Head of Xbox Phil Spencer: 'Our Strategy is Centered Around the Player, Not the Device'

Head of Xbox Phil Spencer: 'Our Strategy is Centered Around the Player, Not the Device' - News

by William D'Angelo , posted on 05 July 2020 / 1,182 Views

Phil Spencer in a new interview with BBC discussed the Xbox Series X and their current strategy revolving around the Xbox ecosystem. He is not worried about how many Xbox consoles are sold this year, but instead is focused on the player and how to best support them. 

Microsoft for the next year or two plans to release their games as cross-generational, with a release on the Xbox Series X, Xbox One and Windows PC. This is so people who want to play the latest games who can't afford an Xbox Series X at launch, can still play them.

With Smart Delivery games purchased on the Xbox One will get an upgrade to the Xbox Series X version for free. All first-party titles will support this program and some third-party games, like Cyberpunk 2077 and Madden NFL 21, have also been confirmed.

Xbox Series X

"People find real value in the investment that they make in gaming," said Spencer. "You can buy a console, buy some games, and it can literally provide your family with hundreds of hours of entertainment.

"Even when we went back and looked at 2008-09, in that recession, to see what the impact was on gaming - gaming did OK. It was durable. We want to make sure we're providing the right value to customers. Price is going to be important.

"But our strategy is centered around the player, not the device. If this is not the year when a family wants to make a decision to buy a new Xbox, that's OK. Our strategy does not revolve around how many Xboxes I sell this year.

"We're focused on delivering services through Xbox Game Pass, which allows people to build their library for a monthly fee. Backward compatibility means that the console that they have will play thousands and thousands of games. Smart delivery means when they move to the next generation, the games will move with them."

Xbox Series X

Spencer added Xbox Game Pass subscribers play 40 percent more games and that games are played over time, so it is not just about what happens today. 

"We've seen our subscribers play 40% more games than others, which we just think is great in terms of people finding a diversity of content," he said. 

"The cycle in games is a little different than some of the other media out there. Games are very durable, they're played over time, so it's not just about what happened today.

"One of our biggest games is Minecraft, and it just crossed over 200 million players. We just had one of our biggest months ever in terms of Minecraft usage. The game is 10 years old. You don't really see that in many other forms of media.

"So for us, it's about engagement with large player bases, giving them a great place to go play, find friends and find new games."

Microsoft plans to launch the Xbox Series X in Holiday 2020.


A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel dedicated to gaming Let's Plays and tutorials. You can contact the author at wdangelo@vgchartz.com or on Twitter @TrunksWD.


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11 Comments

2zosteven (on 08 June 2020)

Show me the games!!!


mjk45 (on 09 June 2020)

the truth is the Xbox one has not sold the software that the 360 did and game pass and there BC endeavours main aim was keeping their base locked into the ecosystem, the last thing they want is a continuation of the kind of decline that occured this gen what they have done is looked at how to stem the bleeding and also changed the narrative by talking player numbers /hours number of BC games available anything that makes comparing their perfomance to not only the competition but also their own past performance harder.


Cerebralbore101 (on 08 June 2020)

TL/DR: There's a recession coming so we made it easier for people to keep playing on XB1 instead of upgrading to Series X. I wonder if this strategy will give XB1 any legs, or if sales will continue to plummet below 50k weekly.


VAMatt (on 08 June 2020)

Legs unlikely, though I could see some decent holiday sales this year if they price it at $99.


  • +2
Trunkin (on 08 June 2020)

Even if hardware sales don't improve, software will see continuous growth. I think that's the point.


  • +5
Cerebralbore101 (on 09 June 2020)

I miss the times when consoles were $99. @Trunkin man, that really hammers it home that MS is focused on game sales not hardware sales these days. :(


  • 0
DonFerrari (on 08 June 2020)

It is expected that GP would game more often since they have new games always available, good to see 40% increase due to it. Now regarding centering on the player, myself I prefer to have the best and newer experience. Anyone buying the current gen console now knowing there is another coming will have option for like 4000+ titles so really no lack of good games to play even if next gen games don't come to the current gen console.


Moseskyle83 (on 08 June 2020)

I think what Phil n Microsoft are doing now is totally amazing because the one thing I learned about buying a new console is the games launching on them was always so trash n I always wished I had waited but now it means that if I do become a day one buyer at least it means I got all my library n back log of games I can continue to play n also have it play better on the new console.


DonFerrari (on 09 June 2020)

He is actually giving a reason not to buy XSX for couple years


  • +5
Moseskyle83 (on 09 June 2020)

Well you could say that about the Xbox one x why did people buy that just to play the same game at better resolution n stuff. I never buy a console day one but this time I might as I seen the difference it made For me when playing on the x compared to my day one console


  • 0
DonFerrari (on 09 June 2020)

Not disputing that. But the crossgen and playanywhere are strategies that make you not need to buy the XSX, the BC is one that makes it easier for you to move on. But the balance certainly isn't one that push you to move forward (it won't put more newer content on the XSX). And on BC account PS5 will have the PS4 games while Sony so far haven't said anything on doing crossgen with titles not announced yet, so PS fans have more reasons to move to the next system than Xbox, reason why Phill is saying they are thinking on the player not the device (as opposed to Sony focusing on moving people to PS5 as fast as possible).


  • 0