blu-ray player. For its part, Sony explained that it dropped the 4K Blu-ray player from PS4 Pro and PS4 Slim because the company sees a trend towards streaming.
Spencer went on to talk more about why he doesn't like the console war mentality, using the recently launched ReCore as an example.
"You won't see me bad-mouth what the other platforms are doing but I am proud of the product decisions that we make and I think that we should be able to talk about it." -- Spencer
"When ReCore came out and there were some of the lower scores that were given, I would have PlayStation fans tweet me, happy that ReCore wasn't getting great review scores from some outlets. I just thought it was such a negative thing for our industry for somebody to be gleeful that somebody gave a game a review that was lower than what the team expected," he said.
"I don't have more fun with my Xbox based on the review scores of games that are on PlayStation, or vice versa. If you have an Xbox, I want to ship great games for you and have you have a great time on that console," he added. "And that is our focus, right there. It's not about what somebody else is out there doing with their platform. I know there's pockets in every community, I'm not saying Xbox is completely clean here, but as much as I have any influence on it at all, that's not something I will support or entertain. Sorry, that's just something I needed to get out."
On the subject of ReCore, Spencer went on to say that he wished the game had been received better; some reviews were a "little harsh," he said. He also suggested that some reviewers scored it lower than the average specifically to increase site traffic. But at the same time, he said the review scores are not necessarily a reflection of the game's importance to Microsoft. Also, the game is "selling well" and gamers are receiving it positively. "The gamers' response to the game has been positive, which is the most important thing," he said.
Our conversation with Spencer also touches on Project Scorpio, the future for Kinect, the reception to Xbox Play Anywhere, and more. You can read our full interview with Spencer here.