The Head of Xbox says the whole thing did not match up with the vision of Xbox.
There’s few things as infamous as that initial Xbox One reveal back in 2013. Microsoft chose to highlight the machine as more of a multimedia device over a gaming console. That, coupled with a higher price, hobbled the system and largely was the way for Sony to return to dominance in the market with the PS4. Now, the current head of the Xbox division reflects on that reveal, admitting that it wasn’t the right way to go about it.
In talking with GameSpot, Phil Spencer thought back to that reveal event just ahead of E3 in May 2013. It was one that was very much focused on the TV aspects of the Xbox One, although some games were highlighted. Spencer says that, in the end, it was a mistake and one that lead to a lot of confusion both from consumers and actual employees who didn’t quite understand the direction Microsoft had chosen in marketing the Xbox One. It even caused some internal backlash from said employees who seemed to think the marketing team had mislead them.
“The feedback we got from the employees, maybe said and unsaid, was, ‘We’ve been working really hard for two years to ship this product,” said Spencer. “You stand on stage at this event and blow up all the good work that we’ve done by talking about the product in a way that’s not really matching what the soul of an Xbox console is about and what our customers are looking for from us.
“I think the team just gets disappointed because they feel let down by the leadership team and I’d say that’s the feeling I heard the most from the team. I had people come up emotional, like they’re reading the forums and people are accusing us of being dishonest with them or having bad intent with why we were building the product that we were, and if you’re a member of the team, you don’t necessarily see across everything that’s going on.”
While the Xbox One has managed to recover somewhat, the dent made from that initial poor launch is still one that undoubtedly still stings even if Spencer nor anyone else at Microsoft will publicly say it. The industry has changed significantly since then, and the company is looking to the future to get back on track. Hopefully, the company is on the same page this time around.