The Head of Xbox looks outside boxes.
The world is changing, and gaming is really no exception. Between the rise of new genres and services, what we traditionally know as the gaming industry is in a state of evolution. Of the three platform holders, Microsoft has probably changed the most from this last generation. From their launching of the Game Pass service, to opening up their ecosystem to PC (and in rare instances, competitor Nintendo’s Switch), the company is in a very different place than it was when the Xbox One launched in 2013, and if the current Head of Xbox is any indication, it’ll continue to change.
In an extensive interview with Wired, Phil Spencer spoke about the future of Xbox. There he explained that the future of the brand goes beyond consoles, and that more and more the future is focusing on services as well as “focusing on the player and the devices that they have that fit in their lifestyle.” He calls the idea of being restricted from playing with others because of the machine you own “foreign in today’s world.” He compared gaming to Netflix, laying out a vision of gaming going a similar route.
“You and I might watch Netflix. I don’t know where you watch it, where I watch it, but we can have conversations about the shows we watch,” says Spencer. “I want gaming to evolve to that same level.”
Clearly, Spencer is signalling to a more open philosophy, but he’s not necessarily saying that Microsoft will turn into a full third party developer either, stating that the Xbox Series X won’t be the last console they make. He says, “I think there will be—for a long time—a world where people want to play on a television, and we’re committed to that and we will deliver great console experiences. I don’t think Xbox series X is our last console. I think we will do more consoles to make that great television play experience work and be delightful.”
It’s statements like this that makes Spencer earlier statement about people not stressing being able to afford a new Xbox make a lot of sense. Their next console, the Xbox Series X, launches this holiday season.