Microsoft’s New Head of Xbox Discusses E3 Plans

By Ishaan . April 4, 2014 . 9:30am

Earlier in the week, Microsoft announced that Microsoft Studios chief Phil Spencer would be taking over the entire Xbox business, including services such as Xbox Live. In a talk with Xbox Live’s Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb, he discusses his new role as Head of Xbox.



“The role is really to drive the product vision for what Xbox is,” Spencer says. “I come at this job as somebody from the games industry, running game studios. I think about the Xbox product and how we can really put the stamp of the gamer on this product, make sure it’s gaming first.”


Spencer goes on to say he frequently gauges feedback that he sees on Twitter and forums, and other outlets of communication, through which Xbox owners have been making suggestions for what he should be doing in his new role. “I want the two-way dialogue. We hear what fans say, and we should use that as an input for how we build our product,” Spencer says.


Later in the talk, Spencer discusses Microsoft’s E3 plans, and his involvement in them.


“Right now, I’m spending a lot of time on E3,” Spencer shares. “E3 is a big time in our industry. We know that this E3 is really important for us. People are looking for ‘what is this change in Xbox? What does it mean to have a Head of Xbox?’ It’s really focused on games. E3’s a great gaming show, and I want to make sure the fans hear us. They understand why we’re there and what this product should mean to us.”


“I had a big content review just yesterday. It’s kind of inside baseball but people will see that we are almost every week sitting down with the teams and looking at what we want to put on stage, what do we want to announce, what are we going to push.”


Regarding Microsoft’s E3 plans, Spencer says, “We’re going to push games. I thought we did a good job last year, and having games, games, games be the focus of the show. I want to do the same thing this year. Not a lot of executive middle-management up on stage. Just make sure we’ve got creators up there.”


“We’ve got great games that we’re showing. People invest a lot of money in Xbox, and that money is invested so they know they have the best place to play games, and that’s where their friends will be playing. It’s our responsibility to stand up on stage and give them the promise of the games that are coming.”

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  • specs10

    “I thought we did a good job last year, and having games, games, games be the focus of the show. I want to do the same thing this year.”

    That’s not the E3 I remember.

    • neo_firenze

      They actually did have a very game-heavy E3 presentation last year, in stark contrast to the awful system reveal press event (TV, TV, TV, Football, Call of Duty). E3 almost felt like an apology for that abomination. They actually probably showed more games than Sony or Nintendo, it’s just that people were so negative toward them (rightly so) because of the other terrible stuff MS was doing around that time

      E3 presentation included Dead Rising 3 reveal, Titanfall reveal, MGSV opened their show. Forza 5, Sunset Overdrive, Halo tease, Quantum Break, D4, Killer Instinct, Crimson Dragon, a bunch of indie/XBLA stuff. For multi-console stuff, they spent some time on Dark Souls II and Battlefield. They didn’t really skimp on the games.

      • specs10

        That’s true! I think the system reveal was overshadowing things so much that the E3 presentation didn’t leave much of an impression on me.

        • neo_firenze

          Yep, I completely agree that the E3 presentation was spoiled a bit with the awful pre-E3 reveal and all the other bad news around the console at the time.

          I remember even when watching the E3 stuff live, I had such negative feelings… but going back later I could see they actually did try to show a lot of games.

      • ronin4life

        People have choice memories.
        It makes more sense to blot out things that don’t fit what we are constantly being told…

    • Zer0faith

      Replace the word “game” with “TV” and your memory will become much clearer.

      • neo_firenze

        You’re thinking of the system reveal though, not the E3 conference. Not that Microsoft deserves to get off easy for that awful reveal, but E3 they really did spend the vast majority of their time on games.

    • Charles Parker

      Besides a gameplay-free trailer of Halo 5 I can’t really think of any Xbox One exclusive games that weren’t forgettable release titles like Dead Rising 3 from E3 last year. Admittedly neither console is bathing in big triple A exclusive titles at this point, but at least PS4 has Second Son and a bunch of good indie games that got ported to it. Some of the best of which are free for PS+ users.

  • SirRichard

    ““The role is really to drive the product vision for what Xbox is,” Spencer says.”

    I know they aren’t the only ones that do this, but Microsoft’s lot always seem to be the biggest offenders: dear game industry execs, please stop talking like robots. I’m not expecting “here mate we’s gonna cut up them Sony lads real good like” (although that would be far funnier) but reading quotes like this just builds resentment and disgust in me.

    And while I’ve no doubt that Microsoft will fill their presentation from start to finish with games, the question is “will I care about any of them?”, and the answer leans towards no given their usual genres of interest and industry trends right now. Not that they’re alone in that regard, though.

  • leingod

    We’ll see, we’ll see at E3. At least, Spencer is a likeable lead for XBOX, IMO.

  • Unlimax

    With all the things they put behind a paywall and not being friendly for the consumer + being more expensive in term of price and online services unlike what Playstation brand affords to the consumers who gives you almost everything you want along with the PS+ service , i can’t see myself getting into this “Xbox One” brand , like AT ALL .. even if they bought the rights from a specific gaming company to make the greatest exclusive EVER , i still can’t see myself getting into this , its just hard for a gamer with a limited income like me to trust a brand like this who puts everything behind a paywall , its just boggles my mind how a rich company like Microsoft being so greedy in this brand to earn money in many ways unlike other brands who are in a rough status .
    let’s be real .. if they really want to gain gamers trust and they plan to change everything in this brand and by everything i mean EVERYTHING
    i might go ahead and pick up this system without hesitate regardless of what the system of choice i had .

    • Invisbin

      I always get excited thinking “I could get an Xbox one!” But then I remember the paywall.

    • BobTheCat

      Gain trust, you mean like hearing the outcry and scrapping the initial plan? Let’s not forget that Sony at the beginning of last gen was the out of touch one, even going so far as to say people will pay more because it’s Sony. The way I see it is you and a lot of other gamers were never willing to give MS any trust in the first place simply because you grew up with PlayStations. Brand power got to you a long time ago.

  • Six

    I’m excited. I’ve been a huge Xbox fan since I first got a 360, and I’m eager to see if he’ll be able to bring the games, and respect, back to Xbox.

    The OG Xbox and the early years of the 360 were absolutely glorious. I want to see a return to those days.

  • brian

    Were they using TV like a codeword for games last year?

    • darke

      I recall the demonstration prominently featured the american idea of what football is (guys in padded suits running around with a ball in their hands), and american football is actually a game, therefore when they were talking about TV, they were technically talking about ‘games’.

      And after all, that’s all that really matters to a PR guy right? That they’re technically correct. :P

      Anyway, I’m probably remembering their disastrous intro presentation, rather then their E3 one; their colossal failure in anticipating on what people wanted, and complete 180 as a result, kind of blotted out any other news out of them for a few months. >.<

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