They may be down, but Microsoft are definitely not out.
An unfortunate truth of the modern video game industry that many individuals choose to overlook, is that it’s all about the business. There was a time when games were made out of a love for the medium and the drive to develop new and interesting artistic creations, but that is becoming less and less the norm with each passing financial year.
Each new console generation brings with it a crush of fanboys (and fangirls of course), all slavering to represent their chosen platform in a petty argument of “who’s better”. But when the Head of Xbox speaks up on the subject, you need to sit back and pay a bit more attention. This isn’t just some kid playing games.
Speaking to Gameinformer, the Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer has said, “At some level, it is a competition, and I’ve said before I want to win,”…“At the same time, I want to build a great platform for gamers. If somebody else does that too, and they do really well? Hats off to them, but I can have success in our own space if we’re selling a lot of consoles and people are buying games.”
With that being said, Spencer knows that making the PS4 vanish would be counter productive and harm the industry as a whole. But at the same time he wants to sell more Xbox One units than Sony sells PlayStation 4’s. So despite having respect for them from a businessman’s point of view, he still wants to crush them.
“We shipped at the same time and we’re in direct competition with the PS4,” he goes on to say. “I’m not going to duck that. I want to win. I want to win this generation, but I want to win more than I want the other guy to lose. I own a PS4, and it’s not like I want it to get dusty or not have games. But I do want to sell a lot of Xbox Ones, and for many people that’s a direct competition with the PS4. As the Xbox team, we are the underdog.”
Some people may criticize Phil for using words like “win” and “competition”, but at the same time he has done an admirable job in re-branding and reinvigorating the Xbox One after the departure of Don Mattrick who is largely blamed for the consoles embarrassing launch, so can we really blame him for wanting to be a bit competitive?
With that being said, the obvious move for Microsoft is to play it cool and act humble in the face of defeat, thus making any potential wins seem all the more impressive, but with the recent announcement that titles like Ryse: Son of Rome are coming to PC and the unfortunate Tomb Raider exclusivity issue, it’s hard to say just what will happen in the near future.