Xbox's Phil Spencer: Microsoft Is Going "As Big at E3 as We've Ever Been"

Microsoft's Phil Spencer doubles down on Xbox at E3 2019, telling Major Nelson the Xbox presence will be "as big at E3 as we've ever been."

January 26, 2019

Do you have revolving concerns that E3 is losing ground as a major conference? Do you think all the major publishers will back down following Sony’s departure? Well don’t worry — those fears can be put side. Xbox Head Phil Spencer wants everyone to know that Microsoft will be appearing at the massive gaming convention in a big way.

The quote comes from Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb in an exclusive interview with Microsoft’s Executive Vice President of Gaming, Phil Spencer. Discussing a range of topics, including what Spencer is playing (hint, it’s Super Mario Odyssey, which he is just starting up for the first time), the topic got onto E3.


Spencer begins by vaguely mentioning PlayStation’s decision to pull out of E3:

There was obviously some news about E3 back in the Fall and we had a discussion internally of “should we go big? Should we save some money? You know… what does that mean?

In case you missed that news, Spencer is referencing the November announcement from Sony that PlayStation will be skipping E3 for the first time since the conference’s creation. Even stranger, this is a full departure from the conference — not just missing out on giving a staged press conference while having a presence on the show floor (like Nintendo has been doing for years).

However, this isn’t dictating how Microsoft is approaching the show. According to Spencer, the discussions ultimately settled that they would keep doing their thing and have a presence that is as big as they’ve ever been:

We just said “No, we are going to do our thing.” We’re going to go and be as big at E3 as we’ve ever been. I love that opportunity to be with our fans and the industry.

Though that isn’t to say that repeat attendees can expect the same thing. Referencing how Xbox took over the (nearby) Microsoft Theater instead of the Los Angeles Convention Center’s show floor, Spencer noted that fans can expect a “wrinkle” to put everyone on edge. This is going to include “how and who” the team manages to get on stage, as well as balancing out how much the show will focus on present versus future plans. Though Spencer gave his preference:

You know me, I’m more of a proponent of being as transparent as you can be.

Spencer then noted that the Microsoft E3 presence will likely focus on a broader scope of what it means to be an Xbox fan… which doesn’t necessarily mean console gaming. According to Phil, this means embracing the community from the PC and mobile perspective. Though he sees console gaming as the immediate future for gaming, with PC and mobile audiences being within the ten-year plan.

This isn’t the first time Microsoft as an organization or the Xbox has tried to eschew calm over a perhaps uneasy E3. After Sony’s original announcement that they were not attending, both Nintendo and Xbox reassured consumers that they were optimistic about the show.

We also chimed in on PlayStation’s departure means for E3 and the games within the PlayStation brand.

If you want to check out Phil Spencer and Major Nelson’s conversation, feel free to check out the full interview below where they talk E3, Xbox Game Pass, and day-to-day life at Microsoft:

Lou Contaldi

Lou Contaldi specializes in both reviews and the business behind gaming. He began writing about tech and video games while getting his Juris Doctor at Hofstra University School of Law. He is maybe the only gaming journo based in Nashville, TN.

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