MS’s Spencer Doesn’t “Look” At PC As Competition For Xbox Scorpio Like Sony Does


While Sony has stated that the PC is the main competitor of the PS4 Pro, Microsoft’s head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, looks at things differently for the upcoming Xbox Scorpio.

Following the reveal of the PS4 Pro during Sony’s PlayStation Meeting earlier this month, Sony’s Andrew House stated that their enhanced PS4 console is aimed at preventing user migration to PC.

“It suggested that there’s a dip mid-console lifecycle where the players who want the very best graphical experience will start to migrate to PC, because that’s obviously where it’s to be had. We wanted to keep those people within our ecosystem by giving them the very best and very highest [performance quality]. So the net result of those thoughts was PlayStation 4 Pro – and, by and large, a graphical approach to game improvement”, House told The Guardian.

During a recent interview with NZGamer, Spencer was asked whether their "big push" for performance doesn't just make a case for PC gaming, instead of picking up the Xbox Scorpio when it releases next year. The Xbox executive answered this question quite extensively and also mentioned Sony's statement regarding the PS4 Pro and its PC competition.

NZGamer: The main push for the Scorpio has been that bump in fidelity; 4K, HDR. You claim that first party titles will run natively at 4K, instead of being upscaled compared to the Pro. Microsoft has been very bullish in its claims in social media – that Tweet with all the check-marks, saying what our systems can do. If you’re so power conscious – if a big push for you is to reach a subset of the console market that really cares about performance – aren’t you just making a case for the PC? What is it to stop people from jumping right over the Scorpio, and going to the PC?

Spencer: Yeah, it’s like you’re in our design meetings in a way, as we’ve talked about this. I usually don’t do this, but for this one I will specifically talk about Sony. I think they’ve come out and said PC is their competition.

NZGamer: Right.

Spencer: And I just don’t look at it that way. I know that some of our best Xbox customers also play games on the PC. I think for many gamers, there’s this artificial decision when a new game comes out – let’s use an example like Overwatch, because it’s an incredibly popular, great game from Blizzard and not one of ours.

So with Overwatch, when you go and buy this, you’ve got to make this decision on day one: “Are my friends playing on PC, or on console? If they’re on console, which one are they playing on?” And that’s going to dictate which version of Overwatch you’re going to buy.

According to Spencer, having to pick a platform early on , doesn’t help the developer (and publisher) and gamer at all. Microsoft’s goal is to put the game itself at the centre of their new platform.

When I think about it, I think that’s an unnatural decision tree that doesn’t help Blizzard, and doesn’t help the gamer. Really, what I want is people to be able to buy games, and play it where you want to play it right now. If that means you want to play it on your PC because you’re at work, and if you want to use the controller we have Bluetooth, or keyboard or mouse then PC games support that. Then when you’re at home, if you want to sit on the couch with a controller in your hands and play on your TV – you should be able to play the same games, with the same state, the same friends, the same progress and achievements. That’s kind of what led us into XPA.

So if I get to your question, I don’t think I’m pushing people over – I think I’m actually putting the game at the centre of how we think about our platform. What do they want to do? If they want to play their games on PC, I’m not trying to trick anybody into buying an Xbox.

Microsoft recently released their first Xbox Play Anywhere titles, and this will extend to third-party titles as well. The focus for Microsoft is to build a platform that allows players to decide on what platform they’ll play a certain title, wherever they want.

What I’m saying is, for our first party games we’re seeing more adoption of XPA, and with third-party games as well. Just buy the games that you want to play. If you want to play them on PC today, and console tomorrow, we’re going to support that. If you never want to play on an Xbox, that’s OK. If you said you only want to play an Xbox that’s OK as well. You make the decision about the games you want to play, and where you want to play them. We’re going to build a platform that supports that.

We highly suggest you read the full NZGamer interview with Spencer as it details Microsoft's vision for the future of gaming quite well.