Phil Spencer: The number of consoles sold not motivating

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The head of Xbox talks about the metrics in which they measure the success of their platform, moving away from the installed base of users.

In an interview with the British newspaper The Guardian, Phil Spencer has spoken extensively about Game Pass and the current state of Xbox as a platform and service, one more in a long list of interviews that the manager has given to media around the world on the occasion of the Xbox Series launch. Among the topics covered, veteran journalist Keza MacDonald addresses the issue of the lack of first-hand data on the installed base of Xbox consoles on the market, a piece of information that Microsoft decided to stop offering to the public years ago. Spencer stands firm in that stance, stating that they don’t have their focus fixed on this.

“I know that it seems that I am manipulating and I apologize for that,” he develops, “but I do not want my team to focus on the sale of consoles. The main result of the work we are doing is in how many players we see, and what is the frequency they play with. This is what motivates Xbox. If I highlight another element, whether in public or in private, I change our focus. Things like backward compatibility become less interesting. Putting our games on PC then becomes a Which is why someone doesn’t buy an Xbox Series X. I want to hold onto this. We make the numbers of players public. This is what I want to motivate us, not the number of plastic parts we’ve sold. ”

The key is the number of players

The journalist replies with an assumption in which the Xbox Series sold much more than PS5, would the console sales figures return then? Spencer does not affirm, but promises that it will not be. “In the last year Google, Amazon and Facebook have announced that they will arrive at the video game. I am not going to compete with them based on the number of Xbox Series X that we have sold. Google never goes Let’s talk about how many Chromecast Pros they have sold. They will talk about how many players they have. ”

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Phil Spencer also offers a reflection: “I think that those who want to confront us with Sony based on who sells the most consoles have lost the context of what the game is today.” There are 3 billion people who play games on the planet today, of which 200 million homes have a console. The console space is getting smaller and smaller within the pie that is the video game today. ”

The interview addresses other topics such as the paradigm shift that Game Pass involves when it comes to betting on certain games. Spencer believes that games like Tell Me Why or Flight Simulator would not have approved them in a traditional model. It is the subscription system and its growing number of users that gives them the confidence to approve certain projects with the certainty that they will find their audience, taking Battletoads as an example, which states that “millions of people have played it”, something that it would have been very difficult with the in-store model.


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