Phil Spencer: We shouldn't have sugar-coated the Xbox One controversy

Speaking at the SXSW Gaming Expo 2014 in Austin, Texas, Microsoft's Phil Spencer has conceded that Microsoft's Xbox One messaging across the May 2013 reveal event and E3 2013 could have been handled better. Spencer is adamant, however, that all of it came from a good place - Totalxbox

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stuna11706d ago (Edited 1706d ago )

Woof tickets being sold! An apology after the fact is not my idea of owning up to a mistake! The fact that a truth comes out before an acknowledgement is in all case in point leaving the person or entity withholding the truth, no other course of action!

To put it simply; Microsoft has been forced to tell the truth.

MightyNoX1706d ago

I don't consider it an apology more of a 'sleight of hand'. I don't consider telling people that they were 'too primitive' for Microsoft's vision to be sugar-coating. It was straight up offensive.

Phil's just trying to repair the damage. The market's rejected their vision and tonight's NPD should be proof of that.

White-Knight1706d ago

They should just fix the problems they have with their console.
I don't want publicity on my console.

-Foxtrot1706d ago (Edited 1706d ago )

The thing about Phil, is that most people are praising what he's saying lately but all he's doing is telling people what they WANT to hear because, as you've already said, to repair the's his job.

I've never know Phil to be like this before the Xbox One reveal. Every article it's the same thing, at least when you have someone like Iwata, Mark Cerny or a developer in general talking it's because they are either talking about something relevant or because articles have spilt up the interview into tiny bits.

Charybdis1706d ago

@MightyNoX: wow did Microsoft really said that people were just 'too primitive', that just offensive. They really should act more professional.

Don't believe that name-calling should be part of what he said: "It's better to just be direct and honest."

darthv721706d ago

The road to redemption starts with a first step. The admission of a problem.

The next step is fixing the problem.

If there is genuine effort made to right the wrong then it certainly helps as well.

Septic1706d ago

Firstly, this is old news and we already have this interview up the other day.

Secondly, he was quite frank and admitted that what they did was wrong. So yes he is trying to 'repair the damage'. What do you want him to do? Let the wound get bigger and bigger?

"at least when you have someone like Iwata, Mark Cerny or a developer in general talking it's because they are either talking about something relevant"

You think Sony don't pander to the masses with hyperbole? Let's all burn Spencer at the stake before letting him deliver on what he's saying. Also, he was responding to a question posed by him. You want him to sit there and just be quiet?

"To put it simply; Microsoft has been forced to tell the truth."

You guys here are talking about woof tickets being sold but the kind of sensationalist nonsense you're putting out is of less substance than his response.

Phil Spencer says:

**when you're going to say something to a consumer that might put them off, it's better to just be direct and honest, rather than trying to sugar-coat something that might be controversial.**

Yet somehow, you lot have turn this into a negative whilst simultaneously lapping up every bit of hyperbole that comes out of 'your' camp.

TheTwelve1706d ago

Phil has been all about damage control 24/7

darthv721706d ago

God DAMN Im old. I actually had to wiki "woof tickets" to understand the reference.

What the hell happened to speaking with clarity?

-Foxtrot1706d ago (Edited 1706d ago )


"Secondly, he was quite frank and admitted that what they did was wrong. So yes he is trying to 'repair the damage'. What do you want him to do? Let the wound get bigger and bigger?"

The problem is it's took him, just him by the way, until NOW to "admit" it which comes across as him ONLY saying it because of the lower sales the Xbox One has and because of more people jumping onto the PS4 boat. As I've said it's what people "want" to hear.

"You think Sony don't pander to the masses with hyperbole?"

Not as bad as MS, hell even Nintendo can admit some mistakes when they want to.

"Let's all burn Spencer at the stake before letting him deliver on what he's saying"

We aren't "burning him at the stake", stop being so bloody dramatic all the time. We're just pointing out how he's only saying crap like this to sucker up to the "gaming" community the company he works for tried to screw over. It's his job...that's all. As I've said it's taken him until NOW to admit Microsoft s mistakes which comes across as he's only saying it because he has to.

When you had the PS3 hack did it take Sony almost a year to get on a conference stage, bow and it didn't. What about when the PS3 had a rough start and they were a little arrogant, they bucked up their ideas, turned things around and it's why each year with the PS3 got better for them.

"Yet somehow, you lot have turn this into a negative whilst simultaneously lapping up every bit of hyperbole that comes out of 'your' camp"



It's only being turned into a negative because we can see right through him, he's doing it because it's HIS JOB. Where was this sort of "for the gamers" attitude last year.....oh yeah it's because Microsoft didn't see the sales numbers for the Xbox One.

What will happen is that they'll do this sort of crap until they've sold more Xbox Ones, it will look like they've turned things around and then BAM...they are right back to what they were like...all because they've gained more sales/money and got a larger install base.

'your' camp"

Oh here we go...because we are all in a camp. If you are going to call people fanboys just bloody say it.

Some people are, some aren't...don't group everyone criticizing a fanboy. I'm a gamer at heart, I like the Xbox games, I just don't like Microsoft's slimy attitude which comes off anti consumer. Are people in the wrong for being like that after what they did?

lolCHILLbro1706d ago (Edited 1706d ago )

protip if your gonna do something like always online dont spend most of your time telling people what they cant do, (lend, trade in) and tell them what they can do (no need to swap discs, FAMILY SHARING Etc.)

FITgamer1706d ago (Edited 1706d ago )

@lolChillbro Did you seriously just copy and paste someone else's comment?

OT: At least he realizes their error, hopefully this means less BS and more being straight forward with consumers in the future.

DevilOgreFish1706d ago (Edited 1706d ago )

darthv72 - "The road to redemption starts with a first step. The admission of a problem.

The next step is fixing the problem.

Games, that's how you fix a problem with any console. the number one reason why you buy a console is for the exclusives.

more exclusive deals please.

UnholyLight1706d ago


It's no use, the people of N4G will never listen to sense.


Actually Phil has been saying this in many interviews a long time ago. The interview with Adam Sessler? Wasn't that like 2 months ago?

Septic1706d ago (Edited 1706d ago )

"As I've said it's what people "want" to hear"

People want to hear that and he's saying it. Does it make it any less true? Or disingenuous even? It doesn't, not at this stage anyway. That's my point.

""You think Sony don't pander to the masses with hyperbole?"

**Not as bad as MS, hell even Nintendo can admit some mistakes when they want to.**

I disagree. I think Sony have, through their dire financial straits struck the magic chord with gamers (for obviously getting things right plus the dynamics within the core gaming community manifesting themselves as they have this gen) but also jumping on the fanboy glory bandwagon, as they get carried by them. Look at Andrew House and his cheap jab at MS as he smirked away at Gamescom, pandering to the masses. Everyone lapped it up. He was right, of course in what he said. But it was essentially just a transparent attempt at emotionally masturbating the gaming community.

" stop being so bloody dramatic all the time."

I cannot believe YOU have said this to me lol. Any dramatics on my part are a reflection of the responses of others. Overly dramatic, instantly dismissive, negative conflict approach mentality that has become a precedent among those who spew out the same vitriol over and over again.

"Where was this sort of "for the gamers" attitude last year....."

Maybe its down to what he Spencer said here:

" where I thought our messaging around what we believed in was confused"

"If you are going to call people fanboys just bloody say it. "

Yeah I can't as much as I want to (for reasons I can let you hazard a guess at).

"Some people are, some aren't...don't group everyone criticizing a fanboy".

Yeah but look at the people commenting on here. Their comment history doesn't exactly show rationale or objectivity or constructive criticism.

"I've never know Phil to be like this before the Xbox One reveal".

What about immediately afterwards at last year's E3. He seemed to be very passionate about studios and the games. Is that all an act too? If you're going to say yes, then the same should be said about Shahid Ahmad.

xHeavYx1706d ago (Edited 1706d ago )

The more MS talks about the issue, the more fuel they add to the fire

I would stop talking about what happened months ago. We all know how "sorry" they are by now, time to leave what happened in the past and move forward

Nocando1706d ago

So if you were in MS's shoes, how would you handle their situation from here?

DigitalRaptor1706d ago (Edited 1706d ago )

I agree with Foxtrot, in response to Septic.

Does my really looking forward to Quantum Break make me a fanboy?

I like and have enjoyed playing Xbox games, but that doesn't stop Microsoft from being a slimy, despicable corporation that has made far too many anti-consumer decisions for me to even think about supporting them. Me enjoying some of the games they have put out doesn't stop me from exposing their BS and their continued deception. Microsoft NEEDED this boot up their backside, and still need it, cause like Foxtrot said, Microsoft were ready and willing to screw over every single one of us, damage the industry as we know it, and if people weren't so receptive to it, gaming would be F**KED. Years and years of conscious planning went into something that damaging. Them making disguised apologies, a year later from a single person in the company means nothing, because Phil would still be right behind it all, if consumers hadn't spoken out and told THEM what we want, rather than them telling US.

Just because you are able to get past anti-consumerism Septic, doesn't mean we all can also support such disgraceful policies, attitudes, and decisions, all in the name of $$$.

Septic1706d ago


"Just because you are able to get past anti-consumerism Septic, doesn't mean we all can also support such disgraceful policies, attitudes, and decisions, all in the name of $$$."

What? Man, how does that even come into what I'm saying here. I'm just saying that, he's responding to a question posed by him and he's acknowledging the mistakes MS made.

Anyway, never mind. Let's agree to disagree. There's no point arguing over this. I just think people need to chill and be level-headed.

Gozer1706d ago

I don't think Phil Spencer should have to apologize for the mistakes Don Mattrick made. As for fixing their mistake, MS has already gotten rid of the guy who wanted the DRM issues, and completely gotten rid of the DRM policy. I don't think MS needs to do anything else. Sony had the same situation last gen with Ken Kutaragi and the ps3. If the ps3 can overcome its bad image at the start, the X1 can overcome its bad press. The product will sell itself, all MS needs to do is keep the games coming, and market the X1 as an all in one device, and once people see how useful the X1 is it will sell fine.

RumbleFish1706d ago

"gamers buy consoles for games, not press events."

He is absolutely right, and he can now witness, what console customers buy for games.

Pogmathoin1706d ago

Foxtrot, I agree... Too little too late I guess will sum it up. The damage is done, self inflicted, and I do not like how MS turned Xbox into a negative brand. However I do like X1, the games and its multimedia features. What happened was wrong, but the reaction of some people has gone way beyond reasonable. The constant push of hatred, and please do not go back in the PS3 launch was the same, 2 wrongs do not make a right, this place has become very toxic. Fpx, you know yourself, you have made some very good commentss, valid and got slaughtered for them. People here need tp step back, and hope to see Nintendo, MS and Sony to succeed, and do it really good. Its the best way to see them push the envelope, and innovate. Otherwise, a dominant console would just sit back and watch the mone roll in.... Which MS assumed would happen, and Sony after PS2, Wii after a few years....

Darrius Cole1706d ago

What's the "right way" for you wife to tell you she is screwing somebody else?

Would it be any better if she just came right out and told you that your 5 year-old son was fathered by someone else and wasn't really your son at all?

Some things are not about how they were said. They are about the underlying fact, period.

The way the Xbone was received had nothing to do with the way Microsoft communicated with the fans. It was all about the underlying truth. Microsoft was going to take our money and give us nothing in return; on top of that, they were going to charge us $100 more than the competition.

They could have said that directly or they could have had angels whisper it to us in our sleep...the reaction would have been the same.

UltraNova1706d ago (Edited 1706d ago )

I believe its too late for MS to remove the bad stigma from the xb1.

No matter how many apologies and consumer friendly decisions they make this round people will always see MS's products as Trojan horses to their real goals and mindset.

Its really sad cause I know so many people who had/have so many great times with the XBox (me included)being so alienated because of corporate megalomaniac greed.

jebabcock1706d ago

another Phil Says article. yay...

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SteamPowered1706d ago

*Wolf tickets, there chief. Dont make the 209 come down on ya.

malokevi1706d ago

I didn't hear an apology. I heard an admission of error. Don't see a problem with it, personally. But, I never did.

I'm in this for the games, not the controversy.

Mr Pumblechook1706d ago

Is it Phil Spencer week on N4G?

gamertk4211706d ago (Edited 1706d ago )

@stuna. Why would someone apologize before the fact? The whole premise of an apology is resolving turmoil brought about by one's words or actions. Is it conceivable that, hindsight being 20/20, MS would have done things totally different if they could rewind? Methinks you take things a bit personal.

stuna11706d ago

Example: You break your mothers Vase, there are two actions you can take!

1) After breaking the Vase, you sweep it up and throw it in the trash, but with the explicit knowledge that you broke it and, at some point your mother is going to notice it's missing!


2) After breaking your mothers Vase, you are forthcoming and apologetic and, you come right out and tell her, before she even realizes that you broke it!

The situation speaks of a persons/business ethics!

In response of your question; which out of those examples was the course of action Microsoft took!?

r2oB1706d ago

@ gamertk421

I'm sorry for what I'm about to say... But you are wrong. See what I did there?

TheRedButterfly1706d ago

So, by your definition, the only apology that owns up to a mistake is one that is presented before the mistake takes place?

Hicken1706d ago

No, it's one that doesn't have to be forced out of a person, as this is, in essence.

The original mistake was at the reveal, or at least started then. Rather than own up to it, they perpetuated it, trying to justify it in whatever means they thought people would accept. Phil's really the only person I've heard apologize for what was said and done prior to all that, and it IS a little late, at this point.

ebreda1706d ago

So, exactly like Sony's suits apologizing for the PSN hack 3 years ago?

r2oB1706d ago

Is apologizing a month after a mistake exactly like apologizing several months afterwards? Is a mistake caused by others (PSN getting hacked by others) exactly like a mistake cause by yourself (willful intent to release anti consumer policies despite consumer backlash, only to backpedal after seeing lopsided pre order figures)? Do you know what exactly means?

nukeitall1706d ago

No, the difference is MS through their ignorance didn't realize what consumers wanted and assumed everybody would understand their vision.

Sony on the other hand willfully ignored lax security, using unpatched software that is common to fix security issues and had more than 70 million people's information get into the hands of hackers.

For all of that, they said sorry and gave you a free month of PS+. Gamers rejoice!

rdgneoz31706d ago

"For all of that, they said sorry and gave you a free month of PS+. Gamers rejoice!"

And I believe a free year of credit checks.

Rhythmattic1706d ago (Edited 1706d ago )


And a few free games....

Little Big Planet
Dead Nation
Wipeout HD + Fury
Super Stardust HD

And to add, I wasn't originally interested in the inFAMOUS IP...
Then I got the first instalment as a freebie.... Funny as I would of missed it otherwise....

A Brilliant Franchise....
Ah .... Mysterious ways..........
----------------------------- -----
Now Back to the point at hand.

Its early days, MS have not forgotten and its gaming audience has not Forgiven....
Its a work in progress.... Nothing wrong with that....
As for me, Im going to wait out the poo-storm and comment when sober........

r2oB1706d ago

@ nukeitall

Your full of BS. You are going to sit here and say Microsoft did not realize what everyone wanted when before they officially announce the policies there was so much backlash from consumers. When it was leaked and when the whole Adam Orth fiasco happened, Microsoft could have taken that opportunity to realize what gamers wanted and back pedal before the official announcement. But they saw fit to continue to try and shaft gamers with backward policies, and only when they where getting obliterated in pre order figures did they decide to back pedal. And even when they back pedal they spun it as if consumers weren't ready for their vision, not that we did not want it, but we were not ready. Only a fool could not see that their back handed apology was more like an insult.

Oh, your hyperbole regarding the PSN hack is laughable. "Willfully ignored lax security" lol. Do you not get tired at grasping for straws? Please tell me of all the information that was stolen from the PSN hack, how many known accounts of malicious acts are there? I'll wait for the links.

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ITPython1706d ago

This is essentially the same thing as a criminal who got caught and is only apologizing because they fear going to jail, not because they are sorry for what they did.

MS is only sorry for their lack of success, they don't care one bit about how they were trying to screw over their customers and the gaming industry as a whole.

gamerz1706d ago

Exactly. They arrogantly ignored everyone who disagreed with their horrible 'vision' and treated us with disrespect and disdain.

*Nothing* changed until the Amazon pre-orders showed we weren't fooled by their money-grabbing attempt raise prices and take a cut of everything.

They still don't give a rats ass about games or gamers and wish we all would just shut up and let them raise prices, spy and market us to death.

We didn't buy it then and we certainly don't now.

MaxwellBuddha1706d ago

I'm still waiting for an apology for the Forza downgrade.

AgitatedOcelot1705d ago

Pretty soon you'll have brand new fake E3 demos to anticipate waiting for an apology for!

Are you excited yet? I know I am.

Azzanation1706d ago

Don't know where your getting Truth from. MS never lied in fact they tell there consumers everything. Unlike Sony who have the same plans yet hide and don't tell anybody. Don't be Thick and Blind. Sony now charge for 2 subscriptions, They had the PS Camera included with every PS4 box, They stated Killzone SF was 1080p/60 frames, They have future DRM, They haven't told us why they got rid of Amy Hennig from NG. There's a lot Sony are hiding from there consumers.

If there's any company I trust its Microsoft, because there out-front with everything.

kenshiro1001706d ago

They're out front?


Then what about the XB360 fiasco? What about now?

Azzanation1706d ago


What are you talking about 360? Please explain so I can understand and reply to your comment?

rdgneoz31706d ago

@ Azzanation Probably talking about all the RROD crap at the beginning.

Kivespussi1706d ago

There's more to MS than what they've done with the Xbox division. Remember what they did to Nokia? It cost 15k jobs and the 'national pride' to Finland. (which is a HUGE amount for a country so small)

It's true that Sony could've had DRM at the beginning. But there's no proof to that so so far it's only fanboy speculation.
Point being even though sony and MS both have done some questionable moves, it's still way more obvious that MS is in the industry for the money and nothing else. And to get that money they are willing to do fairly much anything. Even including super accurate kinect only because that way they can milk some more cash through ads. (Say five great AAA games that even use kinect aside from voice recognition)

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N2NOther1706d ago

Uhm, an apology can only be given after the fact and it pretty much is exactly owning up to a mistake.

Not arguing any of your other points though.

rdgneoz31706d ago

So apologizing almost a year later is the same as apologizing right after the fact? Try that on a gf/wife and see how that goes...

r2oB1706d ago

Not sure why there are so many people in this thread saying that an apology can only be given after the fact, when in fact that is false. An apology can be given before the fact, its usually lead with... "I'm sorry for what I'm about to do".

N2NOther1706d ago


Who said "right" after the fact?

TheSaint1706d ago

And you're just learning this now MS?

asmith23061706d ago

Yeah, f**k MS. After all that anti consumer bullsh!t at E3 they are never getting my money again.

Mister_Dawg1706d ago

Hold on there pal.
Forced to tell the truth. They didn't lie!
They told us what was going to happen with XB1 at the reveal and then loads of people complained. I not being one of them!

So he's acknowledged that the direction they wanted to take wasn't what many consumers wanted. He's acknowledged that MS message was very confusing and people, quite rightly, got uptight and didn't like what they were hearing.

So he has apologised for that and is trying his best to make amends for the poor showing last year.

So please, quit the amateur dramatics and play the games.

r2oB1706d ago

When you say they didn't lie, do you mean about something specific or in general? Because I recall them lying about always on not being able to be "switched off". They also lied about Kinect being necessary for the console to function. They also lied about the power difference prior to launch (stating the One is as powerful as the PS4). Did they lie about the cloud increasing the power of the console?

Mister_Dawg1706d ago


The always online as they wanted it run, required the checking in with MS every 24 hours, not being always online. For what they were trying to do with digital sharing, I fully understand this need to counter any piracy.

Kinect being necessary is to make developers know they have the same system to work with and produce experiences that you will NEVER see on PS4.

Power difference you say. I have yet to see a better console game than Ryse. Which is on the weaker system. So tell me. On paper, the PS4 is more powerful. Yet why do the games not show this?

And your last sentence is a waste of space.

Good day.

AgitatedOcelot1705d ago (Edited 1705d ago )

They told you the Xbox was going to be 10x more powerful with the all mystical and amazing cloud. Would you characterize that as a fib? exaggeration? Or do you still believe a 10Mbps capped comcast connection is going to take you to a level above a $6000 gaming pc very soon?

They also told you it was the most powerful console known to man, that kinect would work butter smooth and flawless all the time, and that they used esram for balance rather than because they wanted to use cheap ddr3 ram.

If they want to stop sugar coating things for real, they are going to have to come out and say look, we have the slower, clunkier, more expensive console, and we plan to try to make you buy it by paying off game developers for exclusives, and dangling halo over your heads. And realistically we know you're going to buy it because so many of you bought 6 consoles in a row that stacked up like dominoes as they all keeled over from the RROD.

Oh and by the way we plan to keep making you pay a monthly fee for basic features like netflix.

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christocolus1706d ago (Edited 1706d ago )

Yeah, they probably shouldnt have sugar coated anything, the mixed messaging and bad pr didnt help either, but i believe the path Phils taking now will help get them back on the right may be their competition but theres no doubt ms could learn a few things from their approach to games and their audience.Im actually happy with the fact that they seem to have realised this sooner rather than later..signs of good things to come...

Great job Phil.

WeAreLegion1706d ago

Agreed. Humility goes a long way. Everyone needs a good shake-up every once in awhile. Oh, man... I'm about to go to lunch. I wonder if anyone around here makes shake-ups.

Rainstorm811706d ago (Edited 1706d ago ) u agree with ANYTHING Microsoft guys say?

Good or Bad you are always championing what they say....sad to see

OT: Nearly a year later and NOW they are feeling regrets? PS4 sales must be getting to them

cleft51706d ago

They are getting outsold like 2 to 1 I believe. So yeah, they are all apologetic now, but had they got away with what they planned they would not be apologizing for anything. This is just more damage control.

hankmoody1706d ago

How is five months nearly a year? And why is it that you can't give the guy credit for admitting that they screwed up in terms of communication? If anything, I think it's more sad that you can't give the guy a benefit of a doubt when he's out there in public making (or at least trying to) amends. Hell, even I can't deny that they came off like jerks at first so it's not like I'm here defending their words but to me, it looks like they're making a sincere effort to right their wrongs so in that respect, I can give the guy a little credit.

stuna11706d ago

What's really quite funny to think about is the fact that if 1) Microsoft hadn't changed their policies I don't think the Xbox1 would have crossed the 3 million consoles sold threshold yet and 2) If Microsoft had come out the gate slaughtering the PS4 sales what would Microsoft be saying they had handle wrong!?

If anything Microsoft supporter would be feeling the sting of Microsoft whips across their backsides.

christocolus1706d ago (Edited 1706d ago )

I agree with Phil. Yeah i do.i respect the guy too.He is always on point and besides i dont see anything wrong with his comment here. He commends sony and N on their approach to gaming, admits the problems which other execs wouldnt admit and he communicates more with xbx fans via social media now and actively working on securing content for the console.. He is honestly doing his best whats there not to like about the guy?i follow him on twitter, he always replies my tweets and that of others i know. His responses arent just for PR the guy is turning things around...i.e his interview with GK has been getting real positive feedback online and this is mostly due to his straightforward and candid answers to the questions he was asked by GK.

Dude i dont hold grudges or carry fanboy bias with me where ever i go...its a narrow minded approach and i cant help it if a certain faction of gamers do that..its your own way of thinking. Im happy with the guy and his direction, im happy with the xbox one too. i'll agree with him as long as what he says and does remains on point.

spicelicka1706d ago

Umm I don't know if u r reading the same thing as me but he clearly disagreed with MS in half of his paragraph, seems like u only picked up things that could support your comment.

Rainstorm811706d ago

Uh @hank did u read the article....Spencer is referring to the May 2013 x1 unveil.... Hence nearly a year

Also why give credit when this could've been said in May...or in June after E3.....or prior to the X1 launch.......Not after they see themselves behind in territories they owned last gen, that makes it seem a bit disingenous.

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XiSasukeUchiha1706d ago (Edited 1706d ago )

Sugar coating would of have made the difference in the first place after all these ideas that they put on last year it's was dude for controversy.