Spencer: Gaming Is Having a Moment, But We Don’t Want to Exploit Users


There's no doubt that gaming, unlike most industries, is actually seeing several benefits during the COVID-19 induced global lockdowns. We've seen Valve's Steam store breaking records for concurrent online users several times in the past few weeks, and several analysts have indicated the gaming industry as a safe haven from the upcoming economic depression while other forms of entertainment such as films are struggling.

Speaking to Business Insider, Phil Spencer, Head of Gaming at Microsoft, chose to highlight that the company is actively trying not to exploit its users during this difficult situation.

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Gaming right now, globally, is having a moment. Gaming is a social and community connection for many people, and as physical distancing is requiring shelter in place, is requiring that people are physically apart, the social connections and community connections that the games industry brings to people is just expanded.

We track what we call 'new to Xbox customers,' — new to gaming customers — people that we're seeing for the first time. And we're seeing a big flood of new people come in to gaming.

You wouldn't wish this is the way we get here. We've talked [internally at Microsoft] about this. It's about, 'How do you feel that gaming is doing well at a time where the world is hurting?

Our opportunity is to stand on our principles and our values and be there when our customers need us. We want to be very thoughtful and not exploiting the situation. We're not putting in place any different business tactics or other things. We're just trying to keep all the services up, trying to keep the games enjoyable, keeping our networks safe and secure. And being there at a time of need. I'm proud that we can provide this activity for people.

Later today, Gears Tactics will be available to Xbox Game Pass users on PC. The game is well worth it, as pointed out by Chris in our review, and if you haven't tried Xbox Game Pass before you can get the first month of subscription for just one dollar.