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Phil Spencer for the unusual Xbox strategy, working with Sony and more



Xbox boss Phil Spencer has heard of skeptics. They think that what he does with Xbox means that Microsoft is giving up consoles or even becoming a third party. That's wrong, he told me during an extensive Los Angeles interview last week where we discussed his Xbox vision, the recently announced potential gambling deal between Sony and Microsoft, and whether he would ever want to put Gears of War on PlayStation 4.

[The following copy is slightly edited for clarity.]


Stephen Tottillo, Kotaku : I want to talk first at platform level. I would describe what you and your team are doing these days as "refreshingly radical" about how you run a platform. You've really robbed many walls and done many things that in the past would have been considered things the platform owner could not do. As a thought experiment I thought that if PlayStation does what you do last year, God of War will come out day and date on PS4 and PC.

Phil Spencer, Xbox: Tottillo: I would not necessarily have to pay $ 60 for it. I could get it as part of a subscription that brought me a lot of games. And at some point in the future I can play it without even needing PlayStation by just giving it to me.

Spencer: Yes. Tottillo: I'm curious how far you see how this vision expands because I know some people wonder, "Should the Xbox even have a box?" In the long run. Do all of his games need to be on one device? Where does this happen?

Spencer: We use this subtitle both internally and externally: We play the games you want, with the people you want, and say to the devices [you want] that you can think of "Everywhere". We actually think that two billion gamers on the planet, the size of the business they play today is that for us the industry continues to grow as we reduce the friction to the people who come.

The script that always makes me crazy is, I am a parent, you are a parent, we live in the same neighborhood, we have kids, you go to Best Buy and accidentally buy Xbox. I'm going to Best Buy and I accidentally come out with PlayStation. Our kids want to play together Minecraft and can not. I think, as a whole, as a gaming industry, how does that work? It changes, not just us. We made a great breakthrough with Nintendo. But it started when we'd deliver our first Xbox and PC games at the same time a few years ago. “/>

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There is always the core to come back [and says]: "You're reducing You have to buy Xbox." Actually, I find that people actually play on the console because they like to play the TV on the couch with a controller in their hands and that's more than an experience trying to sell an individual device, to cut it down (19659003) Tottillo: But you can make enough money to do what you do It's a business

Spencer: That's easy. The business sells software and services, but the business is not how many consoles you sell, the consoles are not where you make the profit on this side of the business, which is where the whole: "Who sells more consoles" at any one time, as the root type , who does well in business, just is not true, You have other companies that go into a game and that not even console as part of their equation. It's all about how many games people play. And how many people spend playing these games and how often they play. So if you had your way, would you sell Gears to PS4 in September?


Spencer: I think the experience we bring to the family room with the Xbox and focusing on things like compatibility and focus on things like cross-game is actually relevant to where we see growing games, so we're focusing on consoles and the cost of money and resources investing in Scarlett. The same thing is on the computer.

So, today people say, "Are you going to be a third party?" Whatever that means. The idea that we are a platform is still true and we think about how this platform infrastructure can grow. And we believe that having the world's most powerful console that has a big Xbox at home is crucial.

  Cuphead </i> Cuphead </i> Comes to Switch <em/> </h6>
<p>  Cuphead was one of the best Xbox One and PC side scrolls of the past few years – </em> Totie: Yes, but you price with <em> Cuphead </em> and </em> Minecraft </em> can break these traditional boundaries and finish on Switch … </strong></p>
<p><strong>  Spencer: </strong> With Xbox Live, so everyone can play together. 19659003] Totilo: So, to get back to this, would you appreciate at some point you have <em> Gears </em> or <em> Halo </em> on PlayStation or Switch? Spencer </strong> The games themselves are critical to players and players. But to ensure that you have a connected ecosystem with players where people's rescue play and their status and the list of their friends and their rights are moving seamlessly from each ecosystem – from any device – they want to play is crucial. There are no other systems in which we can do this today. </p>
<p>  Today's Switch, what we can do is Xbox Live on Switch so we can keep these communities connected. And we have, as you have said, a number of franchises that have been sent there. But after all, we think we have a native home platform for years, it will be crucial to continue to push for our vision of where the gaming platform should be. </p>
<p>  <strong> Tottillo: So where would you draw the line between the games you want to see on other platforms? <br /></strong></p>
<p><strong>  Spencer: </strong> The vast majority of what we do will be Windows, will be on the Xbox and will be on xCloud. The good thing about xCloud is that it's the Xbox in the cloud and so we do not actually have to make another version of the game. This is a clear focus for Matt Bout and [Xbox games chief]. We value the relationship we have with the other companies that are there. We think we learn from them, we think we can help the games grow with cross-game, cross-purchase, cross-progress, all those things we focus on. We believe that we will be extremely limited in the implementation of this vision if we are not strong on the console and ever stronger on the computer. </p>
<p><a href=

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<p>  it will partner with Sony, its main rival in the gaming console space, </p>
<p> Read more <span class= Read Totolylo: From a partnership and surprising point of view, the announcement has expired a month ago that there is a partnership between Sony and Microsoft, which is related to games, scares many people and confuses some people. Can you talk about what this deal is, where it comes from, and what does it mean if I think about the world like Xboxes and PlayStations?

Spencer: We have to start, just so we're clear that it's a memorandum of understanding. This is the beginning of the conversation. Sony and Azure watch the future of cloud games. We are looking at what you will need to be a future gaming platform – content, community and cloud are things we focus on – and there are only a few companies on the planet that really have a global cloud that can reach gamers everywhere. Today we will be Amazon in terms of scale. Google builds its cloud.

So I think when you are another gaming company and looking for who you are partnering with, you can go and invest tens of billions of dollars in an attempt to catch up, or you can find out who your partners are. And the good thing about us is – you can focus on Sony, you can focus on many companies – we have this thing called Microsoft Game Stack. We announced it at GDC: DirectX, Windows Studio, Azure. Even Harrison, when he was on stage, announcing that the Stadio showed Havoc, showed a Digital Studio, showing things we were building – we will have components of the platform like Microsoft and our gaming organization that our competitors use. We think about the power we get, as our platform is growing and we have big partnerships with gaming companies that help us develop that the power of the platform is important to us.

Photograph by Christian Petersen (Getty Images)

Totyllo: Could you block this memorandum? You might say, "We do not have to work with these people. Are we competing with these people? "Is not this an option or something worth doing?

Spencer: This is just the opposition to the strategy and what we are as a company. But I will say this: in fact, I think games are a better place because of the other brands that are there. Over the past 20 years, the number of gamers on the planet has tripled. The game is a business worth $ 150 billion per year and is growing two-digit. I do not see that we succeed as a mandatory requirement that others fail.

I spoke publicly before: I think the role that other gaming companies play in the games is critical. We are a great publisher of these platforms. We have great relationships with them. So it blocks them so that it somehow minimizes their impact on the future growth of games and I would rather find ways to work with my partners to help develop the games. I just think it's better because it's not a fixed market. This is a growing market. There are clients across the planet who have not reached this love to play video games.


We'll have more of our conversation with Spencer soon, while discussing online toxicity, quality of the game first, and more.


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