April 10th 2014 6:00 am PT

Learn More about New Head of Xbox Phil Spencer

Last week, Microsoft named Phil Spencer our new Head of Xbox, and I spoke with him about his vision of the future. While this is a new role for Phil, he’s actually been with Microsoft since 1988. I recently chatted with him about what he’s accomplished over the past 26 years: which roles he’s held at Xbox, which titles he’s worked on, and who he’s worked with.

I hope you’ve enjoyed gaining some insight into what’s important to the Head of Xbox, what types of games he plays, and his favorite game he’s worked on.












Industry By Larry Hryb, Xbox LIVE's Major Nelson

  • LeoKurtz

    Phil Spencer have a great taste on games!
    Microsoft couldn´t pick as better person for the job, I´m trilled to see where he is gonna take the Xbox brand.

  • Some guy

    Microsoft Director of programming interview programmer/vice president of xbox studio/New xbox CEO, seems legit.

  • http://Www.mylifewithgaming.wordpress.com/ Mitchell Hall

    Phil spencer is such a cool guy. So glad he’s the new boss. I feel like the platform I love is finally in great hands. Can’t wait to see what kind of insanity he’s gonna bring to e3 this year.

  • roozbeh, again

    Voodoo Vince? Really?

  • John Smith

    This looks like a great decision. I like this guy, and hope he pushes the division towards supporting the Kinect a little more before the gaming community destroys it.

  • Rocco-117

    Xbox is in good hands now, can’t wait for E3: Rise of the One.

    • A. J.

      Don’t you mean “E3: Ryse of the One”?

      • Rocco-117

        Nice

  • HierkönnteIhreWerbungstehen

    Lol at MS trying to personally connect their fanboys to their new overlord

    • Gazza!!!

      So he should just sit in an ivory tower and just be completely anonymous? People would moan regardless of what he did I’m guessing.

      • WSHH-CHIMP-PATROL

        dude, he said he would be focussing on games, the very next day he announced a tv show, btw i just got for gold again yesterday because i wanted to play titanfall on my old360, i was ms customer for like 6 years, but with ea ufc i will buy a ….

        • https://live.xbox.com/MyXbox/Profile?gamertag=DarkGin87 Lee Rayson (DarkGin87)

          the podcast gives a better insights about the guy than the video. The tv show would of been in motion before he took the role so you can’t pin that on him.
          This is a guy who is a gamer a heart he plays both consoles (like most core gamers do) and he is the only person ive seen speak out about wanting a halo wars 2 (eventhough it wasn’t popular with gamers who ain’t into RTS games)
          So imo he will come up with some great stuff for Xbox over the next few years

        • Gazza!!!

          A revolution takes more than a few weeks. Give him time to let his plan take fruition but he has previous plans from the last head to deal with first.

          • Joshua st.

            Precisely!

        • http://ryan.snook.us/ Snook

          They aren’t going to stop doing media ….

    • http://Www.mylifewithgaming.wordpress.com/ Mitchell Hall

      So Damn cynical. It’s sad people like you have to convince themselves that there’s some sort of sinister ulterior motive behind every single thing Microsoft do.. but whatever floats your boat dude. The real truth is that the guys in the company are excited to have a guy like phil as the new boss because he really is a gamer, listens to his fans constantly, and his main focus is to make xbox an amazing gaming platform first without sacrificing all the awesome other features it has. So why wouldn’t they make videos like this to give people more of an insight into this guy? He’s the coolest guy xbox has had working for them in a long time, he’s super passionate about gaming and most importantly he’s going to put the xbox brand back on top again.

      • Joshua st.

        Well spoken sir or ma’am i couldn’t have said it better myself!

  • http://www.xbox.com/ J.Rhy@n

    Nice interview

  • NarcoSleepy

    Voodoo Vince! I loved that game. Another in a long list of games I loved that never sold well enough for a sequel. :(

  • DrToker

    I’m glad MS has found someone who can represent the image of Xbox that people feel they can trust. This will no doubt help a lot for the future. You’re great too Larry

  • ElektroDragon

    I want to know if he was the one responsible for all the great Xbox 360 JRPG exclusives suddenly becoming a big fat zero Xbox 360 JPRG exclusives after 2008 or so.

    • roozbeh, again

      Which reminds me, who is taking over MS studios?

  • Donald Taylor

    Voodoo Vince… If MSFT wanted to do an Xbox One stand-alone port (720P, Widescreen, Achievements) for $20, I would get it day one – and I strongly dislike the $20 price point. I kind of regret trading in the original Xbox (and games) for the 360. Sorry if I accidentally duplicate comment

  • Dylan

    Brothers was a great game. Such an emotional story, Polygon wrote a great feature about the director and his life with his brother. Voodoo Vince was extremely underrated at the time. We need more games like that and Psychonauts and Limbo.

    We need more fun and variance from this generation with less focus tested homogenized garbage like Fuse and most shooters these days.

    Phil Spencer seems to get that, which is absolutely HUGE. This generation can really be something special with him at the helm. Don Mattrick left the brand in shambles, it can only go up from here.

  • NobleJon

    This video made me much more confident in the future of Xbox than the last interview. I love Voodoo Vince and Limbo. I can’t wait to see similar IPs come this generation.

  • Mr&Mrs Ninja

    Mr. Ninja: I’m so proud of xbox for finally putting the right man in charge! Bring back Voodoo Vince and port it to X1 and 360!

    • Mr&Mrs Ninja

      It was the 1st game me and my girlfriend played together!

  • ryder4life22187

    lol he thinks their building the best consoles. I don’t consider them the best especially when you can only be tapped out at 320gb for 360 and 500gb for XB1. Ya that’s the best when your so limited. Sounds like Phil doesn’t play games at home seeing how major asked him whats pinned on his xb1 at home and what would he see if he came over and switched it to at my office their is a limbo poster.

    • digitallife

      So storage space is your biggest concern…squints and ponders troll or not troll?

      • ryder4life22187

        ya it is an issue. I’ve had my 250gb 360 full for years now and I shouldn’t have to resort to hooking my HDD up to my PC to be able to transfer games and DLC to make more room, as im sure not going to delete anything to have to redownload something in the future. If the competition you can use your own HDD why can’t we here especially from a company that is a software company.

        • digitallife

          I hear you but i’ve managed with less than 1/4 of that..deletion doesn’t equate the end of the world either..I mean unless you are playing every single one of those games that regularly I don’t see the point in keeping them on a hard drive all the time. I still can download san andreas on my 360 whenever I want to give it another go.

          • ryder4life22187

            But what are you going to do when MS shuts down the servers and then those games go bye bye along with the cash you paid for them. I like to play my old+new games anytime I choose as I don’t just limit myself to what’s new. So for me that’s a problem unless MS will keep their servers for their games running forever.

          • digitallife

            Those games don’t go away..you can always go into your account history and download the game..how long ago do you think I bought san andreas digitally? I just checked right now and I can still download it…if that game is still up…i’m pretty sure I don’t have to worry about more recent games. 360 isn’t going anywhere for at minimum 3 years.

          • digitallife

            Don’t get me wrong I understand your frustration but I do think it’s manageable.

          • ryder4life22187

            ya i do know that i can redownload stuff at anytime. But at least do everyone a favor and give us the option to put a TB in the 360. It might not go anywhere for 3 years but i will tell you this 3 years is not that far away seeing how the current gen has been out already almost 6 months.

          • digitallife

            Keep in mind once the storage update comes out for the xb1 the price on the storages for 360 will plummet. I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to get those 250gb drives extremely cheap by june if you needed to. While I agree that it would be more efficient to use your own drive of choice it’s not happening as long as there are drives by ms still on shelves.

          • ryder4life22187

            only issue with that im not even sure where they are selling them anymore I haven’t seen an official ms drive in stores for well over a year in my area.

          • Joshua st.

            Really? I see tons of them here, and there are many many more online. Also if you really must have more like the fella making this argument with you go buy the slim . I hear you can put larger Toshiba and some I’m not positive but I think I’ve heard of a specific Samsung drive work as Well.

          • ryder4life22187

            I shouldn’t have to buy a new console when it’s no different than my jasper unit. Only difference is you gotta take the HDD casing apart to put a slim HDD in. There’s no reason why they shouldn’t raise the limit for external storage. If they like to lose money sure then that’s their problem. I’ve got over 120+ retail games and got over 100+ arcade games. Now that I have to go to extreme’s to just DL a game I barely spend the money I used to on Live and now PSN has been seeing me opening my wallet to them and closing it to MS

          • Joshua st.

            Yea I understand that to, it’s just a suggestion they might do something to accommodate your type of needs I’m not sure but the external HDD Support might happen for both consoles . Just shoot a message to Support team and who knows right?

          • ElektroDragon

            Not the point. Even 320gb drives are too small. It’s not a money issue, else I would already be juggling 3 different 320GB drives.

          • NarcoSleepy

            Actually, due to licensing issues, some games get delisted from the marketplace. I am pretty sure you are no longer able to download them, regardless of whether you previously purchased it.

          • digitallife

            I’ve seen games delisted from the store “san andreas” was twice but via your account history the dl will still exist in most cases.The only games I don’t have access to anymore I bought before 2006.

          • trilogy10100 .

            You can still download delisted games, just go to your account and it will download.

          • ElektroDragon

            But for how long? Will you be able to still download them in 10 years? Doubt it.

          • NarcoSleepy

            That’s good to know. I assumed it was gone forever.

          • ElektroDragon

            You can’t rely on another company to keep files around for you indefinitely. PERIOD. Hence local storage is VERY important.

          • Joshua st.

            You are absolutely right sir same even goes for DLC (when the servers close).

          • ImTheMetalLord

            If you previously purchased a game even if they took it down from new customers being able to buy it you are still able to download it. I have several games that are like this so I know this as a fact.

            Now if they turn off the servers I’m not sure what will happen but I did see some rumors that Xbox is thinking about making the Xbox One backwards compatible and being able to store your digital games on their cloud to play them on your One.

          • http://people.ign.com/ltsjoemama ltsJoeMama

            Yes you still can. You just have to go to download history.

        • Joshua st.

          Well first up in a (very) future update you will be able to hook your HDD directly up to your XB1. Does that help or hinder your concerns?

          • ryder4life22187

            That would help my concerns but depends on how far MS is willing to give us. Currently the 360 has an external option of 32gb so id be surprised if they imposed anything close to 500gb

      • Mr&Mrs Ninja

        Well both system HDs are almost full soooooo yea need more space for destiny, etc

    • Mr&Mrs Ninja

      I would be cool if I could hook up my 3TB hd to either one.

    • http://people.ign.com/ltsjoemama ltsJoeMama

      You’re here all the damn time. Do you have anything positive to say?

      • ryder4life22187

        Did it ever occur to you that i’m hoping the xbox brand will do a 180 and turn back into the greatness it once was. If no one ever complained about a product how would the company learn from the mistakes and try to make something better. A year ago you’d see me on here defending the Xbox brand to the fullest, now I just see a software company trying to make a overpriced cable box who rarely publishes any more games these days.

        • http://people.ign.com/ltsjoemama ltsJoeMama

          Fair enough.

  • digitallife

    Bring back 1 vs 100 and others like it…that was a great direction and a free new experience which was financed via sponsors

    • Mr&Mrs Ninja

      Mr. Ninja: Oh heck yea! That was awesome!

      • digitallife

        I won carcassone from it, even when you didn’t win it was an interactive household thing for me and the mrs.

        • ElektroDragon

          It was awesome. I want it back too. Hell, I’d pay extra for it. Would rather pay an extra monthly fee for something like 1 vs 100 than some stupid MMO.

  • Beano

    So, to recap: I would like to see significant HD’s allowed on the 360,
    and I would like to see Phil stop waving his hands around like Elijah
    Wood or some other blabby idiot I can’t stand. If Phil does those two
    things, then I will give Phil a THUMB UP.

  • fur low

    phil peener looks like don mattrick

    • alex

      hell no.

    • Quanicus

      Why is his appearance being tossed into this?

      • Joshua st.

        God only knows my friend …….. God only knows.

      • Joshua st.

        I’m guessing its a extremely fundamental aspect of videogames……. you didn’t know? Haha sorry just having some fun.

  • alex

    Bring us the games and dont go to EA, simple as that!

    • Joshua st.

      What no Dragon Age?….. Your crazy and on your own on this one.

  • fur low

    So. Microsoft either fired or had the majority of the xbox executive staff leave, and now the left overs are taking over. What they really need, is to get rid of anyone who had anything to do with xbox one I.E. (major nerdly) and hire some people that are with the times. People who would have anticipated the tablet market, the smartphone market, gamers lust for better graphics(not spotty star trek style voice commands, facepalm), not incompetent staff that are playing catchup with todays tech.

    • Joshua st.

      I agree but at the same time you need to cut some slack to Microsoft cause last I checked this is a majority part our faults. We as a consumer cried foul at the always online policy which I believed Microsoft counted on for extra horsepower with cloud computing. Also shame on them for not explaining it better they offered no explanation on anything.

      • fur low

        They were wrong for that but I sure didn’t cry about it. I didn’t care about it at all really, I have internet, always will. What I don’t like, is a half finished console, (x360 guide button is years ahead of xbox ones “apps” that you have to dashboard just to see your friends) a stunted gpu that cant handle 1080p on half its games, the games like forza5 that are a shadow of what forza 4 was (half the tracks, all the best cars are locked behind paygates). If that’s the future of console gaming, I’m going back to PC.

        • fur low

          A PC, with any OS but windows I might add. Windows xp is still the best OS they made to date, what does that tell you about the glory/innovation days at Microsoft. THEY ARE OVER.

          • roozbeh, again

            Obvious troll is obvious.

  • Joshua st.

    I dunno what everyone’s deal is? Phil is by faaaaaaar a better choice then his predecessor. The time he has spent there to see there downfalls is a huge plus So long as he plans to work from that on forward. He has also been a part of some truly genre changing games that being said some woman who has never even seen a Game in development in charge was a travesty. Look there system at the time was a huge mess and failure that’s it, and they’ve been quick to change it. The old way had zero communication between the other divisions and had people in charge who had no business even showing up to there office every morning ! This was there mistake!

    • fur low

      You are defending him, like you know him, or you are him. I’ve seen larry hryp on here under alias trying to toot his own horn. I see you saying, phil is great and its gamers fault x1 is bad, and I just cant take you seriously, shill or not.

      • Joshua st.

        Haha dude I wish I was I was one of them!Things would be way different! Look I never said I didn’t agree with you I just think they where a mess but from what I’ve seen they are trying to turn this around and not just with Xbox either. Yes windows 8 is the worst thing I’ve ever seen I guess they thought everyone would have touchscreen desktops and laptops. At the same time I am not ready to jump ship this is Microsoft and my 360 has given me some of the best experiences I’ve ever had in gaming. In there new direction I feel like they are working on getting back into the habit of asking we the consumer about how to move forward.

      • Joshua st.

        And your talking down on a man like you know him, it goes both ways he just got this position and I think we should at least give the man a chance. I personally think he will benefit us moving forward that’s my opinion that’s all.

  • Quanicus

    In Phil I trust!

    He doesn’t sound like a ROBOT for God sake! He sounds like a normal person speaking on something he loves.

    • Joshua st.

      Thanks cause I’m definitely not a “robot” I’m a hardcore gamer have been since I got my Sega master system and Atari. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time with all the consoles and Microsoft changed everything when they released the Xbox and then soon after Xbox live. I’m just not giving up on them cause I know they can do that very same thing again.

  • Sanpei

    Sell a Kinectless, TV-less Xbox One for a 350$…And you are a King….

    • WSHH-CHIMP-PATROL

      299 dollar or 235 euro would be a decent price, right now they try to charge 500 euro for the titanfallbundel wich is simply laughable when you consider that you can get a more powerful machine for 100 euro less, come at me fan boys

      • evilfangs .

        If all you cared about was power then why are you buying and playing consoles?

        • Sanpei

          Games and cheaper than pc ?

          • Bush

            pc works out cheaper by a lot.

          • Professor Oak

            Not really, buying a Console is so much cheaper than a PC, while steam sales are cheap, consoles also have some pretty good digital sales as well. Only way pc would be cheaper is if you only play Free to play, let me know where I can find a decent gaming pc for less than $900

          • Bush

            i built one last year for 200euro more than an xbox one, out performs the new consoles and new games are almost half the price. after buying 10 games i’ve already broke even.

            i bought a ps4 last week with 3 games and it cost me only 150euro less than my pc. my gaming laptop was 300euro more than an xbox..so yes it is cheaper.

        • John Smith

          I and alot of other people work on a PC for 9+ hours a day. Why would i want to jump on one again when i get home?

          Better to sit on the couch with a console controller and just relax.

    • Michael Košut

      NO.

    • Death Dealer

      It’s not going to happen. You’ll be seeing the Xbox One being sold with Kinect at that price sooner than it every being sold without.
      Right now there are already prices being tested that are on par with the PS4 and offered with Titanfall for example (Amazon). It’ll only be a matter of time before MS sees that they’ll sell more units at that price and regain their market share.

  • Michael Košut

    I just love him. Best Xbox Boss ever.

    • Death Dealer

      Right now all I can say is welcome to him. At first impression he looks like a very sincere and amicable person but I’ll only judge after a few years. I just hope he pushes everyting in the right direction.

    • roozbeh, again

      I would give him that kind of recognition if gets a few game theme tattoos.

      Until then, Peter Moore is my favorite.

      • fur low

        I got Rholes Navior tattooed on my butt.

        • roozbeh, again

          Who?

  • Aimless Gamer

    The perfect pick. Hopefully he helps make Shenmue 3!

  • Kieran

    Microsoft had the biggest news story yesterday and they didn’t see it and promote it?

    Respawn announced private matches will be on dedicated servers. This the biggest seesaw change for a long time.

    I’m sure no game has had dedicated servers for private and free ever.

    This is the big change to the way competitive players play online ever!

    Esports is now radically different on x box 1 if this comes to Gears of War and Halo and other games.

    • DrToker

      Sony will never be able to reach the glory of Xbox Live.

  • John Smith

    Great choice – i hope he supports Kinect and doesn’t bow to the pressure to un-bundle it, but rather dedicates resources to make it work better.

    Improve the voice rec ALOT and reduce the lag – and the gaming community will come around to support it.

    • Aussiesloth

      Agree love im enjoying this console even though it needs some fixing but generally its great and people need to understand you don’t need to be number one console to survive.

  • evilfangs .

    Another price drop on the Xbox one here in the UK lol.

    Xbox one Titanfall bundle now costs the exact same as a PS4 console without any games. Gone down £100 since November lol.

    • DrToker

      So it beats the PS4 in value by miles.

    • fur low

      Really? Lmao reeks of desperation, but then, what choice do they have.

      • roozbeh, again

        Well, Asda and Amazon did it. Not MS.

  • Liquidfx Xboxdude

    Phil Spencer once healed a man of HIV. Hint: He was a basketball player.

    • Gazza!!!

      Chuck Norris opens doors for Phil Spencer.

    • roozbeh, again

      Phil Spencer is the living form of Jesus Christ.

  • disqus_icUCvMAJ5v

    Congrats to Phil Spencer I really hope this is the beginning of a more gamer centric approach with Xbox One.

    However at this point the console is still a real mess. I’m hoping the April update, whenever that comes will actually fix some of the issues.

    There are still chat issues with the headset adapter, sometimes chat works and sometimes it just doesn’t. There are still controller disconnect issues. There are still intermittent audio issues with surround sound through the optical port.

    Can’t start a party without the system trying to launch a game?!?!

    Even after they fix these issue we’re still dealing with hardware that’s inferior to the competitors console. There is really nothing Phil can do about that.

    The truth is Xbox was a brand that was even with it’s competitor in terms of popularity. It was a brand that gamers supported and when it came time to announce their follow up console they essentially gave the finger to those gamers.

    Xbox is a brand that’s in trouble, MS may be putting on a brave face in public but retailers are cutting the price on the console. They don’t do that when a console is selling,

    Can Phil and MS turn this around? I hope so.

    • GmailIsDown

      people may think that the difference in specs won’t matter and maybe indeed it won’t matter that much in game, but this will forever be a selling point for PS4. better specs and $100 cheaper? sold!

  • fur low

    x1 just got another price drop in the uk, lol

    • WSHH-CHIMP-PATROL

      they still try to charge 500 EURO for the titanfal bundle in germany, i don’t know a single person in real life who has bought one

      • Michael Košut

        Well I know them.

        • Peter Taylor

          Price is 540 Euro in Finland. How sick is that?

      • Gazza!!!

        So you know people that exist out of real life that have bought one?

      • ryder4life22187

        Our store got in 4 titanfall bundles, and so far we’ve only managed to sell one bundle.

  • steven

    Why is Plants vs. Zombies box ver £29.99 on Microsoft store and £34.79 on xbox one for download ?

 
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