Microsoft's strategy isn't to sell more consoles than Sony this generation, says Microsoft executive Phil Spencer

Microsoft's strategy isn't to sell more consoles than Sony this generation, says Microsoft executive Phil Spencer
I guess there wasn't much creative energy left when picking a new name.


Microsoft claims that this year's console war will be "fundamentally different" than years before"

Console wars aren’t anything new, and the further we go into the future, the more it seems said wars are fought more amongst fans than it is companies. At least, that’s what Phil Spencer’s comment suggested when he claimed that how many consoles he sells, “versus how many consoles does another company sell,” isn’t a metric he is using to measure success.

Spencer revealed his sentiments on Animal Talking, “the world's first and only talk show that takes place entirely within the world of Animal Crossing New Horizons with celebrity interviews, live musical guests, standup comedy, and more!”

“We’ve really evolved our strategy at Xbox to be more player-centric,” Spencer said when asked what the justification was for players to purchase an Xbox Series X this next generation. “Where our players play the games that they want to play… to take [their] portfolio of games, take their friends with them, and play across a multitude of screens.”

Spencer went on to describe how Microsoft’s strategy is to foster a sense of community across a myriad of devices, not just televisions and Xboxes. “We think access to games, access to your friends, and the community that you play with… [make] people to feel like they’re a member of Xbox.”

“The way the press likes to line up the scorecard,” he went on, “is ‘How many PlayStation 5s versus Xbox Series X sold, how many first-party games sold’… we look at the world as ‘How many players are playing? How many games are they playing? How many friends are they playing with?... that’s just our approach to making Xbox more inclusive.”

Hopefully, for Microsoft, the focusing on games and their enjoyment will pay off in the end – especially when compared to how they went about marketing the Xbox One. Instead of highlighting the “gaming” aspect of their console, Microsoft made the now ill-fated decision to market their console as a “TV platform.” Sony, on the other hand, focused the PlayStation 4’s presentation almost entirely on video games.

That, coupled with the forced integration with the now-forgotten Kinect, contributed massively to the Xbox One’s “loss” of the previous console war. By January 2020, 106.99 million PlayStation 4s had been sold compared to the Xbox One’s paltry 46.36 million.

Spencer revealed that there is a “fundamental difference” between Microsoft’s current strategy than that of “the traditional console war as people talk about it.” Raw sales are only a small portion of Microsoft’s next-gen endeavor, not the main approach. If that weren’t the case, according to Spencer, “we wouldn’t put our games on PC, we wouldn't put our games on Xbox One, we wouldn’t do xCloud, and allow people to play games on their phones.”

As a result of the different philosophy Spencer described, there is more for customers to consider when ultimately deciding on a purchase. “I think there is a real choice and a differentiation for customers, and frankly, the industry,” said Spencer.

The holiday season is nigh upon us, and with the loss of Halo Infinite as a launch title, it remains to be seen just how effective Phil Spencer’s focus on gaming and “inclusivity” will be in the coming months.

More on this topic:


Jose is a left-handed techno-mancer with an affinity for IPAs, big dogs, and black-and-white movies. Rebels are scum, Empire for life.
Gamer Since: 2004
Favorite Genre: RTS
Currently Playing: Wargame: Red Dragon, Battlefield V
Top 3 Favorite Games:Wargame: Red Dragon, Metro: Last Light, Battlefield 4