Spencer On The Importance Of Games To Windows & The New Microsoft Strategy

Alessio Palumbo
Posted Aug 12, 2015
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Head of Xbox division Phil Spencer has received a lot of praise since his assignment. Truth to be told, he has kept his promises so far, such as making a bigger effort from Microsoft to bring great games to Windows.

Speaking with Polygon in a gargantuan interview, Spencer once again touched on this particular subject, adding that with Windows 10 slowly turning into a service and store games are becoming really important to Microsoft.

As Windows 10 has moved to free upgrade, and us focusing more on service and store, the importance of entertainment and games to the Windows ecosystem has become really prevalent to the company.

So it’s been a nice journey in the year-plus I’ve been on the job, not only for my own growth and the team but watching Microsoft think about how games can play a role in that ecosystem from HoloLens — you see some of the HoloLens Minecraft demos we do — to the work with Windows 10 and Xbox we do. It’s nice. It’s all coming together in a nice way.

So when we’re partnering in these opportunities, it’s not only that there’s a mentality, there’s also people who are having a broader influence. And even my ability to sit at the Windows leadership table and have a discussion about gaming at Microsoft and not just about gaming on one piece of hardware, it has an impact.

You look at gaming and say ‘OK, if this Windows thing and devices in consumer space are going to work, games have to be a vibrant part of the equation,’ absolutely.

Shifting towards the Xbox end of his work, Spencer said that they are now at a point where they have to do more than just fixing things, as they mostly did during his first year in the position.

I think in some ways the first year for me on Xbox the mileposts in front of us to me seemed fairly straightforward, the correct decision, the goal, what’s inside a goal. Focusing on our first party strength and making sure we’re building on those. Those to me seem like the necessary things to put together. Now we’re at a point where our strategy has to move beyond fixing things. The strategy moves to a point of having a vision, as we talked about, and making sure that that vision is something that gamers buy into or teams can implement and that our partner ecosystem supports. It’s a great time.

So just in terms of the energy inside of Team Xbox right now, it’s incredibly high because we feel, ‘OK, the foundation is in place, now let’s go surprise and delight people in some ways that aren’t just fixing some backward looking things.’ That’s also probably the high wire act.

This is where you’ve got to come up with some real great, unique ideas. I love where we’re going. I think of the next year as we start to tell more and more of the story, it’ll be great. There’ll be certain people who’ll throw eggs at certain parts of it and people embrace other parts of it. But I’m really happy around the foundation that we’ve been able to put in place over the last whatever it’s been, 15, 16 months.

Microsoft is bringing Fable Legends, Gears of War Ultimate Edition, Killer Instinct Season 3 and Halo Wars 2 to both Xbox One and Windows 10, with each one of them (except Gears of War) also featuring cross-play.

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