Phil Spencer says he spends ‘zero energy’ on console wars - ‘doesn’t envision’ a time when every Xbox user subscribes to Game Pass

IbizaPocholo

NeoGAFs Kent Brockman

Speaking in an interview in the latest issue of Edge magazine, the head of Xbox was asked if he thinks Xbox is still engaged in a traditional console war despite the likes of Game Pass and xCloud changing the landscape.

“I spend zero energy on ‘how do I make other gaming platforms smaller so that Xbox gets bigger’,” Spencer said. “I’m more interested in the growing pie of gaming than I am our slice of the pie-eating into someone else’s.

“And it’s why we focus on things like cross-play and cross-saves. I think about these scenarios of why you and I maybe can’t play a game together, and it shouldn’t be because of the console you bought versus the console I bought.”

He added: “That doesn’t help the industry grow, when we put artificial barriers up on those things. Whether that means we’re doing something different than the other guys, you’d have to ask them.

“But I’d say for us, it’s not about somebody else getting smaller so that we get bigger.”

Spencer stated last year that Microsoft now views Amazon and Google as its primary competitors in the games business.

Speaking to Protocol, Spencer claimed that Xbox’s traditional rivals Nintendo and PlayStation aren’t set up to compete in the race to take gaming truly mainstream via the cloud.

“When you talk about Nintendo and Sony, we have a ton of respect for them, but we see Amazon and Google as the main competitors going forward,” Spencer said.

“That’s not to disrespect Nintendo and Sony, but the traditional gaming companies are somewhat out of position. I guess they could try to re-create Azure, but we’ve invested tens of billions of dollars in cloud over the years.

“I don’t want to be in a fight over format wars with those guys while Amazon and Google are focusing on how to get gaming to 7 billion people around the world. Ultimately, that’s the goal.”

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In an interview in the latest issue of Edge magazine, Spencer was asked if Game Pass is the sole focus for Xbox going forwards.

“No, it’s not,” he replied. “And I know it’s easy – I’m not picking on you when I say that, but you know, the thing I get a lot is ‘it’s all about X’, or ‘it’s all about Y or Z’.

“And when you’re running the platform, it’s all about X, Y and Z, right? It’s all of those things.”

He added: “Do I want, or do I envision, everybody who’s on Xbox being a Game Pass subscriber? I don’t.

“I want people to make their choice. Some people want to buy all the games we ship and create their own library.”

In the same interview, Spencer reiterated his belief that Game Pass made good business sense, something that has been questioned by the likes of Sony Interactive Entertainment boss Jim Ryan and former PlayStation executive Shawn Layden in the past.

“Subscriptions give you a good continual revenue stream,” Spencer told Edge. “And that’s an important thing for any business, on top of the spikes that you’ll get around certain retail releases.

“That’s why I talk about it really being a mix of things. It’s not about one muscling out another.

“The business doesn’t hinge on any one number. The retail sales number, the console sales number, the Windows engagement, Game Pass, xCloud engagement… it’s really all of these things coming together.”

This isn’t the first time Spencer has stressed that Game Pass is sustainable, but not the company’s sole focus.
 

Northeastmonk

Gold Member
The cloud gives people a chance to play games on the fly. That’s a great idea, but its like channel surfing for video games. I personally like the whole planning period, which I admire them for not solely focusing on game pass and the cloud. That works for some, but not all. I guess I’m more of a traditionalist even if I buy a lot of games digitally. I tried 4-5 games on Game Pass cloud and what I wanted was something to download and stick to.
 
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John Candy Reaction GIF


They literally concocted game pass as a means to overcome the uphill battle with other competitors.

Great decision nonetheless, but I doubt the team doesn't aim to surpass other competitors.

I mean, if that was the case, Phil Spencer would have been fired and Xbox rolled up and forgotten by now.

They're in the race for the long haul, that must require some sense of desire to compete and surpass your competitors.

This guy bought an entire publisher.

What a fucking liar lol.

Also this lmao
 
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Chukhopops

Member
This guy bought an entire publisher.

What a fucking liar lol.
Well we know what would have happened otherwise:
Sony’s plan was (is?) to use their competitive position to get as many timed exclusives as possible and starve out the competition. You can’t see it as just an offensive move coming out of nowhere and without any context.
 

kyoji

Member
Well we know what would have happened otherwise:
Sony’s plan was (is?) to use their competitive position to get as many timed exclusives as possible and starve out the competition. You can’t see it as just an offensive move coming out of nowhere and without any context.
The problem is one embraces exclusives the other trys to damn them all while demonstrating and doing other wise, while speaking with a forked tongue. Still cant tell the difference? It is what it is.
 

Chukhopops

Member
The problem is one embraces exclusives the other trys to damn them all while demonstrating and doing other wise, while speaking with a forked tongue. Still cant tell the difference? It is what it is.
Yeah I can agree with that to an extent, although it’s not like Ryan or others have openly said their plan is to buy as many third party exclusives as possible. It’s basically PR speech on one side and silence on the other.
 

Warablo

Member
Did he really just mention Google again even after stadia? Mentioning Google and amazon, who have no presence in the industry instead of the 2 actual biggest players in the industry is an insult. Why does he keep doing that?
Because honestly he's talking about the fight over the cloud servers and reach around the world. He thinks Nintendo and Sony don't have the infrastructure to catch up, while Google and Amazon are in position to step in with their servers.
 
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kyoji

Member
Yeah I can agree with that to an extent, although it’s not like Ryan or others have openly said their plan is to buy as many third party exclusives as possible. It’s basically PR speech on one side and silence on the other.
💯 thats all there is too it really but people cant accept that in the other thread and now its some form of bait, im not telling phil to say these things hes doubling down on his own terms, more power to him hes doing what any business exec would and thats looking out for your own business. Except he thinks hes slick and trys to play this little game in the media to drum up sides, why u think all the console wars bullshit questions are always shot at him and not nintendo and sony? This is like his 3rd or 4th statement about it. Make no mistake he plays his role and knows how to manipulate statements with the best of them.
 

SlimySnake

The Contrarian
Well we know what would have happened otherwise:
Sony’s plan was (is?) to use their competitive position to get as many timed exclusives as possible and starve out the competition. You can’t see it as just an offensive move coming out of nowhere and without any context.
I remember posting this back when Imran Khan first leaked this. I love the whole idea that Jimbo's timed exclusive spending spree forced MS's hand and cost Playstation gamers access to starfield, doom, elder scrolls, fallout, dishonored, prey and several other big IPs. What a hilarious unforced error by Jim. Cant believe he still has a job after that massive screw up. All he had to do was just make next gen only games, invest more in first party studios, and stop trying to moneyhat third party exclusives like MW2 remasters, frigging Godfall and Deathloop.

Kaz Hirai had big fuck ups, and he lost GTA and FF as exclusives, but man the PS3 still got those games. Now, massive games like ES6, Doom and Starfield wont be on Playstation ever. Crazy.

That said, I dont see how buying Bethesda and ID software helps him grow the pie. He is basically doing what Jimbo was trying to do. Limit the access to the pie. Yes, his hand was forced, but it's not like hes not playing the game.

The game is the game. He needs to embrace it. It's OK to be a fanboy when you are in a cutthroat business. He went out there and spent $8 billion like it was nothing just to make sure his base didnt lose out on the biggest game of the year. Who gives a shit if its console warring when it was the right move to make for his consumer base.
 

kyoji

Member
I remember posting this back when Imran Khan first leaked this. I love the whole idea that Jimbo's timed exclusive spending spree forced MS's hand and cost Playstation gamers access to starfield, doom, elder scrolls, fallout, dishonored, prey and several other big IPs. What a hilarious unforced error by Jim. Cant believe he still has a job after that massive screw up. All he had to do was just make next gen only games, invest more in first party studios, and stop trying to moneyhat third party exclusives like MW2 remasters, frigging Godfall and Deathloop.

Kaz Hirai had big fuck ups, and he lost GTA and FF as exclusives, but man the PS3 still got those games. Now, massive games like ES6, Doom and Starfield wont be on Playstation ever. Crazy.

That said, I dont see how buying Bethesda and ID software helps him grow the pie. He is basically doing what Jimbo was trying to do. Limit the access to the pie. Yes, his hand was forced, but it's not like hes not playing the game.

The game is the game. He needs to embrace it. It's OK to be a fanboy when you are in a cutthroat business. He went out there and spent $8 billion like it was nothing just to make sure his base didnt lose out on the biggest game of the year. Who gives a shit if its console warring when it was the right move to make for his consumer base.
Tbh with you i dont even think it was the threat of sony buying timed exclusivity from beth titles. We all saw the initial showcase from MS BEFORE anything was ever known or leaked about them acquiring bethesda, So im not going to beat a dead horse everyone can form there own opinions. But i think zenimax willing or needing to sell bethesda came at the perfect time for MS, and they took advantage of it which they should have, because out of the big three they needed it/ or stand to gain the most from it as opposed to sony or nintendo. Only google or amazon would have been the next best benefactor to bolster themselves.
 
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THE DUCK

voted poster of the decade by bots
Well he's right in a way, while it's true buying Bethesda does affect its direct competitors in a negative way, it's not necessarily the focus of thier business plan. The focus is to assemble as many game studios as possible and gamepass subscribers, regardless of console numbers sold.

For example, in the old model, ms selling 50 million consoles and sony selling 100 million could be considered a failure.

But what if those 50 million consoles have 35 million gamepass subs added to another 10 million on pc gamepass, and another 10 million on cloud/Xbox one/streaming sticks.
That's over 10 billion a year just on gamepass, and its really not that far fetched. (Give or take) I think this is what he's talking about in terms of growing the market. They don't care if Sony sells 100 million consoles as it doesn't mean they fail.

It's also part of the reason they have the series S, another attempt to get more gamepass subscribers. There are a lot of people on this board right now that bought an S to go with thier ps5 - a direct example of potential growth when perhaps that ps5 owner would have only bought a ps5. Just wait till it's $249 or $199........and or the streaming stick arrives........
 

DForce

Member
- Xbox main Twitter account engages in console wars
- Aaron Greenberg engages in console wars
- Xbox employees engaged with guys like Colt and Dealer on Twitter and on their podcast..

Until Phil stops this, then I won't take him seriously about this console war stuff.
 
I personally think it’s fine. Console wars translates to I am convincing customers to play on my product.

But this is bullshit. “Cross-play“ was a high IQ move to gain access to Playstation lobbies.
And gamepass was to combat their smaller game sales market share. It’s a move that doesn’t jeopardize their game sales. Playstation, Disney, and Nintendo would be idiots doing a direct HBO Max/Gamepass. Buying Bethesda also a great move.

But then spining these things like your Santa is hilarious.
 
Tbh with you i dont even think it was the threat of sony buying timed exclusivity from beth titles. We all saw the initial showcase from MS BEFORE anything was ever known or leaked about them acquiring bethesda, So im not going to beat a dead horse everyone can form there own opinions. But i think zenimax willing or needing to sell bethesda came at the perfect time for MS, and they took advantage of it which they should have, because out of the big three they needed it/ or stand to gain the most from it as opposed to sony or nintendo. Only google or amazon would have been the next best benefactor to bolster themselves.
Thats an understatement. What would Microsoft have on the release schedule for 2022 without Bethesda?
 
- Xbox main Twitter account engages in console wars
- Aaron Greenberg engages in console wars
- Xbox employees engaged with guys like Colt and Dealer on Twitter and on their podcast..

Until Phil stops this, then I won't take him seriously about this console war stuff.
 
Yeah I can agree with that to an extent, although it’s not like Ryan or others have openly said their plan is to buy as many third party exclusives as possible. It’s basically PR speech on one side and silence on the other.
Well after the whole "we believe in generations" debacle it's probably best for Ryan to not say much for marketing goodwill that'll just end up getting 180'd shortly after.

I do agree tho that Phil should just say exclusives matter, admit they bought Zenimax for a competitive advantage. No shame in owing up to it, this is business. Flex your strengths if competition can't adapt that's their burden to bear. Beauty of a free market.

It's very pro-consumer, obviously.

People should be grateful for having less platforms to choose to buy future Bethesda games from.

They could also stop being cheap and just buy a Series X, S, Xbox One, laptop, or tablet. But I thought everyone had l33t-tier PCs we were told this last year :pie_thinking: ...

Not even kid me thought about potentially missing out on certain games with this much disdain...

Did he really just mention Google again even after stadia? Mentioning Google and amazon, who have no presence in the industry instead of the 2 actual biggest players in the industry is an insult. Why does he keep doing that?

That might be the intent, coyly speaking.
 
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IDKFA

Gold Member
It was a defense move against Sony's scummy behavior.
Someone had to stop Sony from making other platforms smaller. And I am grateful he took action.


The point is that both Sony and Microsoft spend energy on the "console war" because they both want to be the top dog in the industry. This is why Microsoft spent billions on a publisher and why Sony have purchased a few studios themselves recently.

Having Sony and Microsoft in competition with each other is a good thing. It means that we get some amazing games from both companies.
 

Tschumi

Member
Spencer and co were the ones who started saying their TFLOP dick was the biggest in the world, you can't talk that down... They fabricated hype about a meaningless stat for their fans to get rabid behind.

At least Sony went the "be quiet and let the fans/franchises create the hype" route, just dropping a exquisitely dry "deep dive" video.
 
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DenchDeckard

Gold Member
It was a defense move against Sony's scummy behavior.
Someone had to stop Sony from making other platforms smaller. And I am grateful he took action.

yeap, people not realising that Sony had already locked deathloop to a year and there was heavy talk that they’d almost inked the year exclusivity on more Bethesda games including Starfield.

MS were literally like, they trying to get exclusives from a publisher WE have a history with.

Sonys locked in the next final fantasy and more, MS just retaliated.

Plus it’s easier to access Ms games than any other platform holder. GG I say.
 
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Snake29

RSI Employee of the Year
Well we know what would have happened otherwise:
Sony’s plan was (is?) to use their competitive position to get as many timed exclusives as possible and starve out the competition. You can’t see it as just an offensive move coming out of nowhere and without any context.

Timed exclusive, still something completely different from a "full exclusive". Warhammer, STALKER 2, SCORN name it...these are all timed-exclusives and nobody gives a shit about these titles that MS paid for it.
 
The problem is one embraces exclusives the other trys to damn them all while demonstrating and doing other wise, while speaking with a forked tongue. Still cant tell the difference? It is what it is.
I think there is a difference between Phil Spencer the employee and Phil Spencer the gamer. I bet this here is his real opinion and of course Microsoft has to react when Sony tries to buy everything up to kill the competition.
 

anthony2690

Gold Member
- Xbox main Twitter account engages in console wars
- Aaron Greenberg engages in console wars
- Xbox employees engaged with guys like Colt and Dealer on Twitter and on their podcast..

Until Phil stops this, then I won't take him seriously about this console war stuff.
Phil doesn't engage in console wars.
He has been positive about Sony and Nintendo too.
He can't force his employees to not talk to people that do.
Aaron I think is just very passionate and loves his job and has great pride in the product, unless he has said console warrior stuff, that I've missed? (I don't really follow him)

Also more on topic, I can fully understand why Microsoft/Xbox is more worried about Amazon than Sony and nintendo.

Amazon owns twitch and Amazon prime, there is apparently 200 million prime members,that is a lot of people you can expose Luna too, maybe a free trial with Amazon prime or non stop twitch adverts for it.


Google on the other hand, I think they pretty much kill all their own stuff too soon to be a threat.
 
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Chukhopops

Member
Timed exclusive, still something completely different from a "full exclusive". Warhammer, STALKER 2, SCORN name it...these are all timed-exclusives and nobody gives a shit about these titles that MS paid for it.
Sony wanted to buy timed exclusivity before MS bought the entire publisher, so it was at least in part a defensive move.

Also timed exclusives can last as long as Sony pays for it, and Sony exclusives are more likely to exclude PC at launch (see FF16, FF7R, etc). So MS is the lesser of two evils overall.

I also checked if Jimbo/Herman ever said anything at all about their own third party moneyhats and couldn’t find anything. So it’s not like they have been particularly upfront about it either.
 
This guy bought an entire publisher.

What a fucking liar lol.
Bethesda wanted to be brought so it was either them or someone else that would have made the purchase.

Most Xbox games are available day one on PC and Xbox studios have already released games on even the Nintendo Switch so there is some truth to what he is saying.

They are in the business of getting people to subscribe to the Xbox ecosystem and they are willing to get game pass on as many devices to do so because they realized the dream of outselling Sony or Nintendo through hardware was never going to happen.
 
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azertydu91

Hard to Kill
I think there is a difference between Phil Spencer the employee and Phil Spencer the gamer. I bet this here is his real opinion and of course Microsoft has to react when Sony tries to buy everything up to kill the competition.
Yeah they bough bethesda because Sony was full on aquiring studios...I mean before MS bought Bethesda, Sony had just bought Sucker Punch in 2011 and ms had bought what like 10 studios....So you can see how Sony was buying everything and Ms was the poor publisher left out.
 

fermcr

Member
As long as Microsoft doesn't force Gamepass and always offers different choices, that's good.
If you don't want to spend too much money on a game, get Gamepass for a month or two and be done with it. If you want the game on your library, just purchase the game. What's not to like? ...
 

DForce

Member
Phil doesn't engage in console wars.
He has been positive about Sony and Nintendo too.
He can't force his employees to not talk to people that do.
Aaron I think is just very passionate and loves his job and has great pride in the product, unless he has said console warrior stuff, that I've missed?

Also more on topic, I can fully understand why Microsoft/Xbox is more worried about Amazon than Sony and nintendo.

Amazon owns twitch and Amazon prime, there is apparently 200 million prime members,that is a lot of people you can expose Luna too, maybe a free trial with Amazon prime or non stop twitch adverts for it.


Google on the other hand, I think they pretty much kill all their own stuff too soon to be a threat.

"Phil doesn't engage in console wars."

True4K, The Most Powerful console in the world, and many other terms Phil Spencer has used over the years fuel the console wars and he knows it. Those slogans are designed for marketing and he knows the hardcore fanbase will eat it up and spread it all across social media.

Remember a few years ago where Phil Spencer said they were going to reveal 13-14 exclusives during E3?

He knew Xbox was getting criticized for having a lack of exclusives on social media and specifically used it in his presentation.

If Phil Spencer loves to speak out against console wars, then he should have no problem with speaking out against it among his own employees.
 
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