Microsoft's new Xbox leader admits team made some early "wrong decisions" for Xbox One

A few days ago, Microsoft named Phil Spencer, the head of Microsoft Game Studios, to be their new overall head of the Xbox division. Now Spencer is using his time as the new leader of Xbox to go back and admit that some of the early decisions that were made surrounding the Xbox One console were not the best ones.

In both a video interview and in a longer podcast chat with Microsoft's Larry 'Major Nelson" Hryb that were posted over the weekend, Spencer was very open about the fact that the company made some mistakes when they revealed the Xbox One. Microsoft at first announced it was going to put in DRM and game trading restrictions for the console but that didn't please gamers, and the company quickly did a 180 on those plans.

In the video interview, Spencer stated:

There is a lot of learning that I did as a leader in the organization, when I just heard how our message resonated with people and some of the decisions that we made, that I think were actually the wrong decisions, and we had to revisit those decisions.

The interview also had Spencer stating that the anger some gamers had towards Microsoft during that time was upsetting to him, stating that it "kinda hurt me personally so much".

Now that the Xbox One has launched, Spencer says that sales have been great and he feels that the Xbox division will be the key towards the "reemergence for Microsoft as a consumer company." He compared Microsoft's situation with Apple when it launched the first iPod in 2001. That move, combined with the launch of the iTunes store, changed Apple into a huge media force and Spencer believes the Xbox team could do the same for Microsoft.

Source: Xbox on YouTube and Major Nelson Podcast

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

More rumors and leaks about Google's Android TV plans pop up

Next Story

From The Forums: The Start menu's return

30 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

off course not, I don't drive a Kia, I don't live under a bridge, and I don't game in consoles that can't do 4K. The stupid PS4 fans looking at their budget PC as "powerful" are more pathetic than north korea thinking it can strike at the US with some wooden missiles.

4K support is pathetic at best. You're dropping heavy $$$ for little return. Not to mention there's practically no 4K content to play/use.

PS4 is more than enough at 1080p/60fps and only $400, with Blu-ray capability. You'd have to spend much more on a video card alone for that kind of performance. So, no, for it's value it is most certainly not underpowered.

Enough with the MS propaganda spin. Please fix it so streaming media is so much easier like the XBox 360. Maybe even bring out a Media Centre for Metro (Modern UI)

Xbox One and Windows 8 both seeing big reversals due to customer feedback. Microsoft is really turning itself around now that they've gotten rid of the arrogance of people like Sinofsky and Mattrick and the stubbornness of Ballmer.

Microsoft was trying new things. That's not stubbornness. What's stubbornness and arrogant is the small-minded thinking of some people who are completely unwilling to try new things, and therefore believe their way of thinking should rule supreme over all others.

With Windows 8, Microsoft was attempting to try new things to provide new opportunities. Some of it wasn't quite as well executed as it could've been, but the vision was there. Unfortunately, those without any vision decided that because they can't handle change, it was on for young and old, and instead of providing constructive feedback, it was hate street the whole way.

I'm glad they are responding more to feedback now. The Xbox Update Preview is good too for those of us who got invited. They're listening.

Enron said,
I'm glad they are responding more to feedback now. The Xbox Update Preview is good too for those of us who got invited. They're listening.

honestly I was hoping for something a lot more polished like the developer preview for Windows Phone. The Xbox Preview really is a beta program, with every version having broken something while usually not offering much in regards to new features before the final polished release.

Sicarius123 said,

honestly I was hoping for something a lot more polished like the developer preview for Windows Phone. The Xbox Preview really is a beta program, with every version having broken something while usually not offering much in regards to new features before the final polished release.

Not adding new features? Have you been getting the same updates I have? Let's not forget that they've moved almost to a monthly release cycle for updates on Xbox recently. What really do you expect them to deliver in a month?

Nelson also did a 180 after talking with Angry Joe before release. All he did was defend it and try to turn it all around. What a hypocritical toolbag he is. I could care less what he has to say now, he's a tool that will screw whatever bolt needs screwing.

Not a fan of Nelson either, but I think Phil Spencer sounds like he'll be a great guy for the Xbox community. He's seems a lot more genuine, which gives me hope.

NightScreams said,
Nelson also did a 180 after talking with Angry Joe before release. All he did was defend it and try to turn it all around. What a hypocritical toolbag he is. I could care less what he has to say now, he's a tool that will screw whatever bolt needs screwing.

PR people tend to be like that. Don't berate the guy for doing his job.

The way they pitched the Nelson character was that he just loved the Xbox so much he wanted to talk about it in his free time. Either way, he became that marketing toolbag whether he aimed to or not.

The wrong decisions they made were the people they let speak, and their complete lack of preparation to sell their idea.

Give me digital activation of licences from physical media, digital sharing and digital licence transfers any day. Let the gamestops of the world die of they can't survive without game trade ins propping them up. Sadly because Microsoft were so uncoordinated we are stuck with an awful last Gen style of licencing, instead of a model that could of improved from where Steam are now.

i completely agree me and a few of my friends watched the presentation and were turned off by it but when we went to read more of their plans we felt this was a good idea i feel if there wasn't so much confusion thrown around this would've been a good idea from the start

+1
The mistake was not talking about all the gaming features first and leaving people speculating in the dark when there were all kinds of rumors going on led by a community full of stupid misunderstanding nolifers that do nothing but spam the internet all day.
MS should have taken a stance right then and there and put a stop to it instead of waiting until AFTER e3 to talk about the stuff people wanted answers about.

Edited by Thief000, Apr 6 2014, 5:11pm :

Thief000 said,
+1
The mistake was not talking about all the gaming features first and leaving people speculating in the dark when there were all kinds of rumors going on led by a community full of stupid misunderstanding nolifers that do nothing but spam the internet all day.
MS should have taken a stance right then and there and put a stop to it instead of waiting until AFTER e3 to talk about the stuff people wanted answers about.

Did you ever think maybe they never gave answers to many important questions because people wouldn't like the answers? Take family sharing for instance. They were extremely vague about it and there was a rumor that the developers could detect when running in family share mode and restrict the game, turning it into a demo of sorts. Microsoft never clarified anything. If it was really unrestricted and they clarified it right away it would really have helped. And if it was, why was it dropped for downloaded games? Probably because it would just hurt them more if the feature that was supposed to make the insane DRM OK was just crap. I still think that the family sharing feature was a load of ####. There's no way publishers would agree to let you share a game with 10 people that easily. They were up in arms when PSN allowed you to register 5 consoles to run your games on and forced them to make it just 2, they weren't about to allow 10.

Yes, of course.
But the demo mode was completely concocted BS as I know that from an Azure developer at MS working on that (which I reported here many times) and this was later made very clear by MS spokespersons as well. The only time when a timer would kick in was when the owner would start playing the shared game (override) or your connection bugged out.
It also was NEVER going to be 10 players allowed at once as it required online connectivity to check. You could only play games offline for about an hour after disconnection and if you reconnected and someone else played the game you were SOL for that session and should have saved in that hour.
MS did ZERO damage control when those untrue rumors were running wild and the sharing of full games and digital checking is a nice way to keep piracy at bay too, which would have benefited the industry.
Did you ever consider that the current piracy rate on the current generation might be VERY high and even higher than 10 as well (Cliff Bleszinski made a very indicative comment on it at that time)? Right now you can play a game simultaneously on 5 PS consoles and only 2 (one online and one offline) for the Xbox 360.

Edited by Thief000, Apr 6 2014, 7:46pm :

Meant to say that you could register up to 5 PS3s until november 2011 and the last generation (which I still consider very current) and it can still be more consoles if you unregister and register another and then download content on that newly registered console.
Great editing system on this site.../s

Perhaps, but more important is how you react in the future, whether you learn from those mistakes, or just make them again.

Build was a fun event, we even got a glimpse of their roadmap for their long-term future, along with the exciting things that are coming in the near future.. I'd say that they are learning.

So are you not taking his responses as genuine then? I think they deserve the benefit of doubt especially with how proactive they've been in updating the system. It's easy to be negative but I think they've honestly seen the light and will do what it takes to right the ship. After all being a game system doesn't mean they can't do the other stuff only that they need to remember what got them here in the first place.

Coolicer said,
It's always easy to point out "wrong" decisions in retrospect.

I don't think it's going to take much of an oracle to point out the insanity of requiring an "always on" connection to play games and other absurd forms of DRM after years of it failing on the PC side.

Yeah, they must've been in a very insulated bubble when they made the decision to go ahead with it. Luckily someone popped it!

Coolicer said,
It's always easy to point out "wrong" decisions in retrospect.

“wrong” is always subjective, and can mostly only accurately be called wrong with context, which is what hindsight gives.

Saying something is “wrong” before the event, is closer to opinion. And yes, “wrong” after the event, is also basically opinion, but with evidence to back it up.

CuddleVendor said,
the insanity of requiring an "always on" connection to play games
Might have been too soon but I predict we will end up with this one day when high speed internet is ubiquitous.