Microsoft’s Phil Spencer has taken part in a big interview outlining the Xbox One’s conception and the company’s approach to consoles across the last three cycles. He’s also commented on Sony and Nintendo’s activity as of late.
In an interview with OXM, Spencer was asked for his thoughts on Nintendo first, to which he replied, “Nintendo, I think – and there’s some argument about this – that their first-party is such an amazing asset. Their first party studios and IP can lead what they do as a company and the platforms are almost in service to the IP – not in a bad way.
“They have such iconic stories and this will seem somewhat random, but when we go back and do something like Killer Instinct, a little bit of the history of your franchise can actually be important part of people feeling connected. Obviously the history of Killer Instinct isn’t a history on Xbox, but it’s Rare’s history and I think the reaction when we announced it onstage at E3 showed that playing to the people’s heart, I think Nintendo does that as well as anybody in terms of hitting the franchises and having huge success with them.”
Spencer then turned his attention to Sony, and praised the company on all fronts. “Sony – and I’m focused on first-party because of what I do – I really respect their focus on investing in new things and creative things, what they’ve done with David Cage and Quantic Dream around Beyond [Two Souls] and Heavy Rain; they stay committed to franchises even if they don’t sell 10 million units, they’ll stay committed to things,” he stated.
“I think that long-term commitment to franchises is important,” he added, “where it’s easy to pull off the Band-Aid and move onto the next thing [if it doesn't sell]. I respect their stick-to-it-ive-ness. I’ll say, they’ve done a nice job with PS4 [...] When I think about their announcement, their clear focus on a customer, leading with the value proposition of what they’re trying to do, staying true to a vision, I think they’ve done a nice job in how they defined the PS4.”
On Microsoft’s own performance, Spencer lamented on the initial aim to launch Xbox One in 21 territories, which has now been reduced due to delays. He recalled, “I wish we had the global coverage that we originally announced when we stood on stage at E3. I stood on stage and talked about 21 markets… there were things around the voice models and other things we needed to make sure were right in order to really build a box that felt native to the markets we were shipping in.
“It never feels good to stand on stage and talk about 21 markets and ship in 13, but it’s a journey, and it’s not won or lost the day after launch. It will be something that plays out, so making sure the quality of each market when we ship is the important part.”
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