Last year, post-Xbox One launch, Microsoft’s Phil Spencer admitted to the public that the company hadn’t done enough for PC Gaming in the years following their domination of the market and the rise (and fall) of Games for Windows Live. With a new CEO at the helm and Stephen Elop now heading up the devices division of Microsoft, which includes Xbox, the company felt it prudent to commit itself to gaming once again, this time for the console market. More specifically, Phil Spencer had to say this once again.
At SXSW 2014, an annual music, film, and interactive conference and festival held in Austin, Texas, Spencer outlined that Microsoft under the lead of Satya Nadella would continue with their initiatives in gaming as Nadella’s own words in his introduction of Microsoft were that the company enables people to “do more, learn more, create more and play more. We’re a ‘do-more’ company!”
Spencer acknowledges the fears that gamers and investors may have with Stephen Elop, the trojan horse sent to kill Nokia, having the responsibility of bringing the devices department out of the doldrums and says that Microsoft remains “extremely committed” to Xbox and gaming as a whole. In a discussion at SXSW, he talked about how Microsoft’s other executives and especially their CEO saw the Xbox brand.
“In terms of Microsoft’s commitment in the space, I know both Satya and Stephen Elop, I know them well. I’ve had explicit conversations with them about Microsoft’s commitment to Xbox — they’re extremely committed to Xbox,” Spencer said.
But being “committed” doesn’t say much when you consider the company’s track record, especially with nothing being done to radically change Games for Windows Live’s offerings before its downfall, or to make it more competitive against Valve or Good Old Games. Even when it comes to DirectX enhancements and updates, Microsoft has had trouble in recent years convincing developers to stop using DirectX 9 as the default rendering engine.
Being “committed” to gaming and Xbox will mean that a lot more work needs to be done to regain the trust of gamers. They’ve used that word before and PC gamers were on the short end of that stick. Spencer addresses this as well during the panel and addresses Xbox as a whole brand, rather than the 360 and the One separately.
“Xbox is a really critical brand for us as a company as Microsoft; when you think about consumers, what they love about our company, Xbox is one of the most beloved brands that the company has,” said Spencer. “We’re in the middle of a good, competitive battle in the console space with PlayStation, which is great for the industry. And they remain extremely committed to us succeeding with Xbox, which is nice to hear, right?”
“It’s something that resonates well inside the walls when you’re talking to the teams, or when I stand in front of Xbox fans, I want to make sure that they understand we are extremely committed to this product.”