Why Microsoft knows it needs to beef up its Xbox leadership

VB: "Microsoft announced today that Phil Spencer has appointed a new boss of games to handle the role that the executive had previously handled as head of the company's games business. I talked with both Spencer and Booty in an interview, as both me explained what the changes will mean for Microsoft’s game business and all of the developers and executives reporting to them."

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Septic32d ago

" but it’s also become very clear to me that we’re going to invest more in content, which we are doing, and that a unified studios leadership organization was going to be critical to our long-term success."

Agreed- a unified leadership well enable MS to focus on its end goal, particular regarding new content.

" Matt is in charge of our current game content portfolio, but also, as we invest more in content to drive our gaming ambition, he will play the leadership role in driving that growth."

This will help with more accountability rather than the blunderbuss being pointed squarely at Spencer.

"On the creative side, I’ve always had a golden rule, to stay out of the way of game teams as far as where they go with design and the craft of making their games. "

Tis a good attitude to have. As a dev you dont want the higher-ups to be too invasive on your efforts. Unless you're Peter Molyneux; in which case you need someone sitting on your head as you create a pile of shite lathered in hubris.

Well lets see how Booty fares. The results will speak for themselves.

Godmars29032d ago

While the only thing that's going to prove anything are results, if the "exclusives don't matter" mentality persist, if they only focus on online MP, this new effort to "fix their s**t" is going to fails just like all of the others.

Obscure_Observer32d ago (Edited 32d ago )


Save us from hypocrisy. I can see the fanboys trolling the new Xbox games as soon as it get announced. Be that Single or Multiplayer.

Godmars29032d ago (Edited 32d ago )

If a game is good, sells well, what difference will fanboy squawking make? Except to other equally asinine and thin skinned fanboys of course.

Using a hot button as example, the argument may go on and on about how much better Forza is than GT, but at the end of the day there's really little difference between them.

bluefox75531d ago

They want GaaS because it's more profitable, but unfortunately for them, this doesn't seem to be what the majority of gamers want.

TheCommentator31d ago

When you refer to exclusives, Godmars, are you referring to MS 1st party only being released on Xbox?

I don't personally mind if someone can buy an Xbox game for their PC. I'll still buy the next Xbox over a PC to play MS games, as will many others, but having more game sales only gives more profits to the developers to continue making games with. I only see advantage to Xbox/PC as a singular community. Even Sony fans with a PC will help pay for MS to make Xbox games if they purchase the PC versions.

OTOH, I agree that diversity and quality will make a big difference in whether MS succeeds or fails to capture gamers interest again. So far, this generation has been mostly failed attempts at releasing new IP, cancellations, and sequels that no longer hold the same appeal that they once did. MS definitely has their work cut out for them if they want to turn things around but please don't expect things to be better overnight, as it took MS ten years to sink this low.

AngelicIceDiamond31d ago

"exclusives don't matter" mentality persist"

Wait whoa who has this mentality? Everyone knows MS needs the games.

Godmars29031d ago

@TheCommentator: Would be best for the platform to make it the priority over PC. If MS is going to keep in an all access direction, that what games they offer will end up under performing against the PS4 is just something that they, and their fans, are going to have to accept.

That's been MS's motto since the 360. Nevermind the irony of them buying and relying on limited exclusive content. Repeatedly presenting themselves as the best platform for 3rd party while actively ignoring SP 1st and 2nd party titles.

TheCommentator31d ago

@ Godmars290

I'm assuming you're talking about console sales underperforming, because game sales performance would rise with the addition of PC sales and graphics performance is only limited by the device it's played on (or lazy developers, I suppose). I don't know, I guess I don't see total console sales as a big deal as long as I'm happy with my purchase and the exclusives MS offers (which I am) and MS has a profitable ecosystem to keep my system of choice alive (which they do).

Godmars29031d ago

Talking about hardware performance only.

darthv7231d ago

Which exclusive mentality godmars? The PS side who thinks exclusives are the ONLY thing that matters and define them as not being on anything but PS. Or the XB side who feel exclusives just dont carry the same weight as they once did and define them as just not being on any other console (they see PC like Switzerland: neutral territory).

Godmars29031d ago

How many times do have to repeat MS saying "exclusives don't matter" for it to sink in that MS said it?

And its not about exclusives, but game diversity. MS isn't doing anyone any favors by being overly focused on arena MP, just as Sony isn't by repeatedly remaking SP story driven set pieces from Uncharted to Last of Us or the new version of God of War.

At this point 3rd party titles give systems more meaning than AAA where AAA get most of the attention. And the issue with that, because MS turns their noses up at such leaving Sony - and now Nintendo - to pick up those "crumbs" there's more consideration towards them taking 3rd instead of leading it.

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Angainor732d ago

After a great generation with Xbox 360 which managed to keep the crown of the total sales until the very end and with lower specs and install base than Playstation' s, then came the Don Mattrick fiasco which cost a generation to Microsoft. It needs time to make a comeback. The comeback, finally, came with the X. A beautiful, powerful and very precise console, what the original Xbox One and true successor to Xbox 360 should have been. Now that they did the hardware right and building the foundation for the next gen, it's time to build on games. Gears of War, Forza Motorsport / Horizon & Halo are critical franchises just like God Of War, Uncharted and Gran Turismo. These franchises must keep coming because are the identity of each console, so many great memories from all those games, they must keep coming but with new additions every time in order to keep the games fresh. Sony has the advantage in this regard and also regarding new IPs, but im sure MS will follow, maybe not in this scale right away, but they will.

AspiringProGenji32d ago

Don’t blame uncle Mattrick only for that. All the execs including Phil also were part of that original vision.

Markusb3332d ago

That's one thing that makes me laugh mattick didn't just appear from no where he was working with the 360 and ms for years. It's easy to blame him alone when the whole division was driving the same direction too.

MakoD32d ago

Mattrick was just doing what he was told... cut the fat and get Xbox to profitability. He was not successful but Microsoft was able to hide this fact from investors for a while. Phil is also just being told what to do... get rid of the Xbox store and move all the Xbox users over to the Microsoft store, this was completed last year. There is no Xbox division any longer, the Xbox division was consumed by the Windows Division last year.

Once UWP (mobile framework without a mobile platform) comes to its logical conclusion, there will be very little reason to have the Microsoft Store. My guess then the decision will be either to completely cloudify the Xbox as a service or Groovify (shut it down) it. At that point, they have the option of keeping the existing internal game studios, selling the IPs, or selling the unit as a whole with the IPs. I wouldn't mind seeing Sony buying the Gears IP, not really interested in any of Microsoft's other IPs.

Mattick just did what Microsoft management told him to do... cut costs... and da cloud. Most of the people of the people that made the real decisions still work for Microsoft. Microsoft is basically a 90%+ cloud/enterprise business at this point... really very few purely non-cloud consumer products left to be honest... all of it has been cut: Kinect, Band, Kin, Windows Phone (abandoned), Web TV, the Windows RT devices, Zune, etc, and even a good portion of their cloud based consumer products like Groove Music (formerly Xbox Music/Zune Music) and Games for Windows Live.
Satya really doesn't care about non-cloud products and probably doesn't care about Xbox unless its a pure cloud product.

Tko111131d ago

Yes they were there but he made the call. Just like phil is doing now.

MakoD31d ago (Edited 31d ago )

Not really, they are being told what to do.

Phil was told what to do.... the Xbox Division doesn't even exist anymore, all those personnel were moved to the Windows Division. Phil was told to get rid of the Xbox Store, move the Xbox games to the Microsoft Store and with it all the Xbox users over as well. This was done last year.

Its not their call.

Satya doesn't want to be a device guy, he is clearly a cloud guy.

MakoD31d ago (Edited 31d ago )

"Didn't MS just release the X?"

Yes, just like they were in the process of releasing the Microsoft Band 3.0, and they shutdown it and took all the Bands off the shelves. They would rather you download Xbox games on your Windows 10 PC. The thing people call Xboxes are just Xbox branded PCs with a different version of windows at this point. Xbox is a service.

The only thing Microsoft cares about is MAU (monthly active users), the problem there is the numbers are going sideways and down. Of course, the Microsoft Store is mostly for UWP apps, but that is a mobile framework, and Microsoft has more less abandoned that, the marketshare is now way below 1%.

Satya is the Cloud Man, not the Device Man. Really the only purely consumer product device they have right now is Xbox branded PCs, everything else is either dual usage with enterprise or cloud base... all of the following consumer services/products have gone the way of the dinosaur: Kinect, Band, Windows Phone (abandoned), Kin, Zune, Windows RT devices, Games for Windows Live, Groove, Web TV, etc.

There is no Xbox/PS fans thing... I have two original Xboxes and two Xbox 360s... as I type this on my Microsoft Surface.... as a consumer based products company... Microsoft is dead... it was obvious what the plan was 5+ years ago. My guess they will roll out a gaming streaming service, but if that doesn't work out... they close the whole thing because the MS Store is dead as far as UWP.

My guess the Microsoft Store ends up just like Games for Windows Live in due course. My guess Hololens will get the axe next, possible Cortana (on the services side) but its pretty apparent its been abandoned at this point, or limited resources put into it.

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yomfweeee32d ago

360 only ever had a lead on PS3 because of a 1 year head start.

Plus you seem to forget about the Wii who won overall. Microsoft finished in 3rd.

cigi31d ago

You are realy not god with logics are you. In just two sentences you contradict yourself. Yes 360 was ahead of Ps3 as you say, how can they then end in 3rd. They ended on the second place just as you wrote in your first sentence.

The argument - only because it had a head start is just stupid. Sony had the opertunity to put better hardware into the Ps3 because of waiting. It just was to difficult to program - hence multiplats looked better on Xbox. And they lost.

MakoD31d ago (Edited 31d ago )

The PS3 outsold the Xbox 360 over the lifetime of the product, but it was probably by only a few million units. Microsoft had the lead because they launched a year earlier in 2005, the PS3 launch a year later in 2006. This isn't very difficult. The cell processor was more difficult to deal with but if one invested the tools, a developer could get more out of the PS3 than the Xbox 360, which is why The Last of Us looked so great on the PS3. The cell was mostly a mistake which was being pushed company wide at the time.

At this point, Microsoft really doesn't want people to buy Xbox branded PCs (Xbox Ones), they would rather you just boot up your Windows 10 PC and download from the Microsoft Store and play on that. Microsoft really only cares about the cloud and getting MAU (monthly active users) up. The problem is, that isn't working as it pertains to Xbox and probably UWP as well.

Satya isn't the Hardware Guy, he is the Cloud Guy.

yomfweeee31d ago

Sorry, but I didn't make any contradictions and clearly you just don't understand.

360 was ahead of PS3 in global sales for many years because it was released earlier. In the end though, PS3 surpassed it and 360 ended up in third.

The argument isn't stupid, it is a fact. PS3 sold faster and if you align their launch dates, 360 would have never been in the lead.

denawayne31d ago

@MakoD - It still amazes me how many Sony fanboys wind up in Xbox articles.

"At this point, Microsoft really doesn't want people to buy Xbox branded PCs (Xbox Ones), they would rather you just boot up your Windows 10 PC and download from the Microsoft Store and play on that"

Didn't MS just release the X?

Professor_K31d ago

2nd. Lamp by the the time next Gen started the 360 was still in the lead by a million and remained ahead.

andibandit31d ago

Really who cares, MS should not even have been a contender.

by mid 2006
PS2 sales 103Million
Xbox 24Million

by the end of the next generation, they were equals, how is that a success for Sony?.

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Mister_Wolf31d ago

The Xbox One X isn't a comeback. It isn't even close to a comeback. Do you think the issue with the Xbox was that it didn't play 4K games? PS1 had less powerful hard compared to its competitors at the time, but it's the games which pulled it ahead. PS2 was the same. 360 was less powerful, even had the red ring bullshit. But it was games which pulled it ahead.

Xbox One X might be the most powerful right now, but by the time Microsoft pulls it's act together and first party picks up, people will be talking about next gen.

wobblypops4631d ago

So what happened to the PS3 and PS4 both systems had nothing for big exclusives for almost 2 years yet still sold. Further more the Xb1 launched with some big first party hitters as well as some third party exclusives I believe MS refered to it as "the perfect storm of Xbox games" and how did that work out for them? See your argument falls apart after the PS2 and that's because times have changed and you can thank PS fans and the games media for pushing power down our throats.

Also, exclusives only appeal to 2-3% of the PS4 user base facts don't lie look at the sales numbers of each exclusive and compare that to the supposed 70 million + PS4's out there. EXCLUSIVES DON'T SELL HARDWARE! At least not any more.

Professor_K31d ago

The PlayStation 1 was a fad lol. A lot of casuals bought it up because it was the cheapest DVD player bro. As for the games, publishers simply sided with PlayStation due to the cartridge problem.

nitus1031d ago


The PlayStation 1 was a CD player, not a DVD player.

The PS2 was a DVD and CD player.

The PS3 could play Bluray (BD), DVDs and CDs.

You are right about the cartridge problem (expensive and limited to 64MB) compared to the CD (cheaper and can hold up to 650MB.

Lokii31d ago

Ps3 beat the 360. What are you going on about?

UCForce31d ago (Edited 31d ago )

@Angainor7 But the problem is that is not troll ( I do believe these people do exist). It’s more about how MS have shift their direction and forget about console brand. Xbox One isn’t going to make a comeback like PS3 did. The reason PS3 made a comeback because Sony didn’t forget about console brand and was willing to do anything to fight back. So Sony did.

rainslacker31d ago (Edited 31d ago )

Despite Mattricks casual kinect focus towards the end of the gen, the man actually did deliver on his promises, and managed to keep the Xbox 360 relevant in the market for his time managing it.

Spencer OTOH, has made a lot of promises that havent' actually materilized. He panders more than he delivers, and that is why I don't liken him to Don Mattrick at all. Mattrick was unapoligetic with his vision, Spencer makes excuses and can't even really state what his actual vision is. A recent interview with Venture Beat though actually did put it more concisely the vision that MS has for Xbox. It's that Xbox isn't going to be all about the hardware, rather that MS is going to work to try and become a forerunner within the gaming industry. This focus does include software releases, but Spencer was talking about the billion gamers that exist within the world. Those billion gamers are not on console hardware....even when looked at cumulatively. They're on consoles, mobile, arcade, and PC. MS wants it's products to be used to make games(DirectX), and they want their services to be used for these games(Azure). They want their platforms to be thought of as a place to play games(Windows, Xbox). MS has a grand vision which Spencer talked about, which means nothing for the X1 right now. Sorry, but the X1 gen is a bust or MS. They made money, but for the consumer, they have driven their software portfolio into the ground, only to have to build it up and work extra hard to actually gain the recognition that they gained during the first half of the 360 gen.

I find it really sad that I actually think that Mattrick did a better job than least up until they revealed the X1. Despite Mattricks flaws though, he made his vision clear, and stood by it as long as he could. He obviously had to succumb to consumer pressure, but he held strong for longer than he should.....for better or worse. Despite what I think of Mattrick, I at least could take him for his word.

I said a while ago that MS was looking to change Xbox to a service. The recent interview with Spencer pretty much affirmed I was right. Xbox fan boys won't see it, because they only see Xbox as the hardware, and now a bit as the PC/Windows. Xbox is changing. The hardware may not be going anywhere, but MS vision certainly has least in terms of how to achieve their goals.

MS will probably have one last hoorah in the next couple years where they'll finally have some good years of software releases. But that doesn't remove the fact that they haven't been trying to remedy their biggest criticism for the past three years up until recently. With MS having cancelled several games last year, it's readily apparent that MS didn't have much left in reserve. MS front loaded the gen, and came up short for the rest of the gen.

Professor_K31d ago (Edited 31d ago )

Lower specs? Pffft lmao the ps3 may have been more powerful than the 360 ON PAPER but half of it was usable and half was shovelware. Making its hardware advantages obsolite.Not to mention the ridiculous freaking price.

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PhoenixUp32d ago

“The only way Microsoft can deal with that is to keep making great games. And Booty is now in charge of that.”

I just love this statement on so many levels 😁

“We’re one of the few teams that has publishing relationships with Sony and Nintendo, which adds some complexity.”

Yeah it’s quite peculiar that a Microsoft owned dev team like Mojang has relations with the competition. It’s a strange thing to behold, even when you understand why it naturally is the way it is.

“More to the point, it’s going to be helping expose the studios to what’s unique and innovative in each of our studios. Maybe we can get some cross-pollination and shared learning there.”

You rarely see the Microsoft dev teams having some sort of comraderie the same way the teams in SIE Worldwide Studios tend to do.

“I’m not deaf to the meme out there regarding our content and our need to invest more.”

It’s more than just a meme Spencer. Microsoft cut first party support for Xbox 360 in its latter years to focus on its successor and your company allegedly spent $1 billion on exclusive support in 2013. How dafuq can you say you’re not deaf when your company still comes up short coming off XO’s 4th year?

“The various studio executives will report to Booty”

Tee hee

32d ago Replies(1)
DiRtY32d ago

, not gaming related, but I always get redirected from N4G to some strange websites telling me I just won a new iPhone.

Do something about it!

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