Microsoft’s Phil Spencer Praises Sony and Criticizes Fanboys, Talks About Old Franchises, Kinect and More

Microsoft Game Studios Head Phil Spencer was interviewed at the South by Southwest Gaming Expo by Geoff Keighley, and expressed some very interesting concepts during the nicely laid back chat, some highlights of which have been posted on YouTube by user gerrenlaquint.

One of the most interesting parts of the interview is Spencer’s take on competition, that often gets a little too toxic between the users of different platforms:

There seems to be this natural faction that gets created around what console you own, and then this… I would call it “unhealthy dislike” for people who own the other console.

I think it should be competitive, but the competition is in the marketplace. I have ton of respect for people at Sony and the franchises they build. The same with Nintendo, or my friends at Valve… In the end what we all wanna do is to take this art form of playing games and experiencing the breaking down of the wall between the narrative and interaction […] and just make a better form of entertainment.

I love the fans that we have , but being a fan of Xbox doesn’t mean you can’t be a fan of something else, or that you have to be an antifan of some other brand. I own a PlayStation 4. I play Games on my PlayStation 4. I own and I play games on my Wii U. I learn a ton from what happens on those other platforms.

He then homed straight to the point, talking about the “war” against Sony, that in the end he doesn’t see as a war at all:

In terms of the concerns that people have in the social space, it’s usually about how we’re doing in the competition,against PlayStation, just to go directly towards that. They had a great launch. I would say, when I look at the PlayStation 4’s launch and the Xbox One’s… It’s been our best launch ever for an Xbox.

A year ago the question was whether consoles were relevant anymore, and has the industry moved beyond console gaming. Has anyone shown up to the party when these two big manufacturers brought their consoles out in November? And today we all see that hasn’t been a problem. If you look at what both consoles have done, it’s been an amazing year, probably the best year.

Spencer continued by saying that the combined sales of both consoles show an incredible start of this generation, and that the competition between the two consoles will play out in future years, concluding that it’s good for consumers and gamers, because good games will come out.

Spencer also talked about the importance of bringing back older franchises, using Killer Instinct as an example of a successful operation, mentioning how he’s learning a lot from that experience:

I think it’s important for us to go back and revisit where we came from, and I think for me it was just something that I didn’t appreciate enough, and I’m kinda learning more about that.

Another relevant point touched were the importance of Kinect: Spencer mentions that according to him it unlocks what he calls “skill based gameplay,” but it takes time to perfect that concept. That’s exactly why Kinect was included in the bundle with the Xbox One, to “help perfect the state of the art” of that kind of gameplay.

You can check out the whole video below. It’s definitely interesting, and Spencer’s candid attitude and respectful approach to the talk about competition are definitely refreshing. Fans from all sides of the console war could probably learn a lot from him.

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