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Closing out 2020 with Phil Spencer

cormack12

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Mar 21, 2013
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Summary
  • Retrospective on announcing the XSX at last years VGA, references COVID and how the teams rallied for the launch. Proud of the teams and launching the new console;
  • Consoles are selling out quickly. Still making them as fast as they can and getting them to retailers;
  • They get asked 'why didn't they supply more/start earlier?'. This is just down to physics and engineering - all assembly lines are still on full production schedules. Has been on the phone to AMD asking how do they increase production;
  • PS5 also in tight supply so illustrates it's just one of those things that they have to deal with. A lot of hardware is constrained at that moment;
  • Thanks the SOC (ops) teams for keeping xbox services up over the holiday. Insight into morning calls about any issues and reports on service health, dealing with the holiday spike in activity;
  • Contrasts that and remembers years that weren't great in terms of uptime and availability;
  • Phil is currently playing Destiny 2 (still), Tetris:effect, Halo:Reach on Legendary, Gears 5 and Hivebusters (praises the coalition for Hivebusters), a ton of Valhalla;
  • Quick resume - is one of those things that's a small quality of life enhancement but will be a game changer. Started on Xbox One, while testing VRR. Now they have an SSD, their focus is 'how many games can we put in quick resume because it's not at 100% yet'. Changes the way you play games, always being paused and kakes drop in, drop out so accessible;
  • Velocity architecture is the key that enables the 10 second quick resume;
  • Talking about UI features to incorporate for quick resume like a quick resume tile which makes it clear which games are in the carousel and 'paused';
  • Major Nelson has been playing something called Sparkle 2;
  • Has been playing a lot on a retail Series S, on his PC monitor and sometimes switches the input during teams calls (don't tell Satya!);
  • Series S has really stood on its own, hitting the technical targets and made its value at that price point. Some games load slightly faster because they don't have to squeeze 4K assets down the pipes. Same speed SSD in both. Glad to have both SKUs on the market;
  • Looking at holiday numbers and christmas day was massive (assuming login numbers rather than sales);
  • Gaming - not just xbox - (as a business) is doing really well at time of need when peoples are stuck at home and need distractions;
  • Focused on making gaming as widely accessible as possible;
  • Thinks of the millions of people who aren't gamers and how to get them involved in games/stories in which you have agency etc;
  • Gamepass took it to the next level in 2020 - the catalogue of games. Undisputed best value in gaming;
  • Compared it to Netflix numbers and adoption to 1 million subs and it was years before they hit that number. Gamepass is only 3 years old and the numbers they are hitting are impressive. Creators now appraoching Microsoft and pitching 'gamepass' games. Getting EA Play was big and 2021 it will get even bigger;
  • Talks about success of Among Us, Phil has never played it. Has it installed on PC though, might play with majornelson;
  • Flight simulator - incredible history, actually predates windows. Phil never worked on Flight Sim though the studio reported to him previously. Gamepass allows them to focus on building something like this, targeted at the niche/hardcore but gives an easy way for others to try/test it without the risk of dropping full retail price. And in time it can grow that hardcore/niche audience;
  • Thinks back to 2004 and the 360 days and the first thoughts of a peer 2 peer marketplace, used steam as a good model to mimic. Remembers the livery editor for Forza and talks about unlocking creative modes for the users (mods, features, graphics etc.) to give games longer legs. Talks about how it would need to be curated/managed so breaking items don't get published;
  • Talks about Bethesda acquisition, couldn't sleep night before announcement and it was amazing to see the reaction from the xbox users, but more importantly the Bethesda teams as well. Talks about Starfield and as yet unannounced projects which are going to be top class. Can't wait to close the deal and get them working and plugged in to the Microsoft programme of work;
  • Talks about their RPG capabilities with InXile, Playground, Obsidian, Bethesda and FPS with id, 343, their profile has doubled and is excited for the coming games;
  • Demand for gaming is increasing, and has become part of the weekly entertainment for people including music, reading and TV;
  • A lot of people see majornelson as just PR but he does a lot of work behind the scenes and is proud of how their socials aren't super serious;
  • xCloud has been invested in for a couple of years. They will get to iOS and PC in 2021 and expand the regions they are in. Getting so much feedback on what to improve, features to add etc. Perfect companion for gamepass ultimate. When people try it, they seem to like it and adopt it;
  • They are noticing a growing number of people choose to not have a TV these days, they get their content through large tablets, PC monitors or mobile devices so need a delivery mechanism for that market;
  • They have a roadmap of the next 1-3 years of emerging and new tech, and then long term 3-10 years to decide which experiments to invest in to change the market. Both see long term tech as interesting and want to be part of xbox when they finally get delivered;
  • Despite this, Phil tries to avoid talking ahead of himself (after some mistakes he has leaned from) to manage expectation but has confidence in the teams to maybe take risks in other areas;
  • 20 years since original xbox launched which is crazy. Acknowledges the original vision and creators and how succession planning is on their mind;
  • Final words: Diffcult year, thanks everyone for coming together and how the communities love for games gives the teams a lot of energy to continue.
 

Desless1

Neo Member
Aug 26, 2017
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Thanks for the summary.

Good listening and its clearly the year of pandemic of 2020 had an impact on all of us. Incredible that both MS and SONY managed to get so much done despite the situation.
Seems like 2021 will be a big year as well, which is good for all of us.

Really looking forward to the Bethesda acq, and what it can contribute MS and the gaming community with.
 

Schmick

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Aug 7, 2019
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Too many exciting tidbits!!

Surely VR is going to be a thing for Xbox ("They have a roadmap of the next 1-3 years of emerging and new tech"). I sure hope they have taken notice of the positive feedback FS2020 VR is getting.

And with regards to GamePass all the naysayers need to take note "Creators now approaching Microsoft and pitching 'gamepass' games".
 
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Desless1

Neo Member
Aug 26, 2017
44
37
270
Too many exciting tidbits!!

Surely VR is going to be a thing for Xbox ("They have a roadmap of the next 1-3 years of emerging and new tech"). I sure hope they have taken notice of the positive feedback FS2020 VR is getting.

And with regards to GamePass all the naysayers need to take note "Creators now approaching Microsoft and pitching 'gamepass' games".
Really don't know about VR, as a technology the application for gaming is not good enough.

I am more inclined to believe that over the next year's an increasing usage og AI and ML will take over. Applications for these have such a broader implication on gaming then anything else.

With proven DLSS from Nvidia and AMD working on similar techniques we have barely scratched the surface of what's possible.

I also think we might see some new distribution channels emerging over the next year's, and as gaming gain more traction new companies will have a piece of the cake.

Consolidation of companies, sharing old and new tech will be broaden and we as gamers will be the winner of it all.

I do fear for physical media, this year will be the end of it. So working on platform that will allow gamers to sell/buy digital games will come quite soon I am sure.
 

Panajev2001a

GAF's Pleasant Genius
Jun 7, 2004
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Too many exciting tidbits!!

Surely VR is going to be a thing for Xbox ("They have a roadmap of the next 1-3 years of emerging and new tech"). I sure hope they have taken notice of the positive feedback FS2020 VR is getting.

And with regards to GamePass all the naysayers need to take note "Creators now approaching Microsoft and pitching 'gamepass' games".
Exactly, games optimised for the GamePass business model is exactly what those people were saying and were not happy with.
It was the GamePass early fans that said that it was a business model compatible with releasing current AAA games day and date for free (taking a share of the subscription service £11 per month fee) and that it was a sustainable model for third parties without changing how the games are made and monetised.
 
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cormack12

Gold Member
Mar 21, 2013
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I won't but you missed the point of my comment. There is no reason for him to be using one when he could just as easily be using a Series X.

To be fair he probably has to use all hardware to get a view on how it's all working and performing.its nice to be told but nothing like actually using the equipment. Even Yoshida had a Vita! I imagine he has to sort of get a handle on xcloud, cloud saves and everything else all works and integrates.

It might also just be convenient because of size on his desk.
 

DarkMage619

Member
Jun 19, 2004
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I won't but you missed the point of my comment. There is no reason for him to be using one when he could just as easily be using a Series X.
He has an XSX. He said he was connected to the TV he had in his living room. The XSS is much smaller and he had it set up in his home office and used it occasionally when he was on conference calls from work. There is a perfectly good reason he has both.
 

Magog.

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Dec 31, 2020
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He has an XSX. He said he was connected to the TV he had in his living room. The XSS is much smaller and he had it set up in his home office and used it occasionally when he was on conference calls from work. There is a perfectly good reason he has both.

His home office is probably the size of most people's entire houses. There is plenty of room for a series X. He's just trying to hype the product.
 
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Foxhound89

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I won't but you missed the point of my comment. There is no reason for him to be using one when he could just as easily be using a Series X.

His home office is probably the size of most people's entire houses. There is plenty of room for a series X. He's just trying to hype the product.

Lol 😆 are you serious? "He's trying to hype the product" what the fuck else is he supposed to do lmao? Holy shit 😳 well atleast your avatar suits you.
 
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IbizaPocholo

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ibiza

DarkMage619

Member
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His home office is probably the size of most people's entire houses. There is plenty of room for a series X. He's just trying to hype the product.
The XSX is considerably larger than the XSS and he already has an XSX. There are several forum members here who both an XSX and XSS. Sometimes it is for their kids or in a guest room. There are plenty of reasons to opt for a XSS over an XSX.
 

Hendrick's

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Thanks Phil!

my man lol GIF by Steve Harvey TV
 

Elios83

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His home office is probably the size of most people's entire houses. There is plenty of room for a series X. He's just trying to hype the product.

Pretty much, he's just trying to promote Series S constantly.
The system has NOT achieved the technical targets they were talking about (same as XSX at 1440p) like he's stating here and there is zero reason for him to use Series S instead of Series X at his home sticking with an inferior experience and console size is obviously not a problem in the house of a millionaire. He's not using 200$ IKEA's furniture :messenger_tears_of_joy:
It's the usual promotion and PR bullshit with the usual ''good guy'' attitude.
 

Hendrick's

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Pretty much, he's just trying to promote Series S constantly.
The system has NOT achieved the technical targets they were talking about (same as XSX at 1440p) like he's stating here and there is zero reason for him to use Series S instead of Series X at his home sticking with an inferior experience and console size is obviously not a problem in the house of a millionaire. He's not using 200$ IKEA's furniture :messenger_tears_of_joy:
It's the usual promotion and PR bullshit with the usual ''good guy'' attitude.
Are you addled or just trolling? He is the head of the Xbox division, not just PR. It's literally his job to not only play the thing, but also evaluate, inform on design, and yes even promote the thing.

You expect the head of Xbox to not have and use the thing at home just because the Series X is more powerful? How dumb.
 

Elios83

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Jun 30, 2004
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Are you addled or just trolling? He is the head of the Xbox division, not just PR. It's literally his job to not only play the thing, but also evaluate, inform on design, and yes even promote the thing.

You expect the head of Xbox to not have and use the thing at home just because the Series X is more powerful? How dumb.

He obviously has both for evaluation purposes.
But in all recent interviews he has **casually** bothered stating how he plays so much with Series S and it's such a cool system and he loves it.
Some people are simply noticing that this is just pure marketing and promotion for the weak system disguised as personal excitement since there is zero logic reason for a millionarie in a millionaire house to be playing as much with Series S instead of Series X as he claims. But I'm not surprised that some people (the usual people) are willing to believe to whatever he says, even the obvious lie in the same interview that Series S has reached technical targets (yeah what about their marketing lie of "same game as XSX just at a lower 1440p resolution"....while there are downgrades everywhere and resolution is 1080p or less even in many cross gen games).
 

Captain Toad

I advertise for PlayStation. For free.
Dec 1, 2020
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Then don't buy one? Buy a ps5 or xsx instead It's not hard to understand lol it's 299 and for casuals.

Yes, but now when anyone wants to push the X to its limits, has to start with knowing the game must be able to run on the S.

And after Cyberpunk, they must remember to not get too ambitious because if it doesn't run on the weakest hardware, there will be hell to pay.
 

cormack12

Gold Member
Mar 21, 2013
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He obviously has both for evaluation purposes.
But in all recent interviews he has **casually** bothered stating how he plays so much with Series S and it's such a cool system and he loves it.
Some people are simply noticing that this is just pure marketing and promotion for the weak system disguised as personal excitement since there is zero logic reason for a millionarie in a millionaire house to be playing as much with Series S instead of Series X as he claims. But I'm not surprised that some people (the usual people) are willing to believe to whatever he says, even the obvious lie in the same interview that Series S has reached technical targets (yeah what about their marketing lie of "same game as XSX just at a lower 1440p resolution"....while there are downgrades everywhere and resolution is 1080p or less even in many cross gen games).

There's something prevalent in tech called dogfooding where senior techs and execs use their own products in real world environments, not necesarily just themselves but their household in order to test them, evaluate them, come across everyday problems and generally just keep tabs. For example, I have a organsiation-imaged laptop which is on our work domain, has group policies applied, proxies, bitlocker, security hardening so I know what our UX is like. I don't get reports of a problem then open my modern, stripped back PC and am unable to replicate it. When I'm dialled in on VPN I get to encounter all the various issues our users would - SSMS not connecting over VPN? Oh yeah, that's happening to me too, looks like we have the port blocked on that route. It's about being in touch with your products/services. I will always trust and respect execs/techs who 'eat their own dog food'.
 

Riky

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May 11, 2013
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Yes, but now when anyone wants to push the X to its limits, has to start with knowing the game must be able to run on the S.

And after Cyberpunk, they must remember to not get too ambitious because if it doesn't run on the weakest hardware, there will be hell to pay.

The Ori developer addressed this recently, he said it's far easier to scale the GPU load to make a game work and much more difficult to scale the CPU load.

That's why Series S is the way it is.
 

Hudo

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*Enter thread*
*Ctrl + F Age of Empires IV*
*0 results*
*leave thread*
 

Panajev2001a

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Jun 7, 2004
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The Ori developer addressed this recently, he said it's far easier to scale the GPU load to make a game work and much more difficult to scale the CPU load.

That's why Series S is the way it is.
Easier != easy. We have seen titles already using different quality profile beside resolution and dropping the resolution below 1080p... and the generation just started.
 

CatLady

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Jun 12, 2018
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Yes, but now when anyone wants to push the X to its limits, has to start with knowing the game must be able to run on the S.

And after Cyberpunk, they must remember to not get too ambitious because if it doesn't run on the weakest hardware, there will be hell to pay.

Gotta love it, cries in another thread about me liking posts unflattering to her precious but has no problem coming into a positive Xbox thread to troll.
 

Captain Toad

I advertise for PlayStation. For free.
Dec 1, 2020
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Gotta love it, cries in another thread about me liking posts unflattering to her precious but has no problem coming into a positive Xbox thread to troll.

How do you figure? That's a legitimate concern expressed by a ton of people, including diehard Xbox fans.
 
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