Xbox Boss Admits Some "Wrong Decisions" Were Made With Xbox One

Xbox Boss Admits Some "Wrong Decisions" Were Made With Xbox One

Newly appointed Xbox division boss Phil Spencer admits some decisions the company made regarding the Xbox One were "wrong decisions," and emphasized games will be the focus for the company's E3 showing later this year.

Earlier in the week, Microsoft announced that Xbox executive Phil Spencer would be taking over as the head of the Xbox games division. Following that, Spencer went on camera for his first interview as the head honcho of the Xbox brand with Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb. In the video chat, Spencer admits that Microsoft made some wrong decisions last summer with the Xbox One console, but states there are two sides to it.

There are two sides to the ledger. There is a lot of learning that I did as a leader in the organization, when I just heard how our message resonated with people and some of the decisions that we made, that I think were actually the wrong decisions, and we had to revisit those decisions.

While Spencer didn't elaborate which decisions made were the wrong ones, a fair assumption would be the Xbox One's controversial "always-online" DRM system that got trashed following poor reception from gamers. In the same interview, Spencer was asked about this year's E3 and what he has in mind for Microsoft's presser, to which the executive replied they will once again focus on games -- just like last year's showing.

I had a big content review just yesterday. I mean, it's kind of "inside baseball" but people will see that almost every week, sitting down with the teams and looking what we want to put on stage, what do we want to announce, what we really want to push. We're going to push games. I thought we did a good job last year announcing a lot of new games and having games, games, games being the focus of the show. I want to do the same thing again this year. Not a lot of executive middle-management on stage, just make sure we have creators up there. We got great games that we're showing. You know, people invest a lot of money in Xbox, and that money is invested so that they know they have the best place to play games and that's where their friends will be playing. It's our responsibility to stand up on stage to give them the promise of the games that are coming.

Even if Spencer is just a few days in at his new post, I have to say, it's a very refreshing change. From being all about TV, apps and other entertainment ideas, Spencer seems to push games at the center of the Xbox brand, which is ideal since, y'know, it is a videogame console first and foremost.

Are you liking Spencer's new direction with the Xbox One or will you only believe it once they actually deliver on their promise of putting games first before other entertainment mediums?

For more Xbox One news, take a look at a tech video demoing how the "cloud" can benefit games on the Xbox One platform.

Source: Xbox YouTube

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It's good to see them acknowledging their mistakes this soon. It took Sony a bit longer as I remember.

Acknowledging a mistake alone means nothing though, let's wait for e3 and see waht they have to show.

I'm sure this forum thread is about to explode in anti-Microsoft hate when XBOX lovers remember the greed and stupidity that surrounded the release of their latest beloved console. In life, every good thing is ruined by some jerk trying to make $$, and the XBOX is no exception.

I never understood why when they first showed off the Xbox one at E3 that they didn't just have a balance of Video games and TV to reveal to the audience. There's nothing wrong telling/showing people what your product is now capable of if it couldn't do it before, but in the Xbox's case, it was a games console first, so their decision at the time confused me.

I'm sure the interview was very informative, but the way they filmed it I missed everything under the overwhelming strain of their sense of self importance. /rant

More seriously, the Xbox guys need to go back to the drawing board with everything about the Xbone, the hardware they're stuck with for the next five years, so that's too late. But elsewhere.

They need to re-evaluate what is and isn't behind the pay wall for Xbox Live. As a media box the Xbone is fine (but not great), or it would be fine if most of the online features weren't trying to skin you for more money. There's no reason for Netflix access to require an XBL sub.

They also need to look very hard at how they make money from games too. The most popular adjective surrounding your massively hyped new releases should not be shameless, when that happens you're doing it wrong.

Also, more straight talking, they may be saying game games games right now, but do they mean five really good exclusive games or do they mean a repeat of Ryse, F2Porza and an 'exclusive' Titanfall equivalent? Specifics are better than airy marketing speak.

Plus they need to release that damned $350 no Kinect edition, $400 won't cut it now since Sony will just wipe $50 off the PS4 and keep selling as fast as they can make them. Microsoft still seem to be behaving as if they're in a position of market dominance, we'll see if E3 changes that.

erbi79:
Acknowledging a mistake alone means nothing though, let's wait for e3 and see waht they have to show.

Indeed. Acknowledging a mistake is like an apology or repenting ones sins. It doesn't mean anything without an accompanying effort to change.

Who the fuck is this Major Nelson? He seems like a guy slightly too old for this "internet handle", I mean his real name is Larry Hryb, sounds like his favorite hobby is stamp collecting. He doesn't seem to do much of anything, from what I've seen he is the xbox mascot and nothing more.

Anyway, I am liking the sound of this Phil Spencer fellow. "yeah, we fucked up that last E3 but this E3 is all about games", now he has to live up to that but I can't see them flubbing it.

Last year Sony was "for the gamers" and they kicked the snot out of MS, literally making satirical videos mocking the xbone. Now PS4 is outselling xbone at silly levels, I remember seeing that the PS3 (yes three) was outselling the xbone! So I think MS has the message "we need gamers, not sports fans!", so they will be 95% games.

They of course will mention other crap to do with new services but they would be fools to not have a MASSIVE focus on games.

Some! Think! It was pretty obvious what was wrong with it. I didn't even get mad because the outcome was so predictable.

I really enjoyed that month of constant stupid PR talk and everyone only making sarcastic comments. But yeah, they have to prove it first, and not make stupid ad's like 'believe the hype'.

The Xbox E3 show focused on Games last year?

In that case, I fully expect this years Microsoft E3 show to be 20 minutes about that new Halo TV series. Meanwhile, Sony will probably have some more Indie Devs on stage this year showcasing some of their games and a new game by Naughty Dog. And Nintendo will probably be showcasing new Smash characters and probably some other Wii U games, possibly a Zelda or Metroid title.

Anyway, it's a good thing to acknowledge that one made errors and misread the market, that could go a long way to reversing this errors. But I will believe it when I see it. And even then, I have no desire to buy an Xbox One. The system just doesn't appeal to me.

And right away phil spencer is already more likable than don mattrick was.

Of course the same can be said of a tyrannosaurus blended with a cactus.

In other news germany admits nearly a centry later that the hindenberg had some design flaws and the White Star Line admits that improvements could been made in their chosen course of the RMS Titanic and meanwhile everyone says "duuuh"

Maybe it did take them less time than sony with the PS3 but in that case, it was a lesser disaster and less manaagement got shuffled/fired.

All in all constructive and now we wait for E3 here is hoping both Sont and Microsfot bring they're A game.

Wow, five minutes and the only 2 talking points I heard was "we're now focusing on games" and "we're getting ready for E3". They should have had at least said something about dropping the kinect or some other issue. I was hoping Phil would. They didn't even say that something big will be announced at E3, just they're getting ready. I got a feeling MS is going to continue selling $500 xboxes with a useless camera while Titanfall is the new hit game.

Their biggest mistake (after the DRM fiasco) was the the bundling of the Kinect, raising the price and and dropping some specs to keep the price below $500. The Wii never really got any third party title that properly utilized the motion controls, except maybe the FPSes the used the sensor bar to aim and even Nintendo own games were full of unnecessary motion gimmicks. If no one ever got the Wii's control scheme perfected after 5 years, almost no developer will properly utilize the Kinect even if they're enticed to do so with the entire xbone user base each having a kinect. It's a waste of time for today's already strained developers.

Racecarlock:
And right away phil spencer is already more likable than don mattrick was.

Of course the same can be said of a tyrannosaurus blended with a cactus.

I least he didn't come out and say "Well, we got a system for people who play games. It's called the Xbox 360."

omega 616:
Who the fuck is this Major Nelson? He seems like a guy slightly too old for this "internet handle", I mean his real name is Larry Hryb, sounds like his favorite hobby is stamp collecting. He doesn't seem to do much of anything, from what I've seen he is the xbox mascot and nothing more.

He is the Xbox Live Coordinator or some other crazy title. I've usually seen him do announcements for Xbox Live news and do damage control, like this. Why else would an MS employee interview another MS employee?

Racecarlock:
And right away phil spencer is already more likable than don mattrick was.

I have a theory that Mattrick knew he was on the way out before even the reveal show, so he decided to come out with as many horrible sound bytes as he could in interviews over the next couple of months.

It's the only explanation for the whole 'we have a great system for you, it's called the 360,' schticks and calling people backwards and so on, he has to have been trolling.

fix-the-spade:

I have a theory that Mattrick knew he was on the way out before even the reveal show, so he decided to come out with as many horrible sound bytes as he could in interviews over the next couple of months.

Actually, you do realize that since he was in such a high position, he had to give 6 months notice before leaving Microsoft right? Ironically, while VideoGamer.TV is full of parodies, Matt Lees makes a good point about it:

Basically Mattrick was like how most people who retire from a job feel, they say "fuck it" and don't care.

OT: My one thing for Spencer, make it so that you do the PR work and everything from now on because honestly Major Nelson is not the best candidate for doing the Xbox's PR anymore. He doesn't know what he talks about half the time, and is rather rude as well. Never forget the Angry Joe interview with Major Nelson my friends.

All in all though, this is what Microsoft needs, someone who actually seems to know what they are doing.

Neronium:

Actually, you do realize that since he was in such a high position, he had to give 6 months notice before leaving Microsoft right?

Nope, I didn't know that at all, which explains a lot.

fix-the-spade:

Neronium:

Actually, you do realize that since he was in such a high position, he had to give 6 months notice before leaving Microsoft right?

Nope, I didn't know that at all, which explains a lot.

Yep. For entry level positions you usually have a week to a month period to tell your bosses that you will be leaving. In Don Mattrick's case, he was the head of the Xbox Division so he'd have to give 6 months to a year's notice that he'd be leaving. And in the video I linked, it explains that while Microsoft knew he was leaving, they sorta had to put him out their otherwise their stocks would have dropped (in this case, more than the initial E3 drop). So really we can chalk up the interviews and the E3 PR disaster to him honestly not caring at all.

Now, is it acceptable that he did all of that? No, not really, I mean you can leave your job professionally and still help out. I mean, look at Jack Tretton, former CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America, he pretty much had to give similar notices of stepping down to Sony, but he didn't decide to screw them over like how Mattrick decided to screw over Microsoft.

Neronium:

Eh... not really impressed. Sure, MS isn't going to be overly upset by a few whiners on internet forums, but preorder numbers and finding out that Sony is selling a more powerful console for $100 cheaper *will* get their attention. It certainly got their attention enough to make them change policies.

6 months of notice would apply if Matrick was leaving normally, but it's not like it's coded into law. CEOs have left on shorter notice, and the timing is kind of weird to be planned (right before a major product launch?). Looking at what was going on at Zynga I'm also not convinced that Mark Pincus had put in a 6-months notice before he left, which would have been necessary for Matrick to know where he was going (Planned CEO stepdowns are usually announced well beforehand).

From a corporate board perspective, the video game market is stagnant and saturated. Everyone either has a video game system, knows what it is and plans on getting one when they have the money, or doesn't want one. Even in developing countries, people know what the Xbox or Playstation is, and with no obvious untapped markets like what Nintendo did with the Wii, game companies are under pressure to expand their purchasing base; this means, finding non-gaming reasons to buy a console. Hence the emphasis on all those other features. It took jeopardizing the whole industry for them to realize that if you don't keep the gamers happy, you don't HAVE a console industry.

This press to find new profits has also led to the nickel-and-dimeing business model we see today, and efforts to squeeze out every last penny of sales through restrictive DRM. The base business model of making and selling games that people want to play just isn't enough anymore, not when game graphics and hardware have to be pushed to the limits just to stay on par.

Racecarlock:
And right away phil spencer is already more likable than don mattrick was.

Of course the same can be said of a tyrannosaurus blended with a cactus.

Of course, they're all like that at first, taking over for a royal clusterf***er and promising they'll do better, only to turn around later and be just as much if not more of a dick to their customers until the next guy who does the same thing.

Words are wind and its too little too late to make up for their shit, at least for me that is. Maybe next cycle I'll give them another shot.

LeenaV:
From a corporate board perspective, the video game market is stagnant and saturated.

It's stagnant because these big companies are too scared to do anything new, and saturated because they are all chasing the same demographic. Everything has to be a billion dollar franchise or its not worth doing at all. If they branched out to different types of games more often, and had more modest games with more modest budgets then they and gamers would be so much better off.

I was really feeling good about this until I saw this portion of his quote...

I thought we did a good job last year announcing a lot of new games and having games, games, games being the focus of the show. I want to do the same thing again this year.

Casual Shinji:
It's good to see them acknowledging their mistakes this soon. It took Sony a bit longer as I remember.

A whole generation, I believe.

But yeah, this was a good thing. Just admit you were wrong, and move on.

I wonder how many minority report-esque psychics they had to hire/kidnap to learn that us gamers actually want games, not endless tv and social media apps.

Maybe im just being grumps mcgee here as this is seemingly a good thing. But every public announcement from them has a sort of bs political speech vibe to it that i cannot ignore

Xsjadoblayde:
I wonder how many minority report-esque psychics they had to hire/kidnap to learn that us gamers actually want games, not endless tv and social media apps.

Maybe im just being grumps mcgee here as this is seemingly a good thing. But every public announcement from them has a sort of bs political speech vibe to it that i cannot ignore

They needed precisely 9000 and no more.

fix-the-spade:
Plus they need to release that damned $350 no Kinect edition

I'm behind everything you said, especially the above quote. I live in Asia where the haven't released the system yet. They have the chance to wipe the slate clean, with the option of choosing kinect a good way to start. Like many gamers, the current generation started last year for me with the PS4. M$ need to try really hard to get me to part with my cash early after release.

SilverStuddedSquirre:

Xsjadoblayde:
I wonder how many minority report-esque psychics they had to hire/kidnap to learn that us gamers actually want games, not endless tv and social media apps.

Maybe im just being grumps mcgee here as this is seemingly a good thing. But every public announcement from them has a sort of bs political speech vibe to it that i cannot ignore

They needed precisely 9000 and no more.

*Bows politely*
You are a wise sage of juicy knowledge...a more suspicious mind may accuse you of being one of those 9000, but i shant lower myself to the level where your mysterious witchcraft scares me!

please dont curse my already tainted bloodline ;)

Xbox division boss Phil Spencer admits some decisions the company made regarding the Xbox One were "wrong decisions"

image

In other news, invading Russia was probably not a good idea for Germany.

Hairless Mammoth:
Wow, five minutes and the only 2 talking points I heard was "we're now focusing on games" and "we're getting ready for E3". They should have had at least said something about dropping the kinect or some other issue. I was hoping Phil would. They didn't even say that something big will be announced at E3, just they're getting ready. I got a feeling MS is going to continue selling $500 xboxes with a useless camera while Titanfall is the new hit game.

Their biggest mistake (after the DRM fiasco) was the the bundling of the Kinect, raising the price and and dropping some specs to keep the price below $500. The Wii never really got any third party title that properly utilized the motion controls, except maybe the FPSes the used the sensor bar to aim and even Nintendo own games were full of unnecessary motion gimmicks. If no one ever got the Wii's control scheme perfected after 5 years, almost no developer will properly utilize the Kinect even if they're enticed to do so with the entire xbone user base each having a kinect. It's a waste of time for today's already strained developers.

Racecarlock:
And right away phil spencer is already more likable than don mattrick was.

Of course the same can be said of a tyrannosaurus blended with a cactus.

I least he didn't come out and say "Well, we got a system for people who play games. It's called the Xbox 360."

omega 616:
Who the fuck is this Major Nelson? He seems like a guy slightly too old for this "internet handle", I mean his real name is Larry Hryb, sounds like his favorite hobby is stamp collecting. He doesn't seem to do much of anything, from what I've seen he is the xbox mascot and nothing more.

He is the Xbox Live Coordinator or some other crazy title. I've usually seen him do announcements for Xbox Live news and do damage control, like this. Why else would an MS employee interview another MS employee?

Have you used the Kinect with the Xbox one? It was not a mistake and is by far one of the best features of the console. It's well integrated and provided developers to actually USE it now that everybody with an xbox HAS it.

Neronium:

Yep. For entry level positions you usually have a week to a month period to tell your bosses that you will be leaving. In Don Mattrick's case, he was the head of the Xbox Division so he'd have to give 6 months to a year's notice that he'd be leaving. And in the video I linked, it explains that while Microsoft knew he was leaving, they sorta had to put him out their otherwise their stocks would have dropped (in this case, more than the initial E3 drop). So really we can chalk up the interviews and the E3 PR disaster to him honestly not caring at all.

really, the period is 6 months there? isnt that a bit too long? in my country the regular folk need2 weeks notice and the management need 4 week notice. thats understandable. but 6 months? that sounds a bit too long, a lot can happe in 6 months. I mean if he was switching jobs what next company has to wait for 6 months for him?

dystopiaINC:
Have you used the Kinect with the Xbox one? It was not a mistake and is by far one of the best features of the console. It's well integrated and provided developers to actually USE it now that everybody with an xbox HAS it.

you mean its supernatural ability to think my sofa is my face or that a cat is second player? its inability to actually do anything better than a controller? what good features does it actually have other than always listening to you?

Good job, Drone-7693-J. You have earned your cookie today and a stay of execution from Drone-8592-B. Keep up the good work.

Mind you, the proof is in the pudding, so get to work!

 

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