During the Geekwire Sunmmit, Phil Spencer answered a few questions on stage, including what he thinks of Sony and Nintendo as competitors, and whether they’re still his primary competitors given the proliferation of games on all sorts of devices.
His response was definitely interesting:
It’s a very good question, because if you think about Microsoft, at the scale that Microsoft has had […], Microsoft is not gonna look at Nintendo, or look at Sony and put them on the list of the top ten competitors of the company.
They can have success and it doesn’t necessary come at the expense of what Microsoft’s main ambitions are. We definitely look at gaming as a primary use category on any device that someone owns, and Microsoft has broad device ambitions, and platform ambitions and service ambitions.
In the last eighteen months we’ve definitely transitioned the way from thinking about all of success for us inside gaming happens on a gaming console, and put the gamer at the center and and think about what’s the relationship about with that customer, on any device that they might be playing on. Whether it’s a game console on their TV, their laptop, their phone, wherever they are.
That really helped us think more constructively about what Sony is and about what Nintendo is, and you know, my biggest competitor […] is kind of apathy. I have to earn every customer. I have to ship a product that is not supported by any file format, compatibility, or anything else. We ship Halo 5 later this month and we’re gonna earn every one of those customers based on the quality of the product that we put on their screen.
Minecraft is the same way. If we don’t have a 100% focus on that, then we’re focusing on the wrong things.
Mind you, when Spencer mentions that Sony and Nintendo aren’t Microsoft’s primary competitors, he means Microsoft as a whole, not just Xbox. That said, it’ll definitely be interesting to see if the shift of focus will prove successful in the long run.