Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Phil Spencer’s Xbox comments show why Sony is winning

OPINION: It’s been a tough time for Microsoft as of late – the company’s planned buyout of Activision Blizzard has gone up in flames after being rejected by the CMA, and Xbox’s latest big-name title, Arkane Studios’ Redfall, is having such a disappointing launch that Xbox Game Studios, Phil Spencer himself, has made public his disdain.

In a recent interview with Kinda Funny Games, Spencer can be heard saying: “There’s nothing that’s more difficult for me than disappointing the Xbox community. To watch the community lose confidence and be disappointed, I’m disappointed. I’m upset with myself. We’ll revisit our process.”

Triple-A games falling flat on their face isn’t anything new – just think back a few years to remember how disastrous the launch of Cyberpunk 2049 was. What is rare is to see someone so high up in the chain publicly acknowledge a lacklustre launch so quickly, but it might have been seen as a moment of humility that could have humanised Spencer amongst the various CEOs who tend not to draw much in the way of public sympathy.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case as further comments later on in the interview point towards a misguided business plan that makes the future of Xbox seem bleak:

“I see commentary out there–‘ If you just build great games, everything will turn around.’ It’s just not true [that] if we go off and build great games, all of a sudden you’re going to see console share shift in some dramatic way.”

Front top side view of a black Xbox standing on black background

If that statement is something that Spencer truly believes, and not something said off the cuff, then that’s really underwhelming to hear. Speaking for myself here, although I’m sure there are plenty of gamers who agree with me that the process of deciding which console to buy next almost entirely comes down to which games are likely to arrive on the platform, and which games it already has out of the gate.

Even though the Xbox Series S is arguably the best offer available when it comes to next-gen gaming due to its unbelievably low price, I still chose to invest in a PS5 first because of the knowledge that it would be the place to play titles like God of War Ragnarok and anything that Naughty Dog has in the pipeline. The library of games on offer has always been more important than the prowess of the tech involved, you only need to see the success of the Nintendo Switch to see that.

Going even further back, I remember buying the Xbox 360 precisely because of its incredible array of exclusive titles. Must-have games like the Gears of War series, Halo 3 and Dead Rising all caught my attention and helped me to justify buying a whole other console, even though we already had a PS3 in the house.

Given that the Xbox Series X/S are having trouble nailing down must-buy exclusives, Spencer’s comments would at least shed some light as to why this is the case but it’s a sad state of affairs if the CEO of one of the biggest gaming companies in the world has completely misunderstood the market until now.

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2003, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have millions of users a month from around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.

Trusted Reviews Logo

Sign up to our newsletter

Get the best of Trusted Reviews delivered right to your inbox.

This is a test error message with some extra words