Phil Spencer Interview

Earlier this week, Phil Spencer was named the Head of Xbox.
In his first video interview in the new role, I had a chance to chat with him about his thoughts on the future of Xbox and more




92 thoughts on “Phil Spencer Interview

  1. The comment about “How important is gaming to Microsoft” tells me Phil’s asking the right questions. E3 will be his first big test. I was disapointed last year but still remain hopeful this year.

    Feeling positive that MS are listening I’d like to make the following suggestions:
    1. Larger hard drive support – Pushing digital on your customers who’ve ‘fully embrased’ your vision is limiting them badly at the moment. The 360 has a massive catalog of digital games and with a 320GB hard drive and 2 x 32GB USB sticks permanently connected its still ‘restricting’ the vision.
    2. 360 and XB1 integration – Don’t segregate the community. Xbox Live users should be able to voice chat regardless of platform and achievements should be visible from either platform too. You’ve done a good job convincing the community that codecs are to blame and its incorrect. Any programmer will tell you its not true.
    3. Digital pricing – It needs addressing. Its not inline with retail pricing or the cost savings digital distribution provides. People on here will argue that MS don’t set the pricing but you need to understand that an ‘all digital’ vision will not work if the pricing is not right so the right people need to talk to the right people and work out how to move this forward. You provide the market place – if the content is not priced correctly it will not sell.

    1. Right on the money on all counts!

      …and you can’t understate the importance of no.3.

      I was waiting on the marketplace at midnight when Titanfall launched. When it popped up at £54.99 ($90) I just turned the console off and went to bed. Picked it up at retail the following day for £32. That kind of difference is insurmountable.

      To win over the gamers digital really need to be cheaper than physical to offset the lack of resale value. In the long run that must surely still make more money for the publishers/devs with removal of manufacturing and shipping costs, conventional retail markups and losses in the second hand market.

      £40 is the sweet spot in the UK and has been for generations. With the recent retail price hike to £50-£55 pricing digital content at £40 would cement it as a viable alternative.

      I’m guessing here that you’re from the UK as well though, in the US pricing seems to be $60 retail and $60 digital already … strangely that’s about £40, who’d have though it! 🙂

      1. I agree with your point, but I think this is slowly changing. It’s not going to be an overnight change. Retailers still have their grips on the video game industry. I know you are from the UK but both Thief and Tomb Raider on both the xboxone and PS4 were just recently discounted by 50% in the USA.(for a short period) 1-2 years ago you wouldn’t have seen this type of discount on recently released digital games. Even if they were bad games they still had them for full price for months or years! I think we will be seeing this more in this generation were digital games will go on “sale” more often for a lot less. We are currently seeing it with the Xbox 360. In the past 3-4 months they had a mass digital sale and some games were on sale for 9 bucks. Good games too. I don’t think we are going to see a change in price from digital games when release but I do see more sales for them quicker and more often.

      2. they were 50% off here in Ireland last week too.

        i’d like to point out that digital on the ps4 is cheaper than retail here by a whooping 5euro. its small but it’s still cheaper. i dont have an X1 so i cannot check the prices for digital.

      3. the 50% sale and the 5euro cheaper than retail are both on the ps4. games at retail for both next gen cost 65 euro. on the ps4 marketplace they retail at 60euro. same price as 360/ps3 games in gamestop.

      4. A 5 Euro differential, while not massive, just gives you that bit of incentive to go digital. I imagine a lot of people will still prefer to buy the physical copy (as they can lend it to friends, trade it, etc.), so it won’t put the retail stores out of business, but for those of us wanting to move to the digital future it is a small reward as opposed to the kick in the teeth we got in the UK with Titanfall!

      5. They were 50% off in the UK too, it was a giant Squenix sale across all platforms. Was a little surprised Thief came down so quick, my mate wasn’t too happy having paid full price though. Was very tempted with Tomb Raider too but have already finished it on 360 and have it again on PS3 as a PS+ freebie.

        Agreed they were a step in the right direction but I think this was a big publisher cash grab rather than an indication of the general direction. The 360 ultimate sales have been good though so there’s hope 🙂

        Don’t want discs, do want digital so in combination with the current price hike, day 1 digital pricing discrepancy and freebies offered by both GWG and PS+ I just don’t feel compelled to buy anything but the absolute must haves now. So far only Titanfall and I had to give into the disc at almost half the digital price.

        Pretty much ever gamer I know has upgraded to X1 or PS4 and, for similar reasons, every single one has bought significantly less than they normally would have (even taking into account the standard new hardware drought period). In a bizarre twist of fate it’s actually making things cheaper.

        It’s early days though, hopefully things will level out in the next year or two.

      6. Absolutely agree with this. Titanfall digital pricing in the UK was ridiculous compared to the retail stores but one could at least argue it was new. We’re still seeing £55 being asked for Need for Speed:Rivals!

        I’m sure that last summer there was a comment from MS that said game prices weren’t going to increase for the “next gen” – I can tell you, I’d never paid anything like £55 for a game on the 360!

      7. both those games are published EA. Origin has the highest priced digital games i’ve come across. simcity was 70euro at launch.

    2. u were disapointed with last year ms e3 press conference?? it was the best of all the e3 except for the price reveal.

      right now the only thing ps4 is ahead of x1 is:
      4-games… indie games because after spending 400$ on a console its what u want to play.(sarcasm on this one xD).

      I have a feeling some ppl will regret moving to ps4 so early after e3

      1. Yes. Last years E3 showed us something and answered nothing. The delivery was off, the reveal was loose and gave us more questions than answers.

        MS have a big big problem if the PS4 is ahead on price, hardware, sales and games. These are the 4 key areas and should raise eyebrows in the boardroom at MS.

      2. Maybe not games. I’d say my X1 wins out about 90/10 in playtime compared to the PS4.

        Sure they’re fun but if I really want to play Indie games I use my PC. Something just seems wrong buying a funky new PS4 to play simple games that would mostly run fine on my phone.

        It’ll change though so it’s a curve Microsoft absolutely have to stay ahead on.

    3. The ball is definitely in Phil’s court. If he can make serious changes like this, as a disappointed 360 diehard fan (with 100K gamerscore, and jumped to PS4 this gen), I’ll definitely jump on board the Xbox One bandwagon.

      Games are important too. It won’t be seen right at this E3, but hopefully he can start the shift to NEW IP’S. WE NEED NEW IP’S. The 360 has been barren for the last four years, the Xbox One shouldn’t be the same, and yet they cancelled the Black Tusk game for yet another Gears of War.

      Also get more independents on the platform. Stupid people here have a jaded definition of what indie means, they automatically hate it because it isn’t on their platform of choice, but if they got to play awesome games like Outlast and FTL (and No Man’s Sky!), they’d change their mind. Win-Win for everyone.

    4. Great post Kevin! I’d just like to add one subnote under Digital Pricing: changes need to be made to the pricing of games AND DLC. I’m sick of picking up an older game that I missed for $20 new, and then finding that in order to get all the DLC, I’ll need to plunk down another $60. DLC prices need to come down over time and stay in line with the price of the base game.

  2. More unquire and different types of new IPs, AAAs / Arcades and Indies.

    Bigger sized hard drivers on both the 360 and X1.

    Cheaper prices for digital on day one IE £35-40 for digital while retail are £45-50, make sure you discount and put on sale digital games within a normal time frame ( no waiting 3 years to discount a 3 year old game which is selling for £10 at retail )

    Keep up GWG and bring it to X1 sooner rather then later.

    The ability to rent games from Microsoft.

    More apps and just general features like 3D support for games and movies.

    The ability to send voice messages from X1 to 360 and maybe even be able to use skype or party chat between one another.

    Maybe reward loyal members of Xbox 360 / X1 more.

    Try not to speak about all the useless stuff like TV as much, try to focus making a gaming console before adding in that sort of stuff.

    Develop a course for these lazy third party developers to understand how to use your system correctly and get the most out of it, Microsoft is a software company after all.

    Just a few things I can think of as to what we need.

    Phil seems like a gamer or someone who actually cares about gaming, so hopefully he can turn X1 into the type of console it should have been.

    1. Most important things from your list (imo) are digital pricing, demos, and rentals. This really needs looking into… I got duped into buying zoo tycoon at launch, and that’s all I need to say..

      Also, I like the other features like tv integration etc.. I want them to push that too. I’m a gamer, but sometimes I just wanna mong out in front of the tv.

      The thing I’d like to add to your list? I want more games to be able to run in the background. Like, if I’m playing thief, anda mate wants a quick match on titanfall then I can’t just restart and play thief while we wait for a game (a feature originally hinted at).. there must be a way to have even two games up and ready.. just the one can become a tad redundant. .

  3. The last 3 CEO all thought about gamers first and we all know how it ended.
    He HAVE to say he think about gamers because saying anything else is stupid.
    If anything he’ll try something new 2-3 times then shareholders will them him to stop and make more apps.

  4. GAMES, GAMES, GAMES, Integration with Microsoft’s ecosystem (Surface, PC, XBOX ONE, Windows Phone 8), keep moving forward! Great news!

  5. It’s good news that the recent update brought in notifications for when friends / favorites log on but you really need the notification as big as it is, or the need to “hold to view profile” part, it could also not last as long and maybe not stay in our notification tap on top left of dashboard.

    Still needs tweaking.

    1. The UI is perfect on the 360 and they changed it all for the XB1. Moving forward is about evolving not changing. They played with the core features on XB1 without really understanding what made them core. I have faith and I’m sure in 1 – 2 years from now the XB1 will be the one to beat.

      1. I do miss the guide overlay. Compared to Xbox One’s UI, the overlay gives a reassuring “I’m still in the game/app I want to be in” – it’s a mental thing I guess, but it’d be nice not to have to switch back and forth between things just to reply to a message.

      2. You cannot evolve without change, change however is not evolution. The 360 UI is perfect, use it as a base and built on what works (evolution). Starting from scratch (change) and leaving out the features which add value to a lot people is a questionable strategy.

    2. I actually wish that friends notifications weren’t tied with broadcasts in the settings. I want to be notified when my favorites are online, but I have one favorite who annoyingly broadcasts a new game every hour or two and I can’t turn off those notifications! I don’t care to be notified if friends are broadcasting, I can see that in the friends area. I also don’t want to uninstall twitch because I do use it occasionally to watch streams.

    1. I heard empty talk for 6 Minutes, nothing was announced or confirmed and cod blips is still 50% more expensive on xbox than on the competitors platform

    2. This is a good start. Hopefully they can come through. Imagine 3 amazing platforms (Steam, Microsoft, Sony) all doing consumer friendly things while garnering gaming’s fullest innovative potential.

  6. I feel optimistic now with Phil Spencer at the helm. All the things he said here are things I wanted to hear as a consumer and avid gamer. Definitely sounds like the right direction, with the right leader.

    Keep it up! I’ll be watching at E3.

  7. Glad this is the message he’s putting out…perhaps it’ll actually happen. Right now I am just hoping for a few more triple a titles with great single player stories on next gen. I find the window between big releases too big. While yes I know the 360 had even less games out by this time in its cycle, this isn’t that era..there are a lot more studios in the world creating games. I wish they had timed a triple a release a month for the first year of the console.

  8. fix halo spartan assault its supposed to be 50% off but the price is 9.99 isn’t it supposes to be 4.99,at least if you guys are going to take advantage of us put the game at 7.50 because halo spartan assault was never released at 19.99 and you guys lower the price of the game before the sale.

    1. i know some people are all iffy about that but i agree. i just didn’t feel welcomed as much when i turned on my x1 as when i turned on my ps4. ps4 gave me Contrast right away to play not to mention 3 actually fun Free to play games.

    2. Microsoft doesn’t run a charity like those a$$ki$$er$ over at sony, you have a specail controller and achievement that are collectors items.

  9. Just copy PlayStation Pluss, get rid of the stupid connect, lower price to $399, then get more free 2 plays and stop hating on indie games then xbox One would be #1

    1. How exactly are Microsoft hating on indie games? Do you mean by not having a indie section on 360, and not giving indie developers free Xbox one development kits. Or do you mean the fact that Microsoft hasn’t supported indie developers for years on the 360. That kind of hating right?

  10. Deleted from the video “So why wasn’t _I_ considered for this job? Congratulations anyway, I’m sure you will suffice you schmuck I mean swell guy!” 🙂

  11. 1. Carbon Copy Playstation Plus. We pay for an xbox live gold subscription right, so why not have newer games with limited time access? Much superior to the Games with Gold ‘keep a game forever’ model. I’d give up ownership for better selection.

    2. Drop the darn price. Sell the One at a loss.

    3. Do “fire sales” like the playstation store, a super limited drastically discounted game every week.

    Let’s remove any advantages sony has by matching or bettering their pricing/services. If the xbox one was on equal footing I’d have one already. Until it is I won’t buy.

    1. well i already bought the x1 but i agree with your list BUT microsoft needs to 1up ps+ and do it better. now that will be fun getting free games and/or just great content on both my ps4 and x1. this will be fun if it goes like that.

      1. I agree, a half-hearted “me too” is not how you compete. I have over a 50k gamerscore Phil, I love Xbox. Please compete at PlayStation’s level.

    2. I have both a xb1 and a ps4 and both online services. I don’t know why ppl like psn better. It’s not IMHO. The “free” games are basically rentals and are not excellent games as others will say. They are merely okay games. However I have JUST the PS4 on the Sony side so maybe the ps3 games are better.

      My opinions are this. Drop the xbox live price to match psn. 49.99 per year. More frequent xb1 game sales.

      Do not get rid of the Kinect. If ppl don’t like it too bad for them. You CAN run the system without it.

      That’s my take on it.

      Congrats to Phil for getting the role. Now don’t disappoint us Phil. LISTEN to your fan base and don’t repeat the mistakes of past.

      1. that is way too convoluted and counter intuitive….No one knows what it even means or does…I know I tried exactly that when I was in a party and not one of my friends answered..ya know why?..they all think I am inviting them into a party…not just to chat

  12. i don’t remember the show being about games games games. did i hear him right? it was abut tv tv tv. no matter, just make xbox the greatest again is all i care.

    1. You’re remembering wrong. E3 2013 really was all about games games games for Xbox One. A few weeks earlier, when they revealed the Xbox One in May, it was all about tv tv tv. E3 is what sealed the deal for me when it came to pre-ordering the Xbox One.

      1. they never listen, if they did the XB brand wouldn’t be in the position it is in currently. I’m still surprised they wanted to go with an all digital drm future when they can’t seem to figure it out that 500gb is child’s play. Update the 360 so it can at least run a TB drive and make a revised version of the XB1 so we can change out the HDD ourselves without taking the whole thing apart.

  13. After watching this interview, I feel really good about Xbox’s future. I’ve been with Xbox since day one of the first console. I’ve been through the ups and downs (many more ups in my opinion) and thus far with Xbox One I am overall happy with what it is currently and its potential. It sounds like Phil’s general philosophy as it relates to Xbox is that gaming has to come first. So, I’m in.

  14. I don’t trust people who overuse their hands whilst talking. This guy is a certified flailing hands maniac, just like any creepy Hollywood actor. Shia LaBeouf might as well be running the company now.

  15. As someone who owns a PS4 and has had no interest at all in getting an xbox one so far this is the first time I’ve felt there is a possibility I’ll want to get one at some point in the future. They’re not there yet but definitely look like they’re heading in the right direction at last.

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