Xbox boss Phil Spencer isn’t hopeful about PS4 cross-platform gaming

Xbox’s big boss Phil Spencer isn’t feeling particularly positive about cross-platform gaming with the PlayStation 4, as Sony doesn’t seem to be getting keen on the idea. 

Microsoft has been working on expanding cross-platform play to both Sony and Nintendo, notably for Minecraft, but Spencer, in an interview with GameSpot, noted that only the latter has been keen to play nice with Redmond’s Xbox.

“The relationship with Nintendo on this front has been strong. They’ve been great supporters and we continue to collaborate with them,” he said.

But Spencer in’t so convinced that Sony is up for the cross-platform gaming, despite Microsoft’s dialogue with its gaming rival.

“We talk to Sony all the time. With Minecraft on PlayStation, we have to be one of the biggest games on their platform in terms of sales and gameplay,” he said. “But I think Sony’s view is different. They should talk about what their view is…”

Sony has previously said it didn’t want to go in for cross-platform gaming with Minecraft because it would need to relinquish some control over how it looks after is online gamer base. Moreover, in a cross-platform environment it couldn’t manage any problems that crop up, such as bullying between gamers, and exposing young children who play Minecraft to some of the toxic attitudes and behaviours of older gamers.

While Spencer is not exactly hopeful that Sony will change its stance, he was clear to point out to the GameSpot interviewer that he can’t talk on Sony’s behalf and that some day PlayStation gamers may be able to play online with Xbox One users. And he’s a big advocate of cross-platform gaming in general, which would lead us to suspect we’ll see more Xbox Live and Windows 10 PC cross-play games before to long.

“I think people look at [cross-play] and say is it better for gamers. If it’s better for gamers, I have a hard time thinking why we shouldn’t go do this, especially when you’re trying to make the gaming business a bigger business; grow it, get more games, create more opportunity,” explained Spencer.

Related: Xbox One X hands-on preview

Are you keen on cross-platform gaming or should Sony and Microsoft stick to their own consoles? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook. 

Microsoft to accelerate growth in gaming as Xbox leader Phil Spencer joins senior leadership team – GeekWire

Microsoft executive Phil Spencer speaks at the GeekWire Summit in 2015.

As part of a strategy to accelerate its gaming business across the company, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella today named Xbox leader Phil Spencer to its senior leadership team.

Spencer, who joined Microsoft nearly three decades ago, was previously a corporate vice president leading the Xbox team. He’ll continue to oversee Xbox-related projects, but his new title is “executive vice president, Gaming at Microsoft.” Spencer will report directly to Nadella.

“In this role, Spencer is accountable for leading Microsoft’s gaming business across all devices and services,” Spencer’s new bio reads. “With his team and game development partners, Spencer continues to push the boundaries of creativity, technical innovation and fun across gaming genres, audiences and devices.”

Microsoft’s gaming arm will continue to share resources with the company’s Windows and Devices Group; there will be no changes to the financial reporting segments.

Spencer was named head of Xbox in March 2014, just after Nadella became CEO, replacing previous leader Marc Whitten. Spencer led the launch of both Xbox One S and Xbox One X and has also helped drive growth for Xbox Live, which now counts 52 million monthly active users.

The promotion, announced today in an email to employees from Nadella, signifies Microsoft’s intention to grow gaming beyond its Xbox business — with Windows 10, esports, Mixer, etc.

In a company-wide memo sent in June, Nadella outlined five core customer solution areas that he wants employees to prioritize. They include modern workplace; business applications; applications and infrastructure; data and AI; and gaming.

Another memo sent to employees by Microsoft executives a few days later detailed a shift in the company’s consumer and commercial businesses; it also noted how gaming is growing across all its device types thanks to the rise of esports, game broadcasting and mixed reality.

Microsoft recently rebranded the Beam streaming service it acquired last year as Mixer and integrated it into Xbox. Mixed reality is also a big area of emphasis for the company, with the HoloLens device and a series of other headsets made by Microsoft partners that are set to debut later this year.

Separately, Microsoft also announced today that its Enterprise Mobility and Security team (EMS) will move from Cloud and Enterprise to the Windows and Devices Group. Its new team name is Enterprise Mobility & Management, which will be led by Brad Anderson, a corporate vice president who previously led EMS.

Phil Spencer Expects PUBG To Be Very Big on Xbox for Many Years; Says He’s Incredibly Happy for Bluehole

PUBG (PLAYERUNKNOWN’s Battlegrounds) is without a doubt the hottest game on the market, setting sales records almost every week since its launch on Steam Early Access.

Just this weekend, PUBG became the top game ever on Steam when it comes to concurrent users with over 1.3 million players logging online at the same time.

With this kind of numbers being pulled off, Microsoft’s agreement with Bluehole to bring the game to Xbox One first this Holiday season definitely feels more important and everyone is starting to wonder whether PUBG can enjoy the same level of success on Microsoft’s console.

Earlier today, Head of Xbox division Phil Spencer said on Twitter that he expects a similar success to bringing Minecraft to console and that PUBG will be “very big” on Xbox for many years to come. He also added in a subsequent tweet that having gotten to know the folks at Bluehole, he’s incredibly happy for them to have this success.

Spencer also chimed in on other Xbox related topics. For example, he commented on Black Desert Online, another Korean made game (by Pearl Abyss) that’s coming to Xbox One later this year, with no official word on a PlayStation 4 port as of yet.

On the topic of upcoming backward compatibility additions, Fable Anniversary should be available soon, according to Spencer, who also regrets that the wishlist feature isn’t available yet in their store and would like to see something like 1v100 again.

He has apparently played a lot of Destiny 2 lately, which prompted a user to ask whether the game will have 4K and/or HDR support on the Xbox One X after all, as nothing has been announced yet. Spencer couldn’t really answer that question but he did say that Microsoft has a great working relationship with Bungie, which sounds promising.



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Microsoft’s Phil Spencer explains the new Xbox’s $500 price tag

You might think it’s crazy that Microsoft is once again
introducing a new game console with a $500 price tag.

But it’s just possible the company is being crazy like a fox.

Microsoft is pretty certain there’s a good market for its new
Xbox One X game machine despite its high price point. More
importantly, the company is pretty excited about who’s most
likely to buy the new device.

The kinds of customers who will be attracted to the Xbox One X
tend to be the best game customers of all, Phil Spencer, the head
of Microsoft’s Xbox operations, said in a recent interview with
Business Insider.


Xbox One X
The new Xbox One X console
from Microsoft is capable of powering 4K gaming. It costs $500
and launches on November 7.

Microsoft

“The thing that we should all realize is that that customer buys
a lot of games,” Spencer said. “That customer plays a lot of
games.”

That’s a pretty strong argument for why huge companies like
Microsoft and Sony are bothering to create more powerful, more
expensive iterations of their consoles, even if those consoles
serve only a small minority of console buyers.

At first blush, Microsoft offering another $500 console seems
absurd. The Xbox One launched in 2013 with a $500 price tag, one
of the main reasons it lags so far behind Sony’s PlayStation 4 in
adoption. The PS4 debuted at $400 and has seen double the number
of sales as the Xbox One.


Xbox One XMicrosoft

Spencer understands this problem and perception, and he’s not
unrealistic about how sales of the new console will compare with
the Xbox One S, the new base-model Xbox One that costs $250.

“We’re gonna sell more Xbox One S consoles next year than we will
Xbox One X,” he said.

But as Spencer indicates, there’s a method to Microsoft’s
apparent madness.

The company’s betting there’s a ready audience of folks ready to
buy what the Xbox One X offers. This is a console capable of
outputting games in 4K resolution — the next step after HD. There
definitely are people who have a 4K TV and are itching for a game
console that can take advantage of it.


Metro: Exodus
“Metro: Exodus” is one of
the first games shown running on the Xbox One X. It is, indeed,
very pretty.

4A
Games


Here’s how Spencer described the target audience for the new
console:

“You’ve got a person who really wants a premium experience.

“You ask who is that person today? I’m gonna bet a large
percentage of those people have a current-generation console
already. So in that world, I have to show them an experience
that’s demonstrably better. And that’s where we started with Xbox
One X.

“We get some interest from PC people who have been playing 4K
games on their PCs now for a while, and say, ‘OK here’s a console
that can play a true 4K game with a controller sitting on my
couch.’ And I think a lot of the other people have a
current-generation console and are looking for a premium
experience and something that really looks different.”

While Microsoft is offering gamers a premium experience, it isn’t
charging them a premium to get it, despite the Xbox One X’s
relatively high price. The company
won’t be making any money
from selling Xbox One X consoles.
That’s because the components required to power the level of
graphical fidelity the box offers are expensive. Indeed, the Xbox
One X
looks like a bargain
compared with what you’d have to pay for
a PC with similar capabilities.


Forza Motorsport 7
Microsoft is releasing “Forza Motorsport 7” ahead of
the Xbox One X — it will take advantage of the console’s ability
to play games in 4K.

Microsoft

But that’s not unusual. Video-game consoles typically aren’t what
make money in the video-game business — it’s the games,
accessories, and services that do. Microsoft most likely makes
far more money from Xbox Live Gold subscriptions, for instance,
than from Xbox One hardware sales.

And what makes the Xbox One X so interesting for Microsoft is
that the kind of folks who buy “premium” consoles like it and the
PlayStation 4 Pro are the kind of folks who tend to buy not only
more games than the average customer, but more accessories and
services too.

Sony has paved the way for a pricier, more powerful console with
its PlayStation 4 Pro. The company says Pro purchases now make up
about
20% of all PlayStation 4 sales
. Spencer expects similar
adoption for the Xbox One X.

From where he’s sitting, though, that wouldn’t be a problem.