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IGN: Phil Spencer Has Now Been Head of Xbox for 10 Years; We Look Back at His First Decade

Raziel

Member
main-qimg-6be30492e9c7c53997217ffe96edd401
 

Killer8

Member
Phil arguably saved the Xbox business when he took over. Seriously it was this close to just getting shuttered after the Xbox One disaster. If he hadn't pitched the idea that Xbox was actually worth saving to Nutella then the Xbox story would've ended in 2014. Buying up some studios made logical sense as the brand had been coasting on three pillars - Halo, Gears and Forza - as well as money hatting third parties for far too long. Xbox One X helped to lessen the power differential between Xbox and PlayStation. Game Pass was warmly received and in general has been a success for MS. The backwards compatibility initiative, while not perfect, has helped to preserve Xbox's legacy dating back to 2001 and should be applauded.

However. Phil's time at MS should also be a case study in comeback flops and squandered goodwill. Their solution to their first party library problem has continued to just be buying out studio after studio, to fairly mediocre results. We've seen software droughts worse than the 360 era somehow, and generally speaking the reception has been average - some hits, but also some shocking flops (Redfall). It makes you wonder if the billions that have been invested in the last few years were even worth it, as all we can really see is a changing of the guard at those studios rather than them truly adding identity and quality to the Xbox brand. The Series sales are in the toilet and it's gotten so bad that MS are now seemingly pivoting to a pseudo-third party and service focused brand.

Phil might have saved Xbox from the grave but it's now just shambling around like the undead instead.
 
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Dane

Member
Genuine question then: what Japanese games have skipped Xbox this gen besides FF XVI, FF VII Rebirth and Forspoken? All the big ones I can think of have come to Xbox: Elden Ring, Dragon's Dogma 2, Dragon Quest, SF6, Tekken 8, RE4 Remake, RE Village, Wu Long, even smaller ones like Octopath Traveller, let alone stuff like Yakuza, Persona, KOF, Samurai Showdown etc.

Even stuff like that Little Red Riding Hood game and Unicorn Overlord are on Xbox this gen. Missing a few of the big Square-Enix FF gamaes doesn't sound like Xbox is missing most Japanese games anymore IMO. And stuff like Rise of the Ronin are 2P (1P/3P co-developed exclusive); Stellar Blade's a Korean game and also 2P.

Just not seeing this reality where most Japanese games are skipping Xbox, even when sales are lowest on that platform (which is all the time).
Honesly at this point most games that have skipped Xbox One have been never on the brand, such as Nippon Ichi and Gust games.
 

ungalo

Member
It's incredible that they're talking about games like Sunset Overdrive to give him credits.

When he took over he cancelled a lot of projects greenlit under Mattrick, it's why 2016 was the last year with a decent amount of big exclusive games, those were the last Mattrick games.

And among the rare games he didn't cancel he managed to release Crackdown 3, an absolute dogshit game.

After that there was very little variety and ambition in the Xbox releases, a lot of empty years. Some exceptions but not very impressive in such a long period of time
 

Jimmy_liv

Member
As much as I love my xbox, then years on and xbox is now again in another utter mess.

And so Spencer hasn't really done anything to gain traction and has wasted billions in the process.

Needs to be canned for me and bring Peter Moore back.
 
It’s the more niche stuff. You’re listing the obvious big games. I’m talking about games that likely aren’t on your radar. One easy example of the top of my head is Monster Hunter Stories.

Okay, but that's just one game. The PS5 doesn't get all the niche stuff either, because some of it's exclusive to the Switch in Japan. I don't think any system is 'owed' a game just because the system exists.

That said, I agree with the rest of what you were saying and see why all of that combined made you leave Xbox. I just see the argument about lack of Japanese games on the platform and just get curious what people really mean by that. IMO it probably has more than it deserves considering how it's doing in the market, but it's a far cry from the OG Xbox or even XBO days.

Maybe only the 360 had better Japanese support but that's because it got some lucky defacto exclusives early on, and MS directly funded a few themselves like Blue Dragon which was in addition to all the once-exclusive PS Japanese 3P going multiplat for various reasons that gen.
 

Kacho

Member
Okay, but that's just one game. The PS5 doesn't get all the niche stuff either, because some of it's exclusive to the Switch in Japan. I don't think any system is 'owed' a game just because the system exists.

That said, I agree with the rest of what you were saying and see why all of that combined made you leave Xbox. I just see the argument about lack of Japanese games on the platform and just get curious what people really mean by that. IMO it probably has more than it deserves considering how it's doing in the market, but it's a far cry from the OG Xbox or even XBO days.

Maybe only the 360 had better Japanese support but that's because it got some lucky defacto exclusives early on, and MS directly funded a few themselves like Blue Dragon which was in addition to all the once-exclusive PS Japanese 3P going multiplat for various reasons that gen.
My dude, I love ya but I’m too inebriated for this. I’m talking stuff like EDF and various virtual novels, Ys, Trails from the Sky, etc etc etc. I don’t care enough to come up with a comprehensive list for you. It’s the inconsistency that bothers me. Do you understand?
 
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Humdinger

Member
I was on an Xbox centric forum from about 2014 to 2019, and during that time, mostly what I saw were people discouraged by the Xbox One launch but who were also very critical of the press reception (Sony bias!). They had a lot of confidence in Phil. They loved the BC program. They loved Gamepass. The problem was the issue of exclusives and "wait until next year." As the years went by, they got gradually more defensive around that subject, jumping like squirrels into console warrior mode the moment it was mentioned. Over time, more and more people drifted away. I visited the forum recently, and it's a shadow of its former self, maybe 20 guys left.
 

TVexperto

Member
Its been 10 years of saying oh next year will be great for Xbox and it has not come,I do not understand how people keep giving them the benefit of the doubt and saying if they just get the first party studios rolling.It has not happened and will continue to not happen.They are betting so much on Bethesda returning to its pre Fallout76 self and Activision
 

Arsic

Loves his juicy stink trail scent
Phil arguably saved the Xbox business when he took over. Seriously it was this close to just getting shuttered after the Xbox One disaster. If he hadn't pitched the idea that Xbox was actually worth saving to Nutella then the Xbox story would've ended in 2014. Buying up some studios made logical sense as the brand had been coasting on three pillars - Halo, Gears and Forza - as well as money hatting third parties for far too long. Xbox One X helped to lessen the power differential between Xbox and PlayStation. Game Pass was warmly received and in general has been a success for MS. The backwards compatibility initiative, while not perfect, has helped to preserve Xbox's legacy dating back to 2001 and should be applauded.

However. Phil's time at MS should also be a case study in comeback flops and squandered goodwill. Their solution to their first party library problem has continued to just be buying out studio after studio, to fairly mediocre results. We've seen software droughts worse than the 360 era somehow, and generally speaking the reception has been average - some hits, but also some shocking flops (Redfall). It makes you wonder if the billions that have been invested in the last few years were even worth it, as all we can really see is a changing of the guard at those studios rather than them truly adding identity and quality to the Xbox brand. The Series sales are in the toilet and it's gotten so bad that MS are now seemingly pivoting to a pseudo-third party and service focused brand.

Phil might have saved Xbox from the grave but it's now just shambling around like the undead instead.

200w.gif
 

Kumomeme

Member
kim jong un GIF


2014 :

2015 :

2016 :

2017 :

2018 :

2019 :

2020 :

2021 :

2022 :

2023 :

2024 :

I Promise Joe Biden GIF by The Democrats
I Mean Joe Biden GIF by The Democrats


'sometimes' there is even more than one promise made each year
 
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Honesly at this point most games that have skipped Xbox One have been never on the brand, such as Nippon Ichi and Gust games.

Oh XBO I know a TON of Japanese games skipped that. I was more talking about Xbox Series, though. It seems to have been getting those games whereas XBO was skipped over, though now XBS is pacing way behind XBO in sales.

I'm guessing a combination of more Japanese devs porting to PC, early optimism over XBS console prospects this gen, and Microsoft going out of their way to get those ports (Game Pass deals, etc.) are the reasons why.

It's incredible that they're talking about games like Sunset Overdrive to give him credits.

When he took over he cancelled a lot of projects greenlit under Mattrick, it's why 2016 was the last year with a decent amount of big exclusive games, those were the last Mattrick games.

And among the rare games he didn't cancel he managed to release Crackdown 3, an absolute dogshit game.

After that there was very little variety and ambition in the Xbox releases, a lot of empty years. Some exceptions but not very impressive in such a long period of time

Wouldn't say variety has been too bad for them the past few years. Just excusing Zenimax & ABK content, you've got arcade racers, simulation racers, flight simulators, platformers, strategy games, action RPGs, 3D platformers, 2D RPGs, survival GAAS etc.

IMO the actual problem is lack of consistent quality (i.e Forza Motorsport bomba, RedFail etc.), lack of surefire big hits (Starfield failed in this respect), lack of mass market-appealing games that can be specifically associated with Xbox consoles exclusively, and lack of genuine exclusives (everything is Day 1 on PC). Those four factors have pretty much made the console completely irrelevant now, and sales are finally reflecting that.

My dude, I love ya but I’m too inebriated for this. I’m talking stuff like EDF and various virtual novels, Ys, Trails from the Sky, etc etc etc. I don’t care enough to come up with a comprehensive list for you. It’s the inconsistency that bothers me. Do you understand?

Okay yeah, I get you there. But c'mon, those are really, really, realllly niche games. With the way Xbox's install base has been going it's pretty obvious why they haven't been getting those games.

But usually when I hear people complain about lack of Japanese support on Xbox they make it sound like it's the big games skipping them this gen when honestly, it's at most maybe the new mainline Final Fantasy games. And at this point who knows if that'll continue being the case or not. I think people like Jez Corden have really soured and exaggerated that particular conversation since they've acted like a couple of big AAA releases from a specific IP = many Japanese devs skipping Xbox this gen.

If the Xbox console brand were healthy, it'd get those smaller niche games but the devs don't think the platform's worth the effort, and Microsoft don't think they're worth paying upfront to bring to their console. Just is what it is.
 

Yoda

Member
Don Mattrick left a dumpster fire. I'd say he put out the fire, but couldn't figure out how to regain lost ground. He's also very bad with talent. None of the major creative executives have a good track record and he's slow to replace them. His acquisition strategy is also quite weak. Most of the companies he's acquiring were obviously past their prime and living on past glories. I think a good anecdote here is Microsoft's opinion of BG3 as a third rate game, but blinding assuming anything with a recognizable IP was worth more than an Avengers movie budget. I can't comment on King, but I suspect the suits at Microsoft will regret the ActivisionBlizzard purchase in 5 to 10 years once they realize Blizzard is a husk of itself and Call Of Duty simply isn't worth 10s of billions of dollars.
 

Mooreberg

is sharpening a shovel and digging a ditch
kim jong un GIF


2014 :

2015 :

2016 :

2017 :

2018 :

2019 :

2020 :

2021 :

2022 :

2023 :

2024 :

I Promise Joe Biden GIF by The Democrats
I Mean Joe Biden GIF by The Democrats


'sometimes' there is even more than one promise made each year

holy-fucking-shit-balls-batman.png
 

Fredrik

Member
All these AAA studios with big headcounts sitting around doing teambuilding exercises and hitting their DEI quotas. Like what is The Initiative doing?
The Initiative is a new studio, I think it’s okay for them to take some extra time before releasing something.
But what is The Coalition doing? They released the Hivebusters DLC for Gears 5 and made a cutscene in Unreal 5. Then nothing.
And iD? Not even a teaser.
Undead Labs? State of Decay 2 was released 6 years ago. All we’ve seen from SoD3 is a prerendered concept trailer.
Rare? Everwild seemed interesting, was announced 5 years ago.
Software output has been terrible.
 

Mr.Phoenix

Member
People keep saying that Phil saved Xbox. And then ultimately killed it.

But to me, how did he ever actually save Xbox. Dude came in, and a lower bar couldn't have been set for him to succeed after The Don. He basically came in, and reversed some obviously ridiculously poor decisions. Thats like saying whoever decided to get rid of Ken saved Playstation, when in fact, that was just correcting a mistake, the real work that saved Playstation came from Kaz.

To me, Phil came in, made some obvious course-correct decisions, released a couple of Halos, Gears and Forzas, peddled all his for the gamers nonsense.... and then went on to make decision after decision that ultimately led to the demise of the platform.

And what I find puzzling today, is that when he was making those decisions, there were a lot of people (myself included) that could see how those were bad choices, that could see exactly where those poor choices could take Xbox. But fans and the media (that are now burning him at the stake), were praising him. 10 years, over $100B later, and look at where Xbox is, in that same time, Sony has rebooted GOW, pushed new IPs like Horizon, Spiderman, Ghost of Tsushima, Returnal, Helldivers....etc (hell even days gone), and that's just talking about the IPs where they at least got some success and not even mentioning some of the old continuing ones. And what has Xbox done in that time?

Phil has been killing Xbox for 10 years. How a lot didn't see that is beyond me.
 
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HoodWinked

Member
Phil is like someone at the blackjack table that knows the optimal strategy but keeps getting delt 16. It will be very difficult for him to get 21 and just has to keep hoping the dealer busts.
 

DaGwaphics

Member
A lot of great moves that I've enjoyed along with maybe some end of an era moves here at the end. The X1 debacle just seems like something they couldn't get themselves reset from, which isn't entirely on Spencer.

At any rate, Xbox players have an amazing year of releases in 2024.

Everything is always changing though, maybe Xbox will think outside the box and deliver something next that we didn't know we needed until it was available. Quick resume still the best new feature of the generation by a mile.
 
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TheTony316

Member
Okay, but that's just one game. The PS5 doesn't get all the niche stuff either, because some of it's exclusive to the Switch in Japan. I don't think any system is 'owed' a game just because the system exists.

That said, I agree with the rest of what you were saying and see why all of that combined made you leave Xbox. I just see the argument about lack of Japanese games on the platform and just get curious what people really mean by that. IMO it probably has more than it deserves considering how it's doing in the market, but it's a far cry from the OG Xbox or even XBO days.

Maybe only the 360 had better Japanese support but that's because it got some lucky defacto exclusives early on, and MS directly funded a few themselves like Blue Dragon which was in addition to all the once-exclusive PS Japanese 3P going multiplat for various reasons that gen.

TBF, outside of mainline Final Fantasy games Xbox hasn't been lacking Japanese support this gen. It's just that vast majority still prefer to buy those games on anything but an Xbox.

Support is better than what it used to be but it's still pretty bad. They still miss entire franchises and the vast majority of A-AA games.

Earth Defence Force series
Granblue series
Disgea series
YS series
Legend of Heroes series
Atelier series
Live a Live
MonHun Stories
Star Ocean 2 Remake
Final Fantasy Pixel collection

just to name a few.
 
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TheTony316

Member
Okay yeah, I get you there. But c'mon, those are really, really, realllly niche games. With the way Xbox's install base has been going it's pretty obvious why they haven't been getting those games.

Most japanese games/franchises are niche and make up the majority of the japanese gaming industry. Japanese AAA games are a few and far between in comparison.
 
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eerik9000

Member
Phil Spencer is like Elon Musk of video games. Extremely successful at convincing investors to give him money to burn. Extremely successful at bulding a cult of personality with millions of retarded followers. Says a lot of shit while not achieving anything. Always promises, never delivers.
 
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