Opinion: For Xbox, The Phil Spencer Era Is Over

Phil Spencer has been in charge of Xbox since 2014 to elevate the brand, however, recently it seems that Xbox is at a major crossroads.

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Knushwood Butt147d ago

They say in that interview with Phil that a new IP failing is bad for everyone because the decision makers will be more likely to only greenlight sequels because they are a safer bet.
Did they forget about Halo Infinite?

MIDGETonSTILTS17147d ago

He isn’t wrong about that, even if he only brings it up to avoid explaining how at no point in the last 5 years of development was the lack of variety in the gameplay apparent, let alone a blaring alarm that enemies were sooooo stupid.

neutralgamer1992147d ago

For it to be over it has to first start

His whole tenure has been MEH

LoveSpuds147d ago

He gets a free pass in respect of his senior role at Xbox before he became Head in my view. As general manager of Microsoft Studios he was also part of the management team that oversaw the decline in 360 and the piss poor performance of Xbox ever since.

He is a snake oil salesman, plain and simple and he always has been. It's hilarious that some members on N4G would talk about Nintendo getting a free pass whilst at the same time letting Spencer and Xbox off the hook over and over again. It does feel like the tide is turning now and other than a few hard core Xbox apologists, people are starting to question Spencers efficacy as Head.

Notellin147d ago

You rarely see any support for Xbox or Phil on here.

This narrative is crafted in your head only.

DOMination-146d ago

Phil was head of Microsoft Game Studios back in the late 2000s. Before he joined, the 360 had a strong launch and first couple of years. After he joined..

- The studios made a bunch of Kinect shovelware
- He greenlit a 4v1 Fable game that was never going to work and then promptly shut Lionhead down when they realised it wasn't going to be successful
- He started Black Tusk Studio who revealed a trailer of their new IP, only to then abandon that project and stick them on Gears,
- He was in charge of building 343i, employing all the best management and talented developers to work together as a "super studio". We know how that's worked out.
- opened and then promptly shut down several studios before they ever released anything - LIFT London, MS Victoria and I believe another MS branded studio that I can't remember.. maybe MS Vancouver?
- He allowed the Crackdown 3 debacle to happen, with the cloud computing guff and then overseeing it switch developers multiple times as they tried to make their previous cloud statements work (and failed)

Then he became head of Xbox and during the last ten years has overseen MS continue to basically not release any games. He could have made deals for third party exclusives during the barren years (which frankly, has been most of them since he took over), and been in charge of a fresh new generation where he had plenty of time to fix things and get the many studios they have to actually make some games. I appreciate that isn't really his job now but ultimately he is responsible for Matt Booty doing it.

I don't think it's a crafted narrative. There's a lot of evidence that suggests Phil hasn't done a great job. And that's a shame because I do think he speaks well and believe that he cares and is really passionate about gaming. But so far, the results speak for themselves.

CrimsonWing69147d ago

I think you’re misunderstanding.

What he was saying is that if people see new “games” or IPs fail, then they are unlikely to take risks.

Now, I think he was actually trying to say that Red Fall was a new game “conceptually” and while co-op shooting vampires in Massachusetts is a new idea, the game is borderline a GaaS designed feeling game.

There isn’t anything that’s “New” mechanically speaking and it’s pretty freaking derivative. The games it copies are far better than what Arkane Austin approved.

I don’t agree this is a new game and I’m hoping publishers see the backlash so we can stop with these f*cking kinds of games.

But I wouldn’t say this is a game like Parasite Eve or Xenogears or Silent Hill, where it takes concepts and molds something “new” from it that could be a gamble.

That being said, yea, it’s bad because when sh*t fails and fails hard, then yea, risk-taking gets harder to see across the industry. I mean, compare the PS1 and PS2 library to PS4 and… well the 5, PS5 games we have.

There is a stark and I mean STARK difference between how many new IPs and experimental games get made. We have this sh*tty GaaS model and Open-World trope type games and if anything is experimental it gets a shoe-string budget and barely any marketing.

Knushwood Butt147d ago

I take your point.
I was just pointing out that Redfall is a new IP (regardless of content), and that Halo is a well established IP and therefore supposed to be a safer bet.

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jznrpg147d ago (Edited 147d ago )

Phil isn’t the problem. MicroSoft is the problem. Sure he’s not a good spokesperson but their culture and team at Xbox is influenced by MS who wants to dominate industries.

Their vision for dominating stopped being console a long time ago and has turned into a cloud streaming service future that they want to dominate. To do this they want to buy as many 3rd party games as possible and more importantly to them the biggest casual games that sell best elsewhere.
That’s where they think they can steal customers for their cloud service future.
Games aren’t most important to MS or Xbox. It’s the domination of a particular industry first to sell you a sub second that’s on their servers (cloud) third and then the games. They don’t care what games they are as long as they are the best selling somewhere that casuals pump money into constantly and they will try to buy them.

Jin_Sakai147d ago

It’s never good guy Phil’s fault. He’s been in charge for two Xbox generations and it’s only been downhill since. He is part of the problem.

rippermcrip147d ago

He was in charge of their games before that. He's been shit for 15 years.

Aloymetal147d ago

Exactly!...People always seem to forget that Phil Spencer was GM of Microsoft Game Studios starting in 2008, became the VP in 2009. He was in charge of their games. He is to blame just as much as anyone else for their lack of IP's and all the mess.

Tankbusta40147d ago

Phil has been a problem for now two generations of game consoles.

Father__Merrin147d ago

If it was up to me I'd have Spencer arrested!!

TheEnigma313147d ago

When you're the head, you take the blame. You're paid because you will always be that one who takes responsibility.

terstomp147d ago

jznrpg, you have illustrated exactly what Microsoft's motive is. Well said. Alot of people understand this, but most xbox fans refuse to acknowledge this fact.

franwex147d ago (Edited 147d ago )

Yep. Nadella has not been involved at Xbox to the extend that Bill Gates, or even Steve Balmer were. I doubt that he even games or cares about gaming in general.

It’s simply not a concern for Microsoft and I’m sure Xbox would’ve been abandoned if it wasn’t for that cloud base future that they are trying to cultivate. It could well be Xbox last Gen, or close to its last Gen and simply be a service in 10 or so years.

It sucks for gamers, but Nadella has grown Microsoft beyond $2 trillion. That cannot be ignored. Its real rivals are not Sony or Nintendo. Rather Google, Apple, and Amazon.

CrimsonWing69147d ago (Edited 147d ago )

No, it’s Phil’s fault, Microsoft hired him to do a job and he’s making terrible decisions and not delivering.

Look, I feel like Phil is a good guy in person, he seems genuine and I personally respect him more than Jim Ryan. That being said, he’s incompetent at this point and something seriously needs to be done to course-correct the Xbox game division to getting to the Xbox 360 days where they actually were a contender in the gaming arena.

It’s 2 generations now and I’m actually starting to feel this gen is their worst.

Grilla147d ago (Edited 147d ago )

The 360 was a fluke. The 360 was a pc in a box and therefore got a lot of pc ports. Sony learned their lesson and went X86 for the ps4 and MS lost that advantage.

Ra3030147d ago

"Phil isn’t the problem. MicroSoft is the problem"
I 100% agree but Phil Spencer has to go.

DeusFever147d ago

100% this but put more simply, Microsoft still wants all the things they announced at E3 in 2013, and all those things are still just as unpopular. Phil Spencer might be able to bring Xbox box to its 360 glory days if not for Microsoft’s corporate goals standing in the way.

+ Show (5) more repliesLast reply 147d ago
XiNatsuDragnel147d ago

I think it's combination of phil Microsoft and their team problems. You need freedom but order at certain points vice versa.

RauLeCreuset147d ago

"It’s also convenient to claim success on the back of a new Gamepass service-based strategy when you are getting clobbered in the only ways the video game industry has measured success historically since its inception; console and video game sales. The moving of the goalposts seems all too convenient from a business standpoint, especially when you aren’t being entirely transparent with the data to back up those claims."

That's why it's senseless for media and fans to regurgitate talking points about Game Pass games being hits based on lacking data and MS' say so. It's amazing how many keep asserting that a GP title was a hit without bothering to inspect what that actually means.

-Foxtrot147d ago

If he actually manages to keep his job in the future, especially when the time comes to lead us into the next gen, I'll be surprised.

Obscure_Observer147d ago (Edited 147d ago )

"If he actually manages to keep his job in the future, especially when the time comes to lead us into the next gen, I'll be surprised."

No, you won´t.

The only reason why Phil still leading is because he made Xbox profitable. As long he continues to fill their pockets, retirement will be his only way out, and you know that.

If CMA´s own data is something to consider, he managed to make Xbox the isolated leader in the Cloud Gaming segment.

So just like Jim Ryan, he´s allowed to say any bs he wants as long MS executives keep their large smiles while walking straight to the bank.

Bathyj147d ago

Don Matrieks made Xbox profitable for the first time since it's inception.

Obscure_Observer147d ago


"Don Matrieks made Xbox profitable for the first time since it's inception."

And yet he left through the back door and almost got Xbox dead and gone.

343_Guilty_Spark147d ago

MSFT is the leader because nobody beside nvidia and smaller companies take cloud seriously

EvertonFC147d ago

You still don't get that profit/revenue do you. Lots of people on here have explained it too you lots of times I'm staggered you still don't fathom it.