It took precisely 129 days since the launch of the Xbox One for Microsoft to put Sony and the PlayStation platform on notice. Today, Microsoft announced that the former head of Microsoft Studios, Phil Spencer, is now the leader of the Xbox division. Spencer published a blog post on Xbox Wire in which he describes why he is excited to assume the title, Head of Xbox.
“Combining these teams will strengthen the connection between some of the world’s most innovative creators and those building the Xbox itself,” said Spencer in a statement on Xbox Wire. “It’s been a remarkable year for Xbox and I am honored to lead the team at this incredible time for Microsoft and the games industry.”
In a very detailed company wide letter, Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, explains the move and why it is the right choice for Microsoft . “Combining all our software, gaming and content assets across the Xbox team under a single leader and aligning with the [Operating Systems Group] team will help ensure we continue to do great work across the Xbox business, and bring more of the magic of Xbox to all form factors, including tablets, PCs and phones,” said Nadella. “I love the way the Xbox team is focused on great games and gaming experiences (go, Titanfall!), connects with its fans, pushes the boundary of entertainment and has embraced the power of the cloud in such interesting and impactful ways. Phil is the right person to lead Xbox forward.”
First off, Shuhei Yoshida and Adam Boyes (I’m sure there are countless others too) have done a remarkable job with putting the emphasis back on games with the PlayStation 4 console. Just the other day, they published a list of 100+ games that have or will come out this year for the PS4. For the first full year of a console, that is an incredible amount of content to be delivered to their consumers. Yes, Microsoft probably has a rather long list of games as well. However with the increased visibility of them promoting non-gaming related content, the Xbox One is now perceived as a “gaming comes second” device. Today, Spencer shot back at that theory and re-affirmed what many gamers wanted to hear from Microsoft on that ill-fated E3 of 2013.
Below are some of the more gamer-centric quotes we’ve heard from anyone at Microsoft in a long time. These quotes come from an interview Spencer conducted with Polygon today:
“Xbox is a gaming brand and [Microsoft] took the person who was at the head of the gaming franchises to lead the Xbox team,”
“With me you’re going to get a focus on gaming first and a best platform to play games on,” … “It’s not a focus we ever lost but it’s one I’ll be accentuating at Microsoft. It’s really going to be a gaming-led focus with Xbox and my new role allows us to execute on that.”
“As the conversation with the customers today centers around the content that we have, that’s the majority of my focus. And we’re talking to developers about the next thing they want to be doing on Xbox.”
“We’re early on in the console generation, and obviously Sony’s having a great launch,” … “Console gaming is doing incredibly well right now. Six months ago, everybody wondered if console gaming was dead… but this is a long, multi-year generation and my fundamental belief is that great games create the best platforms.”
With E3 of 2014 just a mere months away, Spencer confirmed that this year’s E3 will feature some of the best content that Microsoft has shown in years. Gamers will benefit from two consoles competing neck and neck to take your hard-earned dollars. It took 129 days and somewhat of a credibility hit for Microsoft to fully realize that their console should be about games first. Let’s see if they now execute on what appears to be a redefining moment for them today.