Since becoming head of Microsoft’s Xbox division Phil Spencer has changed quite a few things, and many wonder whether he would have made the Xbox One more powerful had he been in charge during the console’s planning phase. Spencer explained his point of view on that question today during the last episode of IGN’s Podcast Unlocked.
It’s easy for me to say yes, and I know to a lot of people that would make me seem like a better guy… I don’t know. I know the people that make those decisions and I don’t know the realities of the situations when they made those decisions, so it’s easy to me to sit back now and say “ok, we would have built a three teraflops box and sold it for 99 dollars” but I don’t know.
I don’t know what trade-offs they were making, cause we didn’t make all the decisions as the leadership team. I was making content decisions. So I think it’s a little unfair for me to go back and kinda cherry pick a certain decision on “hey what RAM do we pick” or the ESRAM thing, or the HDMI in, what we’ve done with Kinect, whatever it is, and just say “Oh, I’m all-knowing at this point and knowing where we are now, I would have changed these decisions.”
I think that’s hard for me… It’d make me look good if I just said yes, but I don’t know. I don’t know in the context. I will say that the work at the platform team is done to give as much power in the hands of the developers as we can. It has made a tremendous impact in the last six months, and I’m really proud of that.
And the box, from a reliability standpoint, I mean I lived through red rings on 360 and other things, has been significantly better than we were at the launch of 360 which has been great. I’m not ashamed of the hardware that we have anyway, and if somebody asks me “Should I go buy an Xbox One” I can definitely tell them from the content that we have and the platform that we have, and the services that we have, and for the hardware that we have, “yes.”
I can make a commitment to them that they’re buying into a platform that I’m committed to, across all facets of that platform, and that we’re gonna make this platform as great as we can for them.
While that’s probably not the answer some would have expected, it does make sense. It’s easy to judge decisions made by others in retrospect. We’ll have to wait and see just how much power Microsoft’s developers will manage to squeeze from the Xbox One during the rest of the generation.