Speaking candidly during one of 2015’s GeekWire Summits, Microsoft’s Phil Spencer admitted that Sony’s Playstation 4 was a “good product,” one that carried a “huge lead” in sales over the Xbox One. Spencer went on to comment that Microsoft’s initial anti-consumer policies worked alongside several controversial comments from former employees to create a shaky platform for the console at launch. Spencer explained that these decisions led to Microsoft fundamentally losing the trust of their most loyal consumers.
He continued to elaborate by dissecting several of the features that drew criticism upon the console’s reveal, and their impact on customer reception. “Whether it’s always-on, used games, whatever the feature was, we lost the trust in them that they were at the center of our decision-making process,” he began. “Were we building a product for us, or were we building a product for the gamers? And as soon as that question came into people’s minds and they looked at anything, whether it was the power of our box, our launch lineup, microtransactions, any of the features that you talked about, what you find is very quickly you lose the benefit of the doubt.”
Spencer claims that prior to his becoming the head of Xbox in 2014 the Xbox team there was a lack of transparency and sense of mistrust between themselves and their leadership, and that rebuilding these two core pillars is what Spencer claims to have been his “job number one.” He stated that in the years since, he’s seen a substantial improvement, that he’s seen the team transition from one “that’s questioning the leadership of the organization [to one] that’s motivated by the customers that we have and their ability to delight them.” He uses an example in the excitement the team felt to discover their ability to implement the much requested feature of introducing backwards compatibility to their newest console, a feat that Sony has yet to meet.
He concluded by stating that the Xbox team was “not motivated by beating Sony,” but instead “motivated by gaining as many customers as we can.”
The full interview can be watched here.