In a recent interview Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox at Microsoft sat down with The Verge’s Nilay Patel on the podcast Decoder. Phil Spencer to his credit and Microsofts have been making sure that this generation starts very differently and pro-active than the last. The Xbox One generation suffered from miscommunication. Microsoft’s Xbox division tried to be all things to the gaming industry, meaning that they were willing to step out front on long-standing issues that affected publishers, and manufacturers; while trying to push the industry forward with Kinect 2.0. Microsoft’s Xbox division was left holding the bag that almost K.O’d the division. From infighting for resources to a proclamation of change initiated by Sataya Nadella. Microsoft’s Xbox division entered into a new era once Phil Spencer came on board, and changes started to become visible on the outside. The last line, getting games that are homegrown and launching a new console are priorities. As a result, we have seen a significant change in the way that Xbox PR is handled. It does not matter if you are a small creator with a podcast on YouTube, or if you are an established publishing platform. Microsoft’s gaming division has conversations for all levels of the press, in doing so they are setting the tone and tenor on how they want to communicate with the gaming audience and industry at large.
At this point, if you are only speculating on what you heard via rumor then you are doing yourself a disservice by being misinformed on the Xbox platform going forward. In speaking with The Verge Phil Spencer was able to again lend clarity to the conversation around the Xbox Series X launch and how 2020 has been going. Along with answering questions related to the acquisition of Zenimax media/Bethesda publishing, he also spoke about the development woes of Halo Infinite and the late disbursement of tool assets for developers. As you may or not know, AMD earlier this month fully disclosed that all features for RDNA 2 are available to developers. Microsoft followed by saying that the Xbox Series of consoles were the only ones on market to have all of these features. How this mixes with the development of games means that Xbox can send out mature tools and assets that will allow devs to fully optimize and develop for the platforms.
One of the more significant topics of conversation was about extreme fandom turning into tribalism in gaming. Phil’s take on it was that the toxicity of this avenue would be the thing to drive him from the industry. What’s interesting about this is the fact that gaming is definitely a sport, and people are rooting for their teams so to speak in their own way. At the same time, there is a sense of entitlement that goes beyond being a fan into the realm of salacious disrespect that causes a very abhorrent attitude to emerge, and in this regard, Phil is right about the tribalism of the gaming fan side. Guess what, developers are not immune to this as we have seen them either take sides or say nothing at all which fuels the drama that can happen in gaming. All in all Phil Spencer’s interview with The Verge was one for the ages and ends the 2020 launch year of new consoles in spectacular fashion.