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.


Join the Discussion

  • PrinceHeir

    Competition is always good.

    I don’t know why people needs to hate the other console.

    Even though i didn’t like the Xbox One’s first impression, I’m glad they learned a lot from last year and that it’s always consumer’s best interest first as a priority when making a product.

    Good luck to all sides(including the Wii U)

  • Guest

    fanboy FTW

  • Sexy Mcgee

    The hate for Microsoft didn’t come from the context of being a competitor to Sony. It came in the form of almost antagonizing and distancing itself from it’s traditional customer base. I went from an Xbox fan from 2001-2010 to feeling like Microsoft had abandoned me in the past few years. While around the same time Microsoft started tanking in quality Sony started to turn things around and drastically improve.

    • MasterofMidnight

      This is all true, but isn’t that the reversal of what happened with Sony? They tanked at the start of the PS3 era, and gradually got their shit together? Ultimately, I think in the long term, both consoles are going to have their ups and downs. And there are going to be great, exclusive games for both systems. Both companies can’t afford for anything less.

      That being said, if you want to talk about quality, I’d say that the XB1 has the superior catalogue of games at this current moment in time (before convictions of fanboyism, I own neither console, and won’t do for some time). And seeing as they (MS) have the inferior system here, it is in their interest to make sure they keep on having the superior catalogue. As with Sony’s initial failure with the PS3, the bad start of the XB1 might actually work in the consumer’s benefit; as MS are forced to step up their game and offer us more quality titles in the future.

      • phillip

        eh the ps3 had an Internet browser and was a blue ray player at the time so it was an expensive value but made sense when you added everything up. But I agree it took the ps3 a while to gain ground

        • Nintendo Fan 4 Lif3

          and it paid off for Sony

      • cozomel

        How does the X1 have a “superior catalog of games” when its got less games than the PS4? they both have the same multiplats, only they are better on the PS4 and the PS4 has more indy and f2p games the only thing is that the X1 has 2 more exclsuives than PS4. So explain to me again how they have “the superior catalog of games”, when they have less games, and inferior versions. And before you go labeling me a fanboy i dont own either system either, so how you like them apples?

        • Chris Da Rocha

          Dead rising 3, Titan fall, forza, ryse? Ps4 has knack and killzone. Drive club is pushed back. So yes, at this point in time regarding “exclusives”, xbox has the better catalogue of games. In terms of multi platform, yes ps4 has the same games and they do look noticeably better in most cases. I own neither. I want a ps4, but the catalogue of exclusives right now is disappointing. How ever, when uncharted 4 comes out, shenmue 3 announced next Wednesday, last of us 2, deep down, the order 1886 and a new god of war then you will be able to tell me the xbox exclusives suck, until then……… Do everyone a favour and shut the f*ck up. God damn fellow sony players can be more annoying than the “enemy” sometimes.

          • You are flat out wrong

            Let’s be honest, it’s hardly a hot list so far. DR3 isn’t worth $500, TF is multiplay, Ryse is garbage. In a week I’ll have GOTYAY candidates Ground Zeroes and Infamous. It’s gonna be great. 🙂

          • Chris Da Rocha

            Before you say ” I said i own neither, how do you like them apples?” The fact you sounded like a spokesperson who is such an expert on their catalogue proves to me only that you secretly own a ps4 and are indeed a fan boy, or you are planning to become one. Why do I say this? Because you’re in denial, like all fan boys. Before you attempt to reverse this on me and say I secretly own an xbox because I came to its defence, I own neither, but plan on adding both to the shelf next to the wii u.

    • Took the words right outta my mouth. Touche

    • John Mumpitz

      Lol what about sony then? What about removing otherOS on PS3? What about the PSN HACK and waiting to tell us anything about it? What about the $600 Price tag on the PS3?

      Sony is the same SHIT.

      • Gamez Rule

        “What about removing otherOS on PS3?”.. False as Sony didn’t remove OtherOS as I still use OS on one of my PS3s, what Sony did was stop supporting it, and gave people a choice that IF they continue to use OtherOS that console cannot be update through PS-Network due to security reasons. ( Sony done this to protect it’s network and it’s users ) and as OtherOS wasn’t installed as standard ( optional Install ) they didn’t remove anything built into PS3.

        The Intrusion was a planned thing against Sony, ( and many other companies for that matter including STEAM, Ubisoft, ect ) but Sony took actions to close down their networks then got the correct information needed before letting people know what was going on as Sony didn’t want to give out false information to it’s customers until they knew what was going on. ( PSN has more customers after the intrusion, just for the record ) Sony built PSN even better than before too. ( XBL that STILL gets *Jacked* to this day )

        PS3 was expensive, but for top range hardware at the time ( including Blu-Ray Drive ) it wasn’t a bad price ( just not a great price for everyone ), but even after being more expensive than Xbox 360, the PS3 still outsold the competition☺ Plus when you added the price of the 360s Wi-Fi add-on and the Charge n Play Kit, Xbox 360 became more expensive than PS3 anyway.

      • Steph


        • cozomel

          Damn, you’re dumb.

      • cozomel

        Stop whining kid, jesus! and why are you crying about things that happened many years ago but supporting thing sthat Ms has done recently. So give it a break!

  • PCS4-Box U

    “friends at Valve”
    Um, didn’t Gabe make his own OS to compete because he thought you guys were, um, what the term he used?… Ah, yes “Trainwreck”, thats it.

    • Stranger On The Road

      He made his “own OS”? When? Putting a GUI interface on an existing GNU/Linux distribution isn’t making his own OS. He just decided to standardized on a single distribution instead of dealing with missing libraries and different package installers.

      Heck, he even said that there won’t be any SteamOS exclusives; they will continue to developing on M$ Windows.

      • Clarence Thompkins II

        Yes it is because Mac OS derived from Unix as well as a slew of Linux OS. Windows is derived from MS-DOS OS lol or just DOS -.- So Valve’s Steam OS IS it’s own OS.

        I just wanted to correct you on that front. your other argument is valid since I don’t have a T-Rex riding Godzilla shooting kitten lasers from his toes.

        • Stranger On The Road

          derived with a lot more work is different from just adding a GUI on someone’s else distribution. That is what I’m trying to point out, SteamOS is just a GUI over an existing GNU/Linux distribution.

          Note that the different GNU/Linux distributions are called distributions, not a different OS; GNU/Linux is the OS. Also the current Windows are based on Windows NT, this is very different from DOS. DOS has been phased out since the days of Windows XP…… that being said, I still enjoy the command prompt 🙂

          • Clarence Thompkins II

            It was intended to complement consumer versions of Windows that were based on MS-DOS – From Windows NT wiki

            Microsoft introduced an operating environment named Windows on November 20, 1985 as a graphical operating system shell for MS-DOS – From Windows wiki

            Debian (/ˈdɛbiən/) is an operating system composed of free software

            Ubuntu (/ʊˈbʊntuː/ uu-buun-too)[7][8] is a Debian-based Linux operating system

            haha I’mma keep those points even though I googled “ubuntu an distribution”

            But yes though it is a distrubtion of linux I will take my Windows point and run with it! can’t argue with facts =/

    • Rob

      Because they are competitors doesn’t mean they can’t be friends…

      • PCS4-Box U

        so, frenemies?

    • willhe

      its friends like democrats calling shitty republicans friends in congress

  • Redinferno124

    I love you Phil 🙂

  • Demetre HG

    STFU you fruckin retarded dam pony

  • N4GNerd

    I don’t care for Microsoft/Xbox, but Phil Spencer is a likable dude. He’s a million times better than those Aaron Greenturd and Yuusuf Medhi guys.

  • Johannna_L

    Also everybody hates Microsoft for NSA spy tool Kinect 2.0. A tool they will NOT remove from next version of X1.

    • John Mumpitz

      lol why the eff would NSA watch you through kinect? Why would they watch someone playing? Doesn’t make any sense.
      Besides you can just unhook the Kinect. XBOX ONE works without it, but of course KINECT 2.0 is the best.

  • Jan Compaf

    m$ could NEVER bring me to their “flopsole” , the controller SUCKS and i dont like FPS games

    • John Mumpitz

      the xbox one controller is perfect. Just perfect. Oh and the BATTERY LIFE. WOW.

      • Jan Compaf

        i am very sorry to inform you that i dont like the analogs placement (no i dont want another controller to replace original) and the d-pad is USELESS for fighting games (no i dont want a fighting stick) and AA batteries? what is this? 1990? Gameboy ? :))

        • John Mumpitz

          What Are You talking about? The analogs Are PERFECT especially The Position. Far better than DS4 analog positions.
          oh and have You ever heard of ENELOOPS? And I laugh at the DS4 8 hour battery life hahhaa so poor and pathetic

          • Michael Balchunas

            you guys are arguing over opinions… you know how stupid that is?

          • Jan Compaf

            no one is arguing, stop acting hippie , hippie

  • I just read a car just crashed into the crowd at SXSW and killed 2 peeps! It’s the top trending story on Yahoo News right now! :O

  • chrisredfield31

    I must say I’m warming up to Phil Spencer. Ever since I first saw him publicly I thought he was a snake like Mattrick and all those other guys. This guy seems to really know his stuff and has respect for the market at large. I like that he said he also owns a PS4 and Wii U and that he’s enjoying and constantly learning from those experiences. THAT’S how you improve your own product and in some ways make it better.
    While I gained a newfound respect for Phil, I can’t say I’ll run out and buy an Xbox. Phil’s a cool guy but I wish I can say that about their fans. I can’t play with Xbox fans. Sorry. Their games aren’t appealing to me right now and I don’t really feel like spending 500 for a console.

    • Mikeherp Derp

      Don Mattrick most punchable face in recent game industry history.

  • Ritsujun

    Don’t give up, MS!!!!!

  • tony

    If the shoe was on the other foot I’m sure he wouldn’t be talking about the unhealthy fanboy’s. Its all just business to him don’t kid yourselves he’s just managing a bad situation nothing more.

  • RandomBallz

    My comment seems to have disappeared so let reiterate. Phil Spencer is being very disingenuous. MS probably employs the largest number of astroturfers/marketers on the web. These astroturfers start the majority of the console flame wars. They are paid to trash Sony. Nintendo and Apple etc. Research it yourself

    • John Mumpitz

      this was proven false.

    • disqus_TCr2DiTW3m

      you could do a simple google search “sony pays for reviews” and you’ll find a ton of articles saying the same thing about sony. but typical delusional sony fanboy feels the need to only mention MS LOL. I’m surprised you didn’t say your comment disappeared because MS payed to make it disappear.

  • mikeslemonadeFromN4G

    Just PR BS again. He has to spin the numbers just because he’s losing. For example he has to combine both the PS4 and X1 sales to say the industry is doing great. And he says it’s the fastest selling xbox. Well that’s because you supplied that many systems. Of course you gonna sell that many xboxs in the launch time frame. So Phil, what about the sales now? The sales of the X1 are barely beating and sometimes losing against the PS3. Oh.. and you are conveniently forgot that you are packing in a AAA game absolutely free.

    And you have oversaturated the retailers because they are marking down the system as soon as a month after launch. Look at Costco, they marked it down by $20 within one month of the launch. And then many retailers followed suit. So yea it’s the fastest selling Xbox, but in what context? Where did the sales derive from?

    PS4 on the other hand, has less good games according to the x1 camp but is over 6 million units sold through to consumers and half of the places that carry PS4 is sold out. When PS4 is finally at the X1 stage where it has “good games” and has good supply everywhere, the PS4 would be way beyond 6 million.

    So yes you can blindly say “oh but but they’re both selling well”, but in what context. The WiiU also sold (off the top of my head) 2.5 mil in the first 3 months. Look at where it is now. It’s because they were quick to sell that many to retailers but the retailers couldn’t sell through the customers with those early shipments.

    That’s just loser speak and PR speak.

    • John Mumpitz

      What? The XBOX ONE is selling GREAT. And software wise, the xbox one beats the PS4. higher attach rate and all. Oh and just being a little bit behind, doesn’t mean “lose”. Lol
      Its not like Wii U or something.
      XBOX ONE is doing GREAT hardware AND especially SOFTWARE.
      And still the XBOX 360 is selling TONS.

      They are NOT “losing” by any means.

      • Gamez Rule

        “The XBOX ONE is selling GREAT. And software wise, the xbox one beats the PS4. higher attach rate and all”…

        If possible could you send a link showing this information please?

    • Steph

      Wow you truly are ignorant and undoubtedly aged 15-21 with that ridiculous rand childishly immature rant.

  • Eagles83

    I love how the fanboys see a message of gaming unity between all of the platforms and then ignore it to continue saying the same one sided crap as usual. Blind hate for the other side either due to unhealthy personality issues or upset they can’t afford more than one. Grow up people.

  • Nintendo Fan 4 Lif3

    “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.”-Phil Spencer

    You tell ’em like it is, Phil Spencer. Show ’em how a real hardcore gamer appreciates the competition. I had no idea he also owned a PS4 and Wii U. Now if only I knew his NN ID on Wii U, I could save it somewhere so that when Mario Kart 8 comes out, I can find him and beat him online everytime, haha. Great to see he still has good sportsmanship. Like a true gamer would.

  • Steph

    Fanboys are pathetic. Searching out articles and videos about a console you don’t own/like to troll is pathetic. Puffing out your chests on internet comment sections is pathetic. Fanboys are insecure, immature, childish, ignorant, and more.

    Gamers are supposed to be just that….gamers, it was an awesome culture where people talked about and enjoyed games no matter what console they were on. Now fanboys made brands/games their life and it’s pathetic, childish, and sad….in no way are fanboys gamers, no way, and in no way are they a representation of real gamers…not even close.

    • Averix

      Fanboys rant, gamers play. Simple.

    • HeczTehFinezt

      Thats rich, coming from the person who bashes on everything thats Sony related. You’re a fanbiy yourself for doing all that. There’s too much hypocrisy coming from both sides anyways.

    • Michael Balchunas

      ^ biggest hippocrit ever.

  • Yisa Yussuf

    Sounds like something a loser would say

    • Liam Hall

      Phil Spencer is one of the most respectable people in the business.

    • Los Illuminados

      indeed. not only that, to me this guy sound like a idiot as well.

  • Michael Balchunas

    Speaking of fanboys and fanboy wars…. I want to know where Sony Pony came from…seems kinda new to me (a month or so). Anyway thats a horrible name to try to insult someone… Not insulting in the least. Not as bad as Xboner at least XD