Microsoft adds its gaming chief to its Senior Leadership Team | ZDNet

Microsoft's Phil Spencer, now an Executive Vice President, is becoming part of the company's inner circle of advisers, in a move signaling the growing importance of gaming to the company.

Zeref2202d ago (Edited 2202d ago )

So can we finally put those Xbox spinoff ridiculousness to rest?


This is huge news. This shows Microsoft really values Xbox, it's their only big consumer focused product after all. And now Phil can push for a bigger budget for the Xbox team. But this also means that Windows 10 gaming will get a big push as well. This might mean we will see no more Xbox Exclusive games from here on out as was hinted at before. Microsoft exclusives are now their thing. This is good news as long as they are making more big budget first party games.

Rumor has it that their Surface Phone will have a big gaming focus as well.

darthv722202d ago

I'd like to see him take and make xbox it's own entity like Sony did with playstation. Meaning they would be allowed to stand on their own with making decisions on gaming budgets and working deals to ensure the growth and profitability of the brand.

this is a good first step to maybe having that happen.

meka26112202d ago

Exactly, company has enough money to buy almost every game exclusive but like you said, they don't have the budget for it.

Zeref2202d ago (Edited 2202d ago )

They are still under the Windows and Devices unit. Which is a good thing IMO.
That's how we got cool features like instant broadcasting,Xbox app and the Xbox streaming built-in Windows 10.They should keep working together to make PC gaming on Windows better. There are also rumors of the Xbox UI coming to PC kinda like Steam big picture mode. The Surface team which is also obviously under the W&D unit had a big influence in the design of the Xbox One S and X. They are masters of thermals. Which is why the Xbox One X is so small.

So IMO they should keep working together like that. Maybe we'll see Xbox pushing the Surface Phone as an Xbox Handheld next year.

Tko11112202d ago

hell no. I have been able to play most all my xbox exclusives in 4k for some time (PC 1080card) now and that's because xbox is not a system but a brand like Netflix. Most gamers still want the old days of only on one platform I think the next best thing is to have a xbox capable surface book or surface. This will allow xbox to fight against mobile and switch.

Eonjay2202d ago

So if he is in charge of all devices, who will be the new head of the Xbox division reporting to Phil?

LandoCalrissiano2202d ago

Zeref, I didn't know that. That's cool. I really like and use those features.

2202d ago
Obscure_Observer2201d ago

Congrats Phil! You've been doing a great job at Xbox! So much for the those who want to see you gone! ;)

+ Show (4) more repliesLast reply 2201d ago
Nyxus2202d ago

I hope you're right, it would be great if the Xbox division would have more budget to work with and invest in studios and new IPs.

lxeasy2202d ago (Edited 2202d ago )

I hope Phil can convince Microsoft to invest more money into Xbox so that they can build more first party studios.
Yeah they have 343, the coalition, Rare, Turn 10 (i'm sure there are more I forgot) but when you compare it to Nintendo and Sony its quite a difference. And it's showing now more than ever this gen.

rainslacker2202d ago (Edited 2202d ago )

It's huge news to me because I don't think he's done anything to really deserve the position. He hasn't grown the brand. All he can do is PR his way out of the mess that he came into, and IMO, has done nothing to actually make the mess go away. Xbox is on the decline from a hardware sales perspective, and it's own 1st party development is in the worst shape Xbox has ever had in it's entire history.

On the flip side, Xbox was probably better off as a part of it's own division, instead of being controlled by a corporate board room. At least then, someone could have been appointed that could make a vision that could be expressed to the consumer. This move may signify MS commitment to gaming, but MS itself hasn't shown that they have any vision for the brand itself. If anything, this just makes me think that Xbox is going to be assimilated more into Windows, and if Xbox becomes supplemental to Windows by becoming nothing more than a service of Windows, then Xbox further falls into irrelevance in the console market.

I have no doubt that MS wants to be part of the gaming space. There is just too much money, and too much control for them to ignore it. What I don't see is what MS plans for the future are, which means it makes it impossible to know if what they want to do is good for gaming, or the consumer. Since I'm past the point of giving MS the benefit of the doubt, I'm still going to be in a wait and see before I assume that this move for Spencer signifies anything at all, because most of the positive assumption lobbed towards Spencer just hasn't turned out that great to date.


That's unlikely to happen with his current position. He wouldn't have that much control, and that would require substantial investor input and voting. Plus, he has done nothing to prove he could run that company well enough to actually make sure it'd succeed.

In any case, the reason PS is part of a subsidiary of Sony(originally SCE, now SIE) is because of how the PS first came into existence. Sony proper didn't want to follow through with the PS1 after the Nintendo fallout, so it was taken to SCE, a company that ran independent of Sony despite being owned by them, and it was green lit. It stayed there, and ultimately, because a much more significant part of the company.

Overall, there is no real reason to spin it off. Such a thing would be disruptive, and ultimately, not change anything outside of how the books are reported, and taxation. The board can still influence the direction of the subsidiary, although the subsidiary is given it's own budget to operate with for a set time frame, where they can do what they want....within reason.

It's also worth pointing out that making it into a subsidiary is about all that was being talked about when they were talking about spinning off Xbox. It wasn't the end of Xbox like some said. I know you weren't saying spinning off would be bad, just pointing it out to others.

Zeref2202d ago (Edited 2202d ago )

In your opinion.

I see what Phil has done with Xbox through the things he has done with the hardware and software. Xbox gaming experience is amazing. Xbox One S and Xbox One X are awesome. Xbox Play Anywhere, Xbox Game Pass, EA Access, Backwards compatibility(would love for this to come to windows 10 too).
He said he wanted to fix the hardware and software, he did with Xbox One X and the software part. And he said now that that's fixed First Party Games are next. And I trust him. He has only been head for 3 years. Big games take at least 3-5 years to make. And he said he doesn't want to reveal games that wont be out by the next E3. So I say if next year at E3 we don't see awesome Exclusive games then it's time to question his leadership when it comes to delivering games.

rainslacker2202d ago

So, he's made it more like Windows?

He's copied Sony's Cross play and implemented a working solution?

He's found a competitor to PSNow or EA Access, and came up with a working solution?

BC started before he took over. IT was announced and released way too soon after he took over for him to have been responsible for that.

Sorry, but I can't give him much credit when the game output of MS has decreased to it's lowest level ever. Not just in recent memory, but in the entire history of Xbox. MS had more games releasing before they even entered the console market. That's how far backwards MS has moved.

I wish I could believe that first party games being fixed is next. Means in the next 3-4 years we might start seeing more to be excited about.

To me though, that writing was on the wall a long time ago, and they should have gotten on that a long time ago. People hated his predecessors, but at least when the X1 came out, they had a slew of games to actually deliver, and plenty to look forward to.

If it's going to take 3-5 years to see some improvement from the games from MS, what's the point of X1X? Why bother right now? It just means the X1X is to distract from the fact their games output is diminishing.

They claimed to have one billion invested in new game development. What do they have to show for it almost 4 years later? Certainly not a billion dollars worth of content.

I'm done waiting for the next E3. To me, MS doesn't deserve a 3rd, now 4th, or more chances to prove their worth. They have all the time in the world to talk about X1X apparently. Maybe they could allocate some of that to showing off what might actually get people excited for their console for the long term.

ShottyatLaw2202d ago

Whether you believe him or not, Spencer stated that BC started almost as soon as he took over. It released almost 1 1/2 years later. That doesn't seem too soon to me.

You discredit things like Game Pass, but how is that different than the incremental steps taken by EA or Sony? Sony bought the streaming tech and implemented a working solution for their console. EA introduced Access based on models seen elsewhere, too. Game Pass made another positive step forward.

I understand their lack of exclusives seemingly steals the headlines, but I'm convinced that Spencer's internal pitch has been to balance the budget, so to speak. I believe he's trying to move the brand forward without taking the losses. They're tightening the belt on 3rd party deals in particular. That's where Sony crushes them in 2017.

But let's not forget that technically Xbox has spent more money acquiring studios this gen than anyone else. The Mojang purchase cost more in a single transaction than any studio acquisition in my memory. It's hard to go to your boss after spending 2.5 billion and ask for more checks.

You can downplay what they've done, but Play Anywhere is a good value to consumers, so is BC. Cross play is a good thing, as is dedicated servers for paid online.

They're not perfect, but they haven't been making missteps lately.

In a few months, someone could legitimately argue that they've got the best hardware, the best online, the best controller, the best quality of life services, and the best media services. It's subjective, sure, but they couldn't say that in 2013. Now they have to throw their efforts and money behind games to build their library even more. It's definitely not as dire as you put it.

Zeref2202d ago (Edited 2202d ago )

If he has been head for 3 years then technically we should see his games at the next E3. That is what I meant.

not gonna react to your other comments, others already addressed it.

rainslacker2201d ago


I'd like to see a link to spencer stating he started BC as soon as he took over.

It wasn't a year and a half. It was 15 months. I in no way believe that a fully implemented, tested, ready to release, and already supported emulator by third party was created and released in 15 months Software development doesn't happen that fast. Sorry, but I've been in software development long enough to know that even the genius engineers at MS(and they are very skilled), with all the available resources to know exactly what needed to be done, could somehow be completed in that amount of time, and be released in a manner that had as much support as it did. This means that to get the support, they'd have had this created, tested, and rolled out to developers in less than a years time. At best, this was a feature that got shelved and he restarted it, which would be OK, and he should be given props for that, but if his comment was made, then that's obviously not the case.

Sorry, it doesn't add up.

I don't discredit Game Pass. I give him credit for implementing it, but it's just MS following others. Not really that compelling evidence he's done something worth of a promotion to his current position. I'm not discussing the merits or appeal of the service, just the actual reason why it should be considered to be worthy of promotion. Is MS a follower or an innovator?

If Spencers internal pitch is to balance the budget, then I'd say that isn't going to bode well as his current use of an apparently bloated budget isn't exactly compelling.

MS spent an ungodly amount of money on Minecraft. The Xbox division didn't. Spencer wasn't in charge of that. The Games division may have been given control of making new content for it, but that game is still controlled by MS, and it was MS itself that brought it, not Xbox. Just because they spent a lot of money doesn't mean they spent it wisely...or rather, that money spent doesn't equal more games. Just means they spent a lot of money on Minecraft. What other studios have they brought?

I don't downplay play anywhere, but it's like game pass. It's following someone else, thus he's following, not innovating. Maybe better implementation based on where the games release, but that's just because MS is restricting it to their own store portals.

I never expect any company to be perfect. I don't expect Phil to be perfect. But I question why he deserves this job, because Xbox is in a terrible place right now, and he hasn't done anything to really show what he's done about it other than deliver a bunch of PR, and a few features which are mostly just following other companies. Xbox has some good distinctive features though, but hardly compelling reason to say he's growing the brand in some way.

In a few months people could argue that. So why is it now that the biggest criticism that MS is getting is that they are piss poor at delivering compelling games?

Seems the priorities are backwards, and if that's where MS wants it and that means that Spencer did a good job for getting Xbox to being more about things other than games, it actually makes me wonder if Xbox is really all that important to MS, and even more concerned that Xbox is going to suffer in the long run....regardless of this promotion.


Sorry, but the "wait for E3" argument is long since worthy of consideration. If that is the only response to my comments, then it's hardly worth even bringing up.

ShottyatLaw2201d ago


"In our interview with McCarthy, he said Spencer played a huge role in convincing the engineering team to add backwards compatibility support for Xbox 360 games on Xbox One. The team wasn't sure it was possible at the start, apparently, but Spencer kept pressing the matter and the engineering team found a way. It's the same engineering team doing the work for OG Xbox backwards compatibility."


He took over in April 2014, and BC officially rolled out in November 2015. That's 19 months by my count, but if you want to argue that point, you win. He may have started prior while head of 1st Party too.

The work is on their end, so I'm not sure why they would send it out to devs. If the emulation works, then I would think porting the games would come quick after the initial hurdle was jumped. But it's your perogative to disagree with it if you want.

I bring up Minecraft as a response to this idea that they haven't invested in gaming under Spencer/Nadella. Of course that money comes from MS, just like any of their budget would. Why is it fair to criticize their investment, but ignore these 2.5 billion?

Remember when Nadella first wrote about their commitment to gaming? That came when they were working on the Minecraft deal. That deal was made by Spencer meeting repeatedly with Notch. As a software guy, I'm sure you can Google those details without my help.

Nothing in the PS4 is "innovative," but they improved on some really great services. That's praised by many, so why the double standard with MS?

rainslacker2200d ago

I'll concede that it's possible he pushed for BC before taking over. My timing of it was with the announcement where they said they had games running. While it wouldn't be much to get games up an running by 3rd party pubs, but building the policies, and getting them to the devs to have them do what is required to enable it for their particular wares is a beuracratic process which simply takes time.

Anyhow, I don't think the purchase of Minecraft was done as part of the Xbox division. They didn't announce it, MS proper did. The actual early PR for that purchase was distinctly lacking of Xbox.

I'm not really criticizing it, but I recall MS saying that had a bunch of money invested in gaming early on this gen, only to not come anywhere close to releasing enough to account for it all. While the Minecraft purchase was a good business move, it comes up flat in the face of the downward trend of in house/2nd party development over the last couple years, coupled with the closure of studios and the cancellation of games that were very late in development.

I remember a lot of people saying they had this huge commitment to gaming. However, that isn't translating into something for the consumers right now. Buying Minecraft is all well and good, but MS commitment to gaming seems to be more about keeping Windows a relevant gaming platform.

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OMGitzThatGuy2202d ago

Seeing as it seems like Microsoft cut them out of the unlimited money account, it has pretty much already happened but they know if they make it official then it will doom Xbox even more.

OMGitzThatGuy2201d ago

In the 360 days Microsoft was throwing money at 3rd party devs, had big ad budgets, timed exclusives/dlc yet now it seems they cut that back severely. Protty sure thats why Phil atated he didnt want to soend much on 3rd party exclusives, because he had no choice.

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slate912202d ago

This seems pretty significant.

timotim2202d ago

Congrats Spence! Putting Spence in the top tier leadership position for the company shows just how much gaming is going to be apart of there makeup going forward. Microsoft is taking this seriously. I expect both console and PC to expand quite a bit over the next few years.

rainslacker2202d ago

What would be more impressive to me is if they showed what being more serious about gaming will actully bring to us consumers.

Spencer being promoted is great for him. Now it's time to know why it's great for us. If we don't, then we're just assuming things are going to be better. Just like we've seen all these assumptions all gen about everything that will make Xbox better.

Congrats to him. He must of done something to earn it I suppose. Can't imagine what considering where Xbox is now. But anything Xbox is well past due to show, and not tell.

timotim2202d ago

Listen, I know you guys have to play devil's advocate with all positive Xbox news, but really this is uncalled for and can only be looked at as a very good thing from a company standpoint. In order for the company to pass improvements and advancements off to the consumer, they must first have the internal make-up to do so to begin with. This moves signifies just that. Up until now, no one under Xbox or gaming at Microsoft has ever been in this position of leadership before. This means Microsoft sees gaming equal footing with the rest of the big wig divisions at the company (Cloud, Office, Windows etc.) Spence will be in better position to effect the company as a whole in terms of gaming and entertainment and since he is a gamer at heart, this bolds well for gamers of the brand.

Lots of things will make me feel better about a lot of things...even Playststion things. But regardless of what you think, Microsoft and Team Xbox has been making a lot of great moves over the past 3-4 years. Gift giving, digital returns, GamePass, EA Access, Cross-platform play, Play Anywhere, bringing there games to PC through there store, external HDD support, breaking up downloads into chunks, Windows apps on console, Minecraft buyout. Spence has been making wonderful moves. And this isn't a sprint my friend...Microsoft is not just thinking about the here and now, they are thinking 5 years from now. Gaming will continue to be with us, they don't have to prove anything to you personally within some time table that's in your head haha. Where Xbox is now is a innovative place...sure they have first party titles to work on and get out to consumers, but in terms of what the Xbox brand is doing right now, they are doing things and pushing for things that no one else is. I look forward to the brands future.

rainslacker2202d ago

I think the point I was trying to make is that I can't see how it's really that good. I don't know what Spencer has done to deserve the promotion, and more importantly, I have no idea where MS wants to go with the Xbox, nor how this move would get them there.

Basically, MS has yet to have a vision for the Xbox brand as a whole since Spencer took over.

I gave him time. I supported and defended him early on, and even up until the end of 2016, but after that, I just feel he's not really suitable for a high level executive position.

Now, he may very well be doing exactly what MS wants him to do, and that's great. But without knowing what that is, I can't see how there's anything to be excited about, nor can I go on about how this will end up being good for the consumer or Xbox owner.

Spencer was in the driver seat long enough for me to place the responsibility of sharing a vision, and providing sufficient content that he shouldn't be given a free pass and praise for a promotion when he has done very little to actually grow the Xbox brand.

Maybe something is coming that will be good. But MS is well past the point of me having any faith in them.

"No one under Xbox or gaming at MS has ever been in this position of leadership before"

And that's kind of important to my comment. What does that actually bring to Xbox, considering under Spencer's reign of Xbox he has dragged the Xbox down to it's lowest point since it came into existence. If anything, it should be more concerning, because if he couldn't get anything of substance done while in control of Xbox, what can he possibly do for the devices division over at MS?

timotim2202d ago

OK... so you shouldn't be commenting then haha. YOU don't see it, YOU don't understand...that sounds like a personal issue to me, not Microsoft's issue haha. I cant make you see all the good that has come since Spence took over. I listed a lot of system/brand/infrastructure improvements though that you overlooked. I cant make you understand why the auditorium shouts Phil's name every E3 or major press conference. However, its Microsoft's job to always think about the future...making Phil a senior leader in the company bolds very well for Microsoft's gaming efforts for consumers.

rainslacker2202d ago (Edited 2202d ago )

I'm open to seeing the good things that Spencer has brought, it's just that most of the things he's given credit for aren't really his doing. It's not that he hasn't done some good, it's just that he is given too much credit.

More importantly, the numbers and current output don't belay my argument. Xbox is on a negative downward trend both in sales and software output. The brand itself has taken a serious hit, which isn't all his doing of course, but I don't feel he's done much more than offer up PR spin to try and rectify that launch situation.

I respect that you feel he's done some good things, I just don't really feel that what he's done warrants a promotion based on what we know.

More importantly, his utter lack of providing a cohesive vision for the Xbox brand puts into question if this promotion of his will be good for the Xbox brand itself. For the time being there is no reason to believe this will be the case, as I can't see MS suddenly given the division more money to provide the resources to actually get out of the slump they're in.

I liked Spencer when he came in. I did have high hopes for the brand because of his promotion. But since then, I feel he's worse than his predecessor. Not so much in the vision department, but rather the fact that he's not truthful about where he wants to take the brand. Mattrick for all his faults provided a vision....such as it was. Mattrick for all his slimyness as an executive, still didn't seem like a snake oil sales man because at least he was upfront with his direction However, since Spencer took over, he's gone from being an avid gamer who cares about the future of the industry and the Xbox brand, to being that snake oil salesman who will dangle those carrots and say whatever he thinks people want to hear to paint both himself, MS, and the Xbox in a good light...even it's a borderline truth, or an outright lie.

Other than that, I don't see why I shouldn't be commenting. I feel my opinion on his lack of merit of the promotion to be just as relevant as you're opinion on him deserving it.

I wasn't trying to start anything with you personally, or even as a whole. I just think that blind loyalty or praise doesn't give him much incentive to improve. If the fan base is apparently happy with what's there, then why should he improve, since Spencer hasn't delivered enough to show he actually wants improvement where it matters. But in all these years, Spencer has said too often how awesome he wants to make things, but has done nothing to show that awesome is coming.

timotim2202d ago

I see... so when positive things happen, its someone else's doing other than Phil, but when something less than positive happens, its all Phil's fault? Got it. Understand that nothings gets done on a brand level without Phils green light, so even if someone has a good idea, it must still go through Phil to get implemented. Phil as a leader is what got him the promotion. Having him in this position means that gaming for Microsoft is only going to get better and better, because now he isn't reliant as much on others over him... now he can implement things faster with less blockage.