“I think about gamers first.”
Xbox boss Phil Spencer has always been very vocal about his priorities in the gaming industry, and how he doesn’t think about competing with Sony or PlayStation, but about helping the industry at large grow further. In an interview with GameSpot, he once again reiterated those sentiments, saying that he thinks, first and foremost, about gamers, and doesn’t look at Sony and PlayStation as competition.
“I think about gamers first,” Spencer said when the PlayStation versus Xbox “console war” topic was brought up during the interview. “I think about games first. I want us as a games industry to continue to grow. That’s why I’m here. There are a billion gamers on the planet. Our business is doing well on Xbox, Sony have done a great job with PlayStation, and I love what Nintendo’s done with the launch of the Switch.”
Spencer went on to speak about how the console market has grown exponentially over the last few years, despite how there had been rampant predictions everywhere that with the advent of mobile gaming, console gaming wasn’t going to last much longer. “Five years ago when I was here, it was all like ‘the death of consoles, everybody is gonna play on their iPad, why don’t you guys go home’. Honestly, those were the questions. And now we’re sitting here with Sony doing really well, we’re doing well, the Switch has come out of the gate incredibly strong. I don’t get those questions anymore, so that feels good.”
“I see a vibrancy in the games that are here, across all platforms,” Spencer continued, speaking of video games that were present and shown-off at this year’s E3. “I watched Sony’s [E3 press event] yesterday, I thought Spider-Man looked great. They’ve got a strong collection of games that they’re showing, their first party is doing well. We showed forty-two games, and there was Mario this morning,” he added as a smile touched his face.
However, Spencer doesn’t appreciate the fact that people online are, more than anything else, always looking to pit the PlayStation and the Xbox against each other. “It’s a great time to be in this industry,” he said, “and for people to try to make this industry about fighting with each other as opposed to growing the industry itself… I just don’t think it’s a long-term view on an activity that I love, which is playing games. I grew up playing games with my dad, I played games with my daughters. I wanna be playing games for the next forty, fifty years- as long as I’m around.”
He continued- “I think the infighting that I feel on the internet, and I’m sure you guys see it on your message boards, it doesn’t feel like an investment for what it means for gaming to grow. We don’t have to see another company fail in order for us to succeed,” he concluded. “It’s not part of the math of running the business.”
That’s a very admirable sentiment, not just because of its simplicity, but also because it makes so much sense. People in our industry often have a hard time wrapping their heads around the idea that all the so-called “competition” can be doing well at the same time. Spencer seems to get it, and it’s great to see him publicly acknowledging it and actually putting it into practice.