Phil Spencer: Console Wars Are “Unhealthy For Our Industry”

GameSpot has recently published an interesting interview with the head of Xbox, Phil Spencer. During the insightful interview Mr. Spencer acknowledged that the long running console wars on the internet are ultimately bad for the video game industry and even goes as far as to say that they are really unhealthy.

“I’ve said before, the one thing that I probably find a little distasteful in the discourse around games is the divisiveness that people try to build between platforms. It becomes more about what piece of plastic I own than what games I’m playing. It becomes more about somebody else failing than the things I love succeeding. I don’t think that’s a good place for our industry. I know that’s not everybody, and it’s easy to find the pockets of that vitriol and kind of think that that is gaming, but I’m not going to embrace that. I’m going to actively push against that. People sometimes will make fun of me that I mentioned Sony or I mentioned Nintendo. It’s not to placate anybody or make them think I’m some kind of good guy. My job isn’t really to keep you from buying something else. My job is to make you proud of what we offer, and to give you an enjoyable experience with the product we have. That’s 100% of what I’m focused on.”

“The things that are keeping me up at night are really all about that, and it’s the great thing about this industry, as I’ve said many times, is you do earn every customer. There’s nothing that I own that makes you have to go buy Halo. You’re going to buy Halo 5 because you love it, or you’re not because you don’t. That’s just a fantastic part of the industry that we’re in, and I fully embrace that. I’m trying to keep our organization and, hopefully, our fans, out of that type of stuff, because I think that’s just incredibly unhealthy for our industry.”


Former Xbox Chief Says You Should Never Count Nintendo Out

Former Microsoft chief Xbox officer Robbie Bach has spoken to Fortune about the state of Nintendo and also reasons why you should never count the Kyoto company out. Bach explained how the Wii took the Xbox 360 team by surprise when it was announced and just how quickly it resonated with consumers. He also took some time to talk about the struggles of the Wii U and Nintendo’s successful venture with the Toys to Life category.

“I’m one of the people that won’t ever count Nintendo out,” Bach says. “During our development of Xbox 360 we focused pretty heavily on Sony and PlayStation 3 and the Wii was a complete surprise, so the first 18 months of our launch was a real challenge.”

“That market has become a lot more challenging because of smartphones, and their Wii U console frankly hasn’t caught on as well as they would like,” Bach says. “So you have a fabulous and amazing creative company that had incredible franchises, but doesn’t have a strong platform right now to develop for. That’s a tricky thing for them to navigate. They’re going to have to figure out either how to expand the number of platforms that they develop for, which would be a major change and would be risky, or they have to get into a cycle where their own Nintendo platforms evolve in a way that enables their games to get better coverage.”

“This does speak to something about Nintendo that’s different than Sony or Microsoft,” Bach says. “Sony is a consumer electronics company and Microsoft is a digital PC electronics company. Nintendo—with great respect and pride—is a toy company, and always has been. That’s why their franchises on the game side are so powerful. There may be an opportunity there for them to invest in what is essentially a core attribute of what they do (toys), and it may create an opportunity for the company that’s unique and separates them from Microsoft and Sony.”

Thanks, MasterPikachu6


Xbox’s Phil Spencer Has A Wii U And Really Likes Splatoon

Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox, has spoken briefly about Nintendo to Eurogamer at this year’s Gamescom event in Cologne, Germany. Spencer says that he doesn’t believe that there’s a first party studio that has the strength that Nintendo IP has and says that they are an inspiration to the team over at Xbox. He also said that people downplay just how many units the Wii U has sold.

Do you think exclusive games are necessary to sell hardware? It traditionally would seem that way, but if that’s the case, surely more people would have the Wii U, as that’s got the best exclusives out there.

Phil Spencer: On the Wii U, I think people downplay how many units they’ve sold. I’ve got a Wii U, I think there’s some great games on there. I think Splatoon’s a really nice game and I don’t think there’s a first-party out there that has the strength of IP that Nintendo has. They’re always a beacon to me when I look at what it means to build a first-party portfolio of products, they’ve done a great job.

For us, having exclusives, especially on the platform side as we continue to innovate, being able to have studios that push the envelope of what’s possible, and partnering them with a platform and the hardware teams, I think it’s a magical equation for coming up with things that aren’t possible. We sit around, the Xbox leadership team, I’ve got Kudo, Shannon Loftis and Bonnie with Halo, the whole Xbox platform leadership team and we all think about the opportunities of moving hardware and service and content together. Really, the only way to have that in such a tight loop, I think, is to have a strong first-party portfolio to try things to push. It’s not only critical from a sales perspective, but also for innovation for what our platform’s about. I love sitting at that platform, and the ideas that come out of anywhere and seeing the different franchises grabbing on to something and say yeah, we should try to go do this in Forza, we should try do this in Minecraft. It’s a great opportunity.

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Microsoft ‘Completely Discounted Nintendo Because Of GameCube’ When Launching Xbox 360

IGN has uploaded an extremely interesting podcast which quizzes Xbox creator Seamus Blackley, Head of Xbox during the 360 launch Peter Moore, and current Head of Xbox Phil Spencer, to share the backstory to the launch of three Xbox consoles. During the podcast it was revealed that when Microsoft was launching the Xbox 360 they completely discounted Nintendo and were focussed at beating Sony with the PlayStation 3. The reason why was that the GameCube wasn’t a success for Nintendo so they didn’t believe the company posed a threat to their plans. However, Phil Spencer conceded that the Wii destroyed both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 with regards to sales. Here’s what the key figures at Xbox had to say.

“I also then remember the E3 when, God bless, Kaz Hirai and Jack Tretton announced $599, and we were all back stage like ‘Woohoo!’,” Moore shared in IGN’s Podcast Unlocked. “We knew then we had an opportunity to get ahead, drive ahead, get our games out quickly and get that lead. And I always said that the first to 10 million wins.”

He continued, “It was one of the greatest times of my career. You had to build a team, because we were growing then. We had prematurely put the Xbox to sleep, we needed to get ready for this and we knew what we needed to do.

“We had a three-day meeting at the Sheraton in Bellevue where we wargamed the scenario, and I actually played Ken Kutaragi. And we brought in a consultancy, it was a lot of fun. And the one thing we’d forgotten about, I don’t know if you remember this Phil [Spencer], we completely discounted Nintendo. Because they came off the GameCube and it was a disaster.”

Spencer added, “…and they destroyed both of us!”

Moore continued, “Yes, with the Wii. But we wargamed for three days, what are you going to do, what do the launch titles look like, what are the marketing budgets, what is the positioning? And it was a fascinating experience which I’ll never forget. And this is a decade ago. And I actually played Ken, and my job was to destroy the launch of the Xbox 360.”

Microsoft Once Thought About Acquiring Nintendo When Launching Original Xbox

GamesIndustry has an interesting interview with Seamus Blackley who was the original Xbox co-creator and also Lorne Lanning who created the Oddworld series. In the enlightening interview, Blackley revealed that the team had all sorts of big ideas before launching the original Xbox including acquiring Nintendo and also giving away the Xbox for free. None of these things obviously happened, but it’s interesting to read some of the grand plans that the original team had. Lanning also mentioned that the Xbox team said they needed “something that competes in that Mario space and we think Mario’s the thing to kill” so they brought out Oddworld as a launch title and gave developers the idea that they were going to be giving out the Xbox for free.

“At the time, Xbox thought that the core market was going to be casual. They were going to be the casual gamers’ machine. Now, that’s why they approached us because they said ‘we think you’ve got something that competes in that Mario space and we think Mario’s the thing to kill … We see that space. We want that audience. We love Oddworld so why don’t you get on this bandwagon? And we might give the box away’,”

Blackley noted that a number of other ideas were pushed around at Microsoft too. Some people said Xbox should be focused on playing movies, or that all the games would have to be made by Microsoft. Some even pushed the notion that Microsoft should make a huge play and just gobble up Nintendo. “Just name it, name a bad idea and it was something we had to deal with,” Blackley lamented.

Reggie Fils-Aime Says He Will Participate In The Ice Bucket Challenge

Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime has announced via Twitter that he will participate in the Ice Bucket Challenge. He was recently asked by Phil Spencer, who is head of Xbox, if he would join him in the challenge. The event is to raise awareness for ALS research.

Thanks, Holonboy and Kallum S

Xbox Boss Phil Spencer Does Ice Bucket Challenge And Asks Reggie And Yoshida To Do The Same

Phil Spencer, who is the head of Xbox, recently participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and has asked Reggie Fils Aime, Shuhei Yoshida and Gabe Newell, to do the same. Spencer has said that he will donate money that he has raised into ALS research. The ALS Association is an organisation that raises money for research for those individuals who have Lou Gehrig’s disease. Would you like to see Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime participate?

Thanks, no po ro po