venturebeat: Xbox boss Phil Spencer made gaming matter to Microsoft

Oct 25, 2017
2,878
#1
You may have noticed that Xbox boss Phil Spencer is throwing around Microsoft’s hefty wallet. The company has made a number of acquisitions over the last year to shore up its first-party game development. And Spencer explained that he earned the right to do that because Microsoft’s executive team is more interested in gaming than ever.

Spencer was on stage today for a discussion at the Barclays Global Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Conference in San Francisco. And he explained that Microsoft’s gaming division generated more than $10 billion in revenue for the first time during its 2018 fiscal year. And surpassing that threshold turned some heads inside Microsoft.
Of course, Microsoft has had a gaming division since the Xbox debuted in 2001. But it has operated in something of its own silo until Spencer joined Microsoft chief executive officer Satya Nadella’s executive team in 2017. Quickly after getting that promotion, Spencer began flexing his muscles as the leader of a core pillar of Microsoft’s business.

“We’ve acquired and started seven new first-party studios in the last year,” said Spencer. “We obviously don’t do that without tremendous support from Satya and Amy.”
And the seven new and acquired studios are different from the big-time bets that Microsoft made before its current strategy. In 2014, ']the company bought Minecraft developer Mojang for $2.5 billion. And Microsoft would only make deals on that scale because that’s all the executive team cared about. But now that Spencer is free to spend some money on his own, he’s making smaller, more strategic deals.
https://venturebeat.com/2018/12/05/xbox-boss-made-microsoft-love-games/

Tried searching and couldn't find this posted anywhere.
 
Feb 10, 2018
5,217
#3
I wonder what sort of budget Phil has for first party acquisitions?
How much does say?, Ninja theory cost?and what exactly is one getting for there money when buying a developer?
I'm guessing they own the I.P, all staff contracts and company name?
How much does that cost?
 
Oct 27, 2017
820
#5
Even though I don't currently have an Xbox, I'm glad they have the flexibility to grow their ecosystem now. Having three really healthy systems can only be good for the industry.
 
Nov 2, 2017
636
#8
Now give us Nuts and Bolts 2 please.
Gonna piggyback for a different question: what's the latest on that rumored Perfect Dark game? What I remember is that there was enough smoke to suggest something was in development. I think Krobille dug up some info, including some evidence The Coalition might be handling it. But nobody knew who the actual dev was, or really anything else.

Is that right?
 
Oct 28, 2017
335
#9
He also purchased the rights to Gears of War and created that new studio as well. Netflix, Hulu, etc. were also removed from behind the Gold paywall after Mattrick left and Phil took. Backwards compatibility was made a huge focus for both 360 and original Xbox games. The XB1 enhanced games with backwards compatibility are free. Game Pass. Play Anywhere. Cross Play. The list goes on. Phil isn't solely responsible for all of these things but he is the person that inspires the Xbox team to be the best they can be.
 
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Oct 25, 2017
1,572
#11
It makes sense but I hope hardware quality and graphics capability doesn’t suffer based on the Netflix of gaming approach. What I would love to see is great native hardware and software titles funded by the subscription revenue. Kind of like Netflix subscription revenue funding Daredevil only you can get a better experience on the dedicated gaming box instead of streaming.
 
Oct 25, 2017
456
#14
I liked giving him shit

But I now think he's delivering for gamers

Game pass is allowing him to build something

And he believes in well made technology which I like
 
Nov 1, 2017
622
#15
Spencer is the best thing to happen to Xbox in a long long time, for as terrible as this generation started for Microsoft they have consistently made up for it with their unexpectedly pro consumer pivot, I am pretty excited to see what a next generation console looks like under his guidance, Scarlett should be something extraordinary.
 

Benji

US Sales Insider
Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,120
#16
People joke about Phil being the "savior of the Xbox" to the point of being a meme

But honestly, hes the best person to ever lead that Division and frankly has been a huge advocate for gaming and the community inside MS.

So yeah, props to him. Couldn't think of a better person for the job
 
Oct 28, 2017
1,195
NYC
#18
Game Pass is the best subscription gaming has to offer, definitively and without question. So yeah, just keep doing what you're doing into next gen and there will be amazing times for gamers ahead.
 

NSA

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,473
California
#20
Someone should update this through 2018



I remember people being overly excited for Phil, and people who thought he'd crash and burn. I was more in the excited camp, until E3 2015 and the BC initiave.. then I was fully on board.
 

Toni

Member
Nov 13, 2017
447
#21
I concur wholeheartedly.

The man has had a stand out performance ever since he took over his current division at Xbox.
 

Iwao

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,101
#22
They closed like 6-7 first-party studios in 2016, and that included losing exclusive partnerships with third-party devs like Remedy and Platinum.

They needed to, at some point, get back to where they were. It had to happen.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,063
#23
He also purchased the rights to Gears of War and created that new studio as well. Netflix, Hulu, etc. were also removed from behind the Gold paywall after Mattrick left and Phil took. Backwards compatibility was made a huge focus for both 360 and original Xbox games. The XB1 enhanced games with backwards compatibility are free. Game Pass. Play Anywhere. Cross Play. The list goes on. Phil isn't solely responsible for all of these things but he is the person that inspires the Xbox team to be the best they can be.
Wait, you had to pay for Gold so that you could pay for Netflix access on your Xbox? That's crazy lol.

I think you still have to pay for F2P games as well which is dumb
 
Oct 29, 2017
2,940
#24
Phil Spencer has been such a positive force for Xbox that it's really hard to imagine where the brand would be without him. His impact has been incredible.
 
Oct 28, 2017
335
#25
Wait, you had to pay for Gold so that you could pay for Netflix access on your Xbox? That's crazy lol.

I think you still have to pay for F2P games as well which is dumb
Yes you did. All the way up until summer of 2014 actually. Not that long ago. The paying for gold for F2P games is something I haven't seen anyone challenge to Phil's face or see him respond to. I'd be interested in see what he has to say around that. This is coming from a huge Phil Spencer fan but I think part of the appeal of him is he has made Xbox more transparent and open to change when people state they don't agree with something or think a policy needs updating he is usually open to it if it makes sense for everyone.
 
#26
They closed like 6-7 first-party studios in 2016, and that included losing exclusive partnerships with third-party devs like Remedy and Platinum.

They needed to, at some point, get back to where they were. It had to happen.
They've gone back to where they were and then some.

They now have as many, if not more 1st party studios than Sony does. They're not done buying either.
 
Nov 5, 2017
422
#27
CNBC: "In the company's most recent fiscal year, which ended in June, gaming represented 9.4 percent of total revenue."
“Amy Hood, our CFO, she likes to tell me I’ve made ‘the spreadsheet,'” Spencer said during a fireside chat (via CNBC). “So she’s going to pay attention.”

^^ I absolutely love that line. Like a child talking about the honor roll or Dean's List. Phil has a smart sense of humor. ^^
 
Nov 2, 2017
2,073
#28
I don't know if it is Phil making the higher ups at Microsoft more aware, or the other way around, but I think it's important that Microsoft always compete on its core strength, SOFTWARE. Game Pass was very forward thinking, and I really believe it will be the most important innovation in the next "generation" of gaming. As soon as you can use Game Pass on any device, Microsoft will have something very competitive on their hands.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,615
Pacifica, CA
#29
Gonna piggyback for a different question: what's the latest on that rumored Perfect Dark game? What I remember is that there was enough smoke to suggest something was in development. I think Krobille dug up some info, including some evidence The Coalition might be handling it. But nobody knew who the actual dev was, or really anything else.

Is that right?
I'd love to see what a new Perfect Dark game would look like. I have a feeling that they'd ditch the first-person perspective and go for a much more tactical approach to the game play.

Anyway, yes, Phil's one of the best things to happen to Xbox in the brand's history.
 

Iwao

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,101
#31
They've gone back to where they were and then some.

They now have as many, if not more 1st party studios than Sony does. They're not done buying either.
I'm not going to get into list wars, but they currently have less studios than Sony does, and Sony is not done in the creation/expansion of studios either, nor do I doubt they're hesitant to acquire.

It's going to be a very exciting thing to watch what all of these first-party studios will make when next-gen comes around.
 

Flux

Member
Oct 28, 2017
1,593
#33
They've gone back to where they were and then some.

They now have as many, if not more 1st party studios than Sony does. They're not done buying either.
If they want GamePass to have a constant flow of content, they'll need a good few more studios. I expect more to be acquired in 2019.
 
#34
I'm not going to get into list wars, but they currently have less studios than Sony does, and Sony is not done in the creation/expansion of studios either, nor do I doubt they're hesitant to acquire.

It's going to be a very exciting thing to watch what all of these first-party studios will make when next-gen comes around.
Feel free.

I already checked Wikipedia just now.

13 each in terms of active studios that actually make games. 1 of Sony's 13 is a VR only studio too.
 
Oct 28, 2017
1,195
NYC
#35
They closed like 6-7 first-party studios in 2016, and that included losing exclusive partnerships with third-party devs like Remedy and Platinum.

They needed to, at some point, get back to where they were. It had to happen.
It's insane how you always find ways to diminish positive Xbox news in some sort of way, consistantly.

I'm not going to get into list wars, but they currently have less studios than Sony does, and Sony is not done in the creation/expansion of studios either, nor do I doubt they're hesitant to acquire.
What he said can be proven by multiple credible sources. What you're doing is speaking conjecture and wishful thinking. Not saying it can't happen, but there are two different scenarios at play here.
 
Oct 28, 2017
335
#36
If they want GamePass to have a constant flow of content, they'll need a good few more studios. I expect more to be acquired in 2019.
Klobrille has already stated Microsoft is in deep talks with a mid sized studio that traditionally has worked with Sony. Of course nothing is 100% and talks are just talks at this point.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,540
#37
Honesty the biggest thing from me when it comes to ho they are handling their studios is having multiple teams within the studio. I think 343 Turn 10, and The Coalition are the only studios focused on one IP.
 
Oct 25, 2017
5,552
Utah, USA
#46
I'm not going to get into list wars, but they currently have less studios than Sony does, and Sony is not done in the creation/expansion of studios either, nor do I doubt they're hesitant to acquire.

It's going to be a very exciting thing to watch what all of these first-party studios will make when next-gen comes around.
They are actually on par. Both have 13 studios and a couple of Sony’s studios are VR studios.
 
Oct 30, 2017
366
#47
I was very skeptical of him but over the years he grew on me. I like the direction Xbox is heading and even though they aren't quite there yet on the PC gaming side, I like that they are trying.

With that said, I have a sealed Xbox One X in the corner of my room and I can't find a good enough reason to open it. I thought it over and there's like 1 game series that I would miss out on if I was to just return it and get my money back. Is one series really worth $400+? I don't really think so. However, they are headed in the right direction so maybe in the future I will jump in.
 
Oct 25, 2017
8,218
Terana
#48
he's seriously been great. The Xbox One X and Game Pass are a success and I'm def getting whatever they put out next gen. They've righted the ship.
 
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E.T.

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,170
#49
Glad Xbox is returning to form, because this generation was embarassing on the software and pr front for the brand.
360 was amazing and I am still dumbfounded as to how they misread the market so badly in 2013.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,931
Los Angeles
#50
I’m so happy he’s managed to turn around Xbox from what Mattrick created. It’s just a bummer it took basically a whole generation to get shit pointed in the right direction. I can’t wait to see what they bring next gen.