Phil Spencer explains why joining Xbox and PC is good for gamers

Not sure why this is IGN Brazil and not IGN USA, but:

He talks about console HW upgrades, addressing the issues with the Windows Store, such as multiple gpu’s, v-sync, overlays, mods. He said:

“It is not about us bringing console games to PC, it about us embracing what is great about PC gaming”

I am hopeful all the issues of the Windows Store will be addressed, but we will see.


I like Phil. He seems like a pretty cool guy.


He definitely says the right thing and puts his money where it mouth is most of the time

I like Phil a lot. I like that he says that he’s psyched for certain PS4 games that anyone owning that system would be psyched for. He’s not a fanboy, much to the fanboys chagrin. He’s a gamer, in the best possible usage of the term.

I think that it’s hard for some people to come to grips with the idea that most Xbox One games will be available on PC. Personally, I don’t own a rig that can play most games. I own an Xbox One because I like to sit on the couch in front of my nice TV with a controller and some time to kill.

If you’re a console player, then owning a good PC gives you more options. If you’re a PC player, then you probably weren’t going to buy an Xbox One anyways, and this way MS still gets some of your money. It’s a win-win for both MS and the players.

I really don’t think that the PC market takes too many players away from Xbox One that it otherwise wouldn’t have if gamers weren’t appearing on both console and PC. I have nothing to back that up with beyond a simple hunch, but it seems to make sense to me, so I’m going to run with it. :slightly_smiling:

For those that play online, having more people playing a game that you play is also a large plus. I really don’t see what the downside is beyond the idea of Xbox not having a lot of “exclusives,” but even that’s misleading when you consider the fact that they’re still exclusives in the console world. PS4 and Wii-U owners can’t play Rise of the Tomb Raider yet, they can’t play KI at all. They won’t be able to play Sea of Thieves, Quantum Break, Cuphead, Ori, or several other titles.

So the whole “don’t take our exclusives” argument falls a bit flat to me, even if I see where it comes from.

Anyways, as far as Phil goes specifically, I’m really hoping he can deliver some more JRPGs to the Xbox One. He mentioned something about JRPGs either to IGN or in his speech (can’t remember which), but I’d love to see MS fill out the library in some genres that we don’t seem to have enough games in, particularly this genre as well as fighting games.

While I love the partnerships that produce new IPs (Scalebound in particular looks interesting), I’d also love it if they could partner with some of the more down and out companies like Capcom, Sega or perhaps even Konami to bring back a few of their long forgotten gems for a new generation. Not just remakes, but new, full-fledged console sequels.

I want to see a new Darkstalkers, a new Eternal Champions, a new Skies of Arcadia, a new Suikoden… There are so many good IPs out there just withering on the vine like KI was once. MS has done a phenomenal job bringing KI back from the dead and the fanbase is still growing by leaps and bounds years after the initial release.

While I’d love it if they just pulled a Mojang and bought Sega out from Sammy or purchased Capcom outright, just getting some of their IPs or working with them alongside some talented indy developers to bring some of these games back would be amazing.

Sorry, went on a little rant there! :slight_smile: Just saying that as much as I love what Phil and MS are doing, there’s still a lot more that I’d love to see in certain genres, and more partnerships I really wish they’d consummate with some great new sequels to some classic titles that could fill some of the voids in the XB1 library.

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It’s hard to find anything bad about bringing together different communities, allowing people to play the games they want on what they want with who they want in whatever way they want. It’s super pro consumer and is a nice step in the right direction.


Nice to see that Microsoft is finally embracing PC gaming. UWP is a really great idea. :+1:


I think he need to talk with WB and Netherrealm because of Kombat Pack 2 on PC ! :wink:

IGreat post. I’m pretty much on board with everything you say. The one exception is that I have a moderately competent gaming PC but I buy consoles because I can hook one to each Tv in my house and the specifics of my setups favor having a console - as by Blu Ray dvd Netflix box. So there is some cross mixing of the market. For the most part though, you are right about exclusives. They mostly only matter for convincing people who already own one console to buy the other.

I would rather spend my time gaming in front of my tv on my Xbox than on my PC. Despite what the PC fanboys say, it’s just a lot easier to get the functionality I want and I don’t have to mess around with it. But the idea that I can play my Xbox games on my PC with cross buy is appealing to me - sometimes the kids are in the Tv, lol. I’m really interested to try Fable Legends (but they haven’t let me into the beta, grrrr).

Other than that, the Xbox fanboys are upset because the Ps fanboys give them a hard time about “losing” exclusives to PC. This is not something MS should be basing business decisions around.

EDIT: So I’m sitting in the airport and had time to click on and watch the video, and this thread has really buried the lead. Phil is talking about intra generational hardware upgrades which allow people to keep playing their games. This is a HUGE deal that will get mixed feedback from people. This means moving more towards a SteamBox model (at the extreme end) or towards what Nintendo has done with the 3DS. They are setting the stage to release a more powerful Xbox hardware at some point in the future that runs in the same software as the XboxOne. This is a fundamental shift in how console gaming generations occur and will make the controversy around always online seem like a flash in the pan. Personally, I’m in favor of it because I don’t mind dropping money on hardware upgrades. But people are going to flip out when they get around to announcing this. No indication of when it’s coming, and I wouldn’t bet on soon, but my guess is a LOT sooner than expected we are going to see an XboxOne.5

Good luck with that. To my knowledge, they have not said a word about it anywhere. From the MKX Steam page:

All of them left in the dust. I mean, I don’t know sales figures for the consoles, but for the PC, isn’t this a number big enough to warrant not abandoning them?.

I do not own MKX, but I was considering buying it on PC. Not anymore, and for that matter, nothing with the WB or Netherrealm stamp on it. Moreover, if they decide to finally support their game, should they be praised for doing what they are supposed to do?. I say this because some people has grown accustomed to praise developers when they fix something they broke themselves. A simple “thank you” should suffice, not “WHOAA, praise the developer, they are the best in the world!”

It is interesting how are they going to handle harwdare upgrades since one of the selling points of consoles is that you have one configuration that isn’t that powerful, however games are optimized for it as much as it’s possible. Are they going to release their own hardware every few years? Can you swap out Xbox hardrware for some other PC parts? That a big change they are making.
Also, how will Sony respond? Are they sticking to the tried and true model or will they do something daring too? Maybe they don’t need to do anything, Microsoft might fail miserably and Sony will just strengthen their dominance.

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All good points. If I had to guess they will handle it like iPhone/iPad. Stop selling one system and just replace it with a higher spec one. It will not offer a huge upgrade for new buyers but just handle everything faster and smoother. Then we will see games taking advantage of the newer hardware and (eventually) just not running or running poorly on the original.

The details matter though and you are dead right about optimization. The thing is, consoles have been moving closer and closer to PCs anyway and many predicted we wouldn’t even see this gen, or else they would fail. The market proved them wrong but the fundamentals aren’t changing.

MS has a vision that they are executing - starting with 360 backward compatibility, PC cross compatibility and then (theoretically) forward compatibility for the next XBox. It may fail completely, but I always at least like to know their is a vision.

Tough to know what Sony will do. They are “winning” right now so history suggests they will do nothing until they are forced to.

Warning: long one ahead.

Sony to me seems to be riding the coattails of the mistakes MS made earlier in the Xbox One campaign that was before the era of Phil Spencer. Don Mattrick basically did the development and marketing of the console very few favors early on and set up the Xbox One as this villain of the video game world. Shady DRM practices, always online, owning discs provided no ownership of your titles, no game trade ins, the REQUIRED Kinect accessory, no backwards compatibility, and a convoluted rights transfer system. These things took away rights console owners always had before with their games, and that wasn’t going to sit well with gamers.

So Sony pulls this act where they play off of his mistakes and tell people all the things they want to hear like campaign promises. It’s basically stuff they already had, it was just Sony promising they weren’t going to lose it, not like “IF YOU BOUGHT THE DREADED XBOX ONE!” And ever since then Sony has rode those early mistakes and has counted on the support of their fans to blindly propel them, and it’s sort of worked, given the climate and mood of the industry to customer support up into last year.

Phil Spencer changed the atmosphere when he took up head of the gaming division and gave customers everything they wanted and prioritized all the good things about gaming, while still having vision enough of his own. I think the upgrade-able hardware platform is an ambitious idea to say the least, though a risky venture, but only time will tell on that one, given how MS decides to present and market that in a way that doesn’t overburden the consumer with needless money spending and makes these upgrades easy access, affordable, and informs the consumer about it.

His contributions to the XBox brand have been invaluable to forward progression of the console. As a result of his efforts to listen to the fans, we have so many new features and updates to behold on the console front, backwards compatibility being the crown jewel of his xbox one portfolio so far, and he still continues to roll out more ambitious ideas all the time. Diminishing the gap between console and PC games and refusing to further buy into the idea of console and timed exclusives is a powerful marketing move. There is still a lot of apprehensiveness about the situation given the past trust issues the company has with its customer base, but for the most part, the promises made in the “rebuilding period” Xbox has undergone seem to be setting a new precedent of trust.

For the most part, Sony wants you to think it’s successful, but the truth is, there are about one or two overseas markets it has that the Xbox doesn’t and never will. Japan will never embrace the Xbox, unless it undergoes a region-specific remodel that includes a new look and name, but is still the same hardware, and promises a little more support for Japanese game developers and not just American ones. This is the largest difference in sales figures and is the only real reason Sony produces an “illusion” of market dominance.

This combined with the fact they are still resting on the mistakes of the Don Mattrick era of the Xbox brand, they sit comfortably with no new vision as to the forward movement of their console, sitting stagnant and embracing no major change to their gameplan or doing anything ambitious with their lead in sales. They still sit without a true backwards compatibility function, just a streaming service, that no matter how good it is, it’s still just a rental on a server, and without internet connection, you can’t play the game. There’s no sense of ownership on the game, you’re just borrowing it from a digital service which someday may be discontinued and you will never be able to play that game again without the original physical medium, and the original console it was made for.

The games for the PS4, at least in my opinion, seem underwhelming to me too. With Kingdom Hearts 3 being a confirmed multi-console experience, and rumors of FF7 possibly being multi-console as well, it’s a little as if Sony is losing their grip on what made their console experience different from ours, and in the better aspects of it. They may have some exclusives, but several of their titles are also available for PC cross-platform as well, something most of the fanboys from that side don’t mention very much. Several of their exclusive titles are also under-performing as well, with The Order 1886 being a very short lived game, that while it may be fun, hardly feels like it warrants the $60 price tag it launched for, and Bloodborne looks and feels a lot like the same Dark Souls games that have been multi-console for ages, same concept with a different coat of paint.

They are now even guilty of some bad practices MS has now abandoned, such as the timed exclusives. While MS still has Rise of the Tomb Raider, Sony is embracing the “first on PS4” experience which a lot of people expressed distaste when Xbox did it, and still express the same distaste for it on the PS4. Black Ops 3 on the PS4 has new content first, and there are a few timed exclusive titles launching on the PS4 coming later to Xbox, as well as game content.

“Winning” is a very perspective term at this point, and one side or the other can claim dominance all they want. It doesn’t change the landscape to the educated consumer, who’s only real concern is the games and how they can play them. Following games and not consoles is a much better practice for the industry and the customer, and it feels like Xbox is doing a lot more to embrace this philosophy while adding simple convenience and evolving the experience, without hampering the enjoyment of the gaming experience itself. Meanwhile, Sony is content to ride out the success they’ve enjoyed so far because of a few mistakes, to which Xbox is quickly making up and turning around, all while riding mistakes of their own they’ve made.

I mean really, how low can you get? “Hello, everyone, we all know you’ve been waiting 10 forevers for Shenmue 3, and we would like to announce, NOT that it’s in development, but that we’re hosting a kickstarter that if successful, makes you pay for the game twice, but in a more expensive way, and helps cover our costs should it not be very successful. We didn’t have enough faith in you to buy this on your own merit, so we are going to launch a campaign where if you can prove you love it enough, only then will we develop it!”

So I see a very different progression of both companies as well as the PC generation. All sides have good to merit to them, and they all have their problems. I just want to know, when can I get game X and play it on Y? For me right now, that is when is season 3 and “shut up and take my money.”


I kind of hope that there will be a way to upgrade existing systems, even if it means having to send the system in to MS or take it to an MS store for work; I’d rather pay ~$100 to upgrade the RAM, processor, video card than spend four times that to buy a new system altogether, though this would be a good opportunity for MS to offer trade-up incentives through the MS stores…

For the record, I’ve been a hybrid gamer all my life. I’ve always wandered back and forth between a console, my PC, and handhelds depending on where the games I wanted were available. In many cases, the games are available in both; in those cases, I will often either end up with multiple copies (Fallout 4 for example) or choose a system based on where my friends are planning to play the game (I’m getting The Division for PC.)

There doesn’t need to be console vs PC hostility, but there has been for a long time.

I agree that Sony took advantage of the backlash against MS. I actually suspect they were working in many of those same policies and scrapped them after MS announced them. If you think MS implemented those things without the support of big third party publishers like Activision and EA I think you are being naive. Those guys hate used game sales more than anything…

Anyway, I agree that PS will always do better in Japan and they are favored in Europe. But, frankly, those places buy consoles too (well, maybe Japan doesn’t matter much…) and Ps4 is selling way better.

Honestly, I think launching $100 cheaper with a more powerful system is all you need to explain the gap. All the bad press didn’t help, because it kept MS from explaining why XOne would offer a better experience.

What matters is that Sony feels they are “winning” regardless of any opinions of ours. They are also trying to change the console model with their PsNow streaming service, so I should give them some credit. I just don’t think outside of the home streaming represents a viable technology.

I hold no perceptions MS acted alone in this decision and believe there was pressure from external 3rd party sources such as the mentioned developers. However, I do believe the primary blame of the original DRM practices still solely rests on MS, because in most part Don Mattrick played to those demands without questioning the benefit they have to the consumer or to the game industry, IMO of course. He basically forced an unpopular business practice in cooperation with parties who had a lot to gain from the DRM and digital only sales practices, and tried to make it sound innovative rather than call it for what it was.

I will say in no way did he act alone, but he caved to pressure and corporate influence, and pushed a load of burden on the Xbox brand Phil Spencer is currently trying to undo.

I’ll give them credit for their PS Now service as well. The experience, though I haven’t tried it for myself, from what I’ve gathered on the reported sources I’ve read, say the streaming service is actually very good. No downloading or anything, just an instant, on demand service that plays very well with little lag and no performance issues or difference to the original experience. My issue with the digital service is merely one of ownership.

When you stream the game, you don’t actually own the game. The game is only available on a server, not on your console. This basically ties it to the fact that if support for that service is ever terminated, you lose internet connection, or the servers are ever shut down, you no longer have access to that game. Your only tie to it was ever on-line, and with that link severed, it’s almost as if you never owned it.

I’m not saying true backwards compatibility is an end all answer, but you still feel like you own it whenever you are offline and can play it for all its worth, without having to log in to a server to prove ownership, and having a disc you can trade it on whim should you feel the desire to do so. These streaming services are a small impediment on that feeling of ownership, and leaves some gamers feeling a little powerless.

Basically, I feel like there should be a little more power to the consumer than what the AAA industry is trying to let them have.

Eh, it’s easy to convince yourself that what is good for you is good for the industry. It’s true of both companies and consumers. I have a hard time seeing how used game sales are good for the industry but plenty of people claim it is, and people will (frequently) argue that pirating is good for the industry (or at least not harmful). It’s easy to delude yourself if something is good for you into thinking it’s good for everyone.

I have plenty of experience where a company, not just a group of yes men but people with a shared background and similar perspective on an issue have convinced themselves that there is no way the world could possibly reject the great idea they have cooked up until they get blindsided by negative public reaction (which is perfectly predictable to outside observers).

A lot of what MS tried to introduce with XOne is already in practice in other, very popular services. You can’t trade Steam or iOS games with your friends. I’m guessing XOne was originally envisioned as a disc free system - a lot of the controversial policies are pretty well just accepted for downloads.

It’s worth noting that one of the features of PSNow is that it requires “always online” access to use it. But because it’s not sold as a traditional console people are fine with that. So much is about perception and not about the real services or products.

I won’t argue that piracy is ever good for either side of the arguement. Piracy is one of two extremes in the tug of war occurring between the consumer and the industry, and is an option that actually benefits one side completely to the other, even though it still actually carries risk to all sides. I believe artists and designers of all disciplines of media deserve to be compensated for their work and their ideas, and people should always legitimately buy their TV shows, movies, books, video games, software, music, etc. The clear and obvious benefit to the consumer is free product, but that hurts the creators within the given industry by receiving no compensation for their work, or recognition for their ideas, and no profit with which to reinvest into the market/company/industry to continue further development of said product or new ventures, and creates a one sided distrust between the creators and consumers.

However, the early MS practices were heavily leaning towards what is the other extreme of this argument, one heavily favoring industry, where the customer barely has ownership of their product and by extension, very little right to do with it what they are entitled to upon purchasing that product. Disc ownership would no longer carry with it the same rights or sense of possession it once did, and would feel more like your borrowing it from the industry.

If I go to a bookstore and buy a book, I expect to own that book. I don’t have the rights to take the ideas and stories from that book and do exactly anything I wish, but I own a physical item, the cover, pages, ink. If I then want to put it on a shelf, or sell it on ebay because it’s a rare 1st edition, or any number of scenarios, I should be able to because while I don’t own the story, ideas or experience in that book, I own the physical item that is the book. It’s the same for video games and the trade in business. However, just like with ebay, the trade in business does run the unfortunate side effect of cutting out the original industry and creators from further profit of their product.

It’s arguable how helpful the trade in business is to the video game industry, one that I won’t argue for lack of knowledge and figures to back up any opinion I may have and would be pure conjecture at this point. There are a lot of hypotheticals to this situation, concepts and theories to be the positive and negative effects of this practice, but that is a heavy divergence of the original point.

Xbox was trying to implement a system that proved successful on a different platform (for different reasons) that benefited the industry in such a way, all games were practically non-transferable, non-resalable, digital items, that required an always on approach to verify ownership of the title, and practically no loss of profit, almost always to be at the full $60 price tag, and locking out pirated copies of games (again, piracy is always bad, so locking pirated games is a good thing in that instance). Actual ownership of anything would practically be non-existent.

However, the console and PC platforms are two different beasts, points that were not originally considered in the implementation of the unpopular practices of the original X1 platform, and while Ubisoft, EA, and other parties saw the potential and profitability of the Steam system (to which I also admit I’ve been a customer of as well), they failed to consider how it would impact a console platform. The Steam system works for a PC market because users of the platform often take pride in their machine to play and install games on, customizing and upgrading them when necessary to match the requirements of their favorite game, and typically live in areas where always on requirements are a fairly reasonable requirement, at the cost of constant upgrades, internet connection and any other conditions that the Steam system requires.

Consoles are supposed to offer a much more simplified gaming experience where the games you put in the machine should work simply because the game makers should have optimized that game for the particular console of choice (although there are documented failures of this, so it’s not always the case). I shouldn’t have to jump through extra hoops just to get the games to work out of box. Mario cartridges never required internet connection to play on the NES and SNES, so why should now be any different? Other than to access some multiplayer features maybe, they really shouldn’t, at least IMO. MS was steering clear of the concepts of simple convenience and rights of ownership in the beginning which cause a lot of distrust on the public side. I also read stories of armed forces members not being able to enjoy playing their games overseas during down time simply because internet connection and always on policies were not reasonable, it simply wasn’t fair to ask the same conditions of console owners meet the requirements of PC owners.

Since then, Xbox has made many concessions and changed their policies to something a lot more manageable to the consumer. Should someone choose a digital copy over a physical one, they understand and accept all the implications that comes with that purchase. While I don’t particularly do a lot of trading in, as is evident by my wall of 360 and X1 titles that I still hang on to long after their popularity has dwindled, I do take a sense of pride in the ownership of those products and feel safer and better knowing what options are open to me for making that purchase. It’s a simple act of trust between the industry and consumer that ensures continued business and development. It’s a tough balance to maintain for innovation’s sake and for the protection of profit and ownership, to which there is no easy answer.

However, in the absence of an internet connection, if I can’t play a game I paid any amount of money for simply because without that online link, ownership isn’t proven, I’d say there are some unreasonable obstacles at play.

Also, Andy, if at any time I offended you or anything, I apologize. In no way am I belittling your opinion, and I understand you have your reasons for looking at things the way you, I just have a difference of opinion. I do respect you though man, just to clarify. So no hard feelings man, this discussion has actually been kind of cool.

Phil Spencer’s thoughts, again, on this subject. Confirming he wants to reduce how restricted the Win10 Store is and in conjunction UWP.

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Personally, I like what Phil is doing and hope he keeps doing what he does without compromising.

Shouldn’t this be in off topic though? Just saying.

Extreme tech has a nice piece on Phil’s comments. Its basically saying the bus speed of the mother board is at a fixed rate and that it needs a new one to really warrant any additions or upgrades to the current board. Not to mention the Die size was at the time relative to how powerful it was, the mother board could only house a certain size and the size determined APU cores/graphics capabilities. Ya they can shrink the Die for less power consumption or they can keep the size and add more silicone. but the performance difference wouldn’t matter. They need a new revision with future upgrades in mind.