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Spencer: We launched an underpowered and overpriced box

The Xbox chief reflects on the generation so far.

  • Text: Jonas Mäki
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Xbox One has come a long way since it was released for $499 with a mandatory Kinect and plans for really draconian rules about being online and using your own games. All this thanks to Phil Spencer who took over when the last Xbox boss, Don Mattrick, left the company. And Spencer usually doesn't shy away from answering tough questions and when he was interviewed by The Guardian, he said this about Microsft's massive effort at E3 this year:

"I've been at Xbox since the beginning and Xbox used to be like the garage band of Microsoft: as long as we didn't turn the music up too loud, we were able to keep playing. "But now the company really sees what gaming is: it's two billion people around the world, many of whom love our brands. We're a player; we're important. And we have broad aspirations."

Today Microsoft has the most powerful console on the market thanks to Xbox One X, but this wasn't always the case, as PlayStation 4 was noticeably better than Xbox One. Spencer continues:

"We launched a box that was underpowered compared to the PlayStation, and more expensive because of the inclusion of [motion-sensing camera] Kinect in every box. Underpowered and overpriced was ... not the right model for us. We had shipped some of our franchises too frequently, which had made them lose some of the anticipation that's important in the entertainment industry. Our studios had lost leaders, which meant they were the studio that they had been before in name rather than in function."

Regarding Spencer's visions for the future, he says:

"The biggest challenge I feel now is gamers' desire to continue to divide our industry. The mentality is that somebody must fail in order for someone else to succeed ... we all want to think about how we grow the gaming business, to not create arbitrary decisions on what console you buy or what network you join. The more we work together as an industry, better things happen. You have an Android and I have an iPhone; I can still call you. That would be my hope: that we still compete, but we compete on creative and quality."

It sounds like Microsoft has learned a lot under Spencer and they are unlikely to make the same mistakes next generation. Do you agree with Spencer's vision for the future?