Xbox CEO Phil Spencer Reaches Decade Milestone, What Now?

Wow, time sure flies, but in the case of Xbox CEO Phil Spencer, it wasn’t so much having fun as it was damage control. We gotta give credit where it’s due; the man was coming on at a dark time for the Xbox brand. It was a disaster back in 2013 with the colossal flop of the Xbox One reveal. We still have nightmares about it, but in hindsight, funny stuff, though.

But through the trial by fire, Microsoft was emerging stronger under Uncle Phil’s leadership. It gave long-time fans hope. It’s a perception that we still hold that Xbox needs an aggressive approach with rivals Sony’s PlayStation and Nintendo’s Switch. But also, this was the time when the fans picked the classic Xbox exclusives that Microsoft should remake. It was all set in motion by Uncle Phil. But here we are in 2024, and now we’re wondering what in Sam Hill went wrong. Let’s get into it.

How Would We Rate The Tenure Of Xbox CEO Phil Spencer?

Smile Mr. Xbox CEO Phil Spencer.

By golly, this is such a subjective, divisive topic of the gaming industry. However, there’s no denying Phil Spencer’s impact as Xbox CEO. Seriously, the man is a visionary, for sure. But where does his vision end, and the leash of corporate overlords begin to tug at him? Promises were made, bold claims were touted, but severe underdelivery also marred this decade. But we can’t just look at things with the fanboyism lenses, no. We gotta take a gander at the business side of things, too.

With that in mind, let’s review how Uncle Phil’s entire time as a whole for Xbox has shaped the brand. More importantly, what’s the current perception, and how are things gonna go in the immediate future and the next decade, too? So, lots to cover here; might as well strap in for the long haul, people. We’ll weigh down the positives and negatives and then give an overall verdict. Plus, we’ll ask the tough questions that need answering or addressing by Microsoft for Xbox’s future.

The Good~ Xbox Game Studios Line-up Bolstering

Xbox Game Studios.

Well, we might as well start off with a great highlight from the career of Xbox CEO Uncle Phil Spencer. Yep, y’all know the one we’re talkin’ ‘bout. The Xbox Game Studios, which had measly a limited number of studios, suddenly got an influx of’em. Yep, we’re talking who’s who of gaming talent. Ninja Theory, Playground Games, The Coalition, Obsidian Entertainment, inXile Entertainment, y’all get the idea.

This was a big power move by Uncle Phil and one that was necessary to re-spark that spunk in the Xbox brand. Seriously, Microsoft’s butt was being kicked by Sony, and the major cause was that they didn’t have any games that appealed to gamers. More studios equal more games; that was the logic plain and simple, and in that regard, this was really great to see. Little did we know, that there was more to come, and yet, the problems still were persisting. It’s a good transition to the downside of making these acquisitions.

The Bad~ Severe Lack Of Xbox First-Party Exclusive Blockbuster Hits And Utterly Garbage Output

Poor first-party output by Mr. CEO of Xbox Phil Spencer.

For every Sunset Overdrive and Quantum Break, there was a misfire like Crackdown 3 and Redfall. The problem here was that the transition and integration period of the acquisitions of so many studios took its sweet time. Gamers were left waiting, and to fill the void, there were multiplatform titles, which the competition also had. So, while Xbox owners were left hanging, across the competition side of things, God Of War, Horizon Zero Dawn, and Uncharted 4 were marking their territory.

It still stings to this day that Microsoft still hasn’t fully delivered on this promise of, and we quote, ‘Quarterly exclusives’. Like, it feels like a slap in the face of gamers who’ve invested their time and money in anticipation of something that they never got. This was a really ugly state of affairs, and seriously, we’re still living in it, all in the era of Xbox CEO Uncle Phil Spencer. Something’s gotta give people, or the fan base is gonna be livid.

The Good~ Xbox Game Pass Is A Masterstroke Of Genius

Xbox Game Pass.

Okay, we’ll give this one to the guy, Xbox CEO Phil Spencer caught lightning in a bottle with the Xbox Game Pass. The idea, the value for money, and the initial incentives to try it for free or next to nothing, pure genius! The offerings in Xbox Game Pass are the perfect way to recapture lapsed fans even today. Your subscription nets you a wealth of games, day 1, without having to buy’em. It is hands down the best subscription service out of the big three. 

Sony’s jacking up the cost of PS Plus tiers. Meanwhile, Nintendo is more focused on eliminating Switch emulators like Yuzu, than on its Nintendo Switch Online. Even though there’s an argument for Emulators performing better than the Switch. But anyway, the Xbox Game Pass is gonna be instrumental in Xbox’s future plans. We just kinda wished we knew that they had a clue. What’s the point of a service that’s rotating games on a monthly basis if there’s nothing worthwhile for players?

The Bad~ Gifting Exclusives To The Opposition Is A Whiplash

Mr. Phil Spencer gifting to the opposition not a great look for the CEO of Xbox.

One step forward, two steps back, eh Uncle Phil Spencer, Mr. CEO of Xbox Games Studios? Well, ain’t that the life story of this decade? With so many baffling decisions by gaming studios big wigs that puzzles the mind. Case in point: WB Games insanely embracing the live-service model, or Atlus is outright lying about Persona 3 Reload DLC, and the situation is getting even worse. But the one that takes the cake is the head-scratching decision (as a fan, mind you, we get there’s a business side of things, too), which was Xbox giving away first-party exclusives to PlayStation.

Okay, let’s talk business-wise. Sure, short term, you’ll get more sales, whoopie~ yay! But here’s the thing, though: if you’re giving away exclusives to your competition, then what’s the point of owning an Xbox? Seriously, just give us one good reason to get one. It was bad enough that the wait was painfully long for new Xbox exclusives, but to see them just handed on a platter? It feels utterly disrespectful to the core Xbox player base. If the console exclusives are no longer console exclusives, then it’s a dark day for us die-hard fans.

The Good~ Bethesda And Activision Acquisition Are Major Gets By Xbox CEO Phil Spencer

Bethesda buyout by Mr. Xbox CEO Phil Spencer.

Okay, again, with the power move, but hear us out; this one’s the bloody nose punch that riled up the competition. You’ve probably heard of the whole Microsoft buying up Bethesda’s parent company Zenimax, so Bethesda came with it. All the IPs did, too, which are numerous. We’re salivating at the thought of these IPs seeing new iterations on modern hardware. But Xbox CEO Phil

Spencer did one up the ante with another buyout deal, yep, Activision Blizzard.

Activision Blizzard buyout by Microsoft.

So many games under its umbrella, like a treasure trove of video game IPs. They can shill out the third-party titles to have a steady revenue stream. These two moves prompted the responses from Sony, the FTC, and global government agencies, too. But! Through persistence and a smart legal team, Microsoft came out as the winner. Sony’s buyout of Bungie is also a knee-jerk reaction, too. But too bad that ain’t workin’ too well for’em these days with Destiny 1.5, sorry 2’s abysmal numbers. Now, Microsoft, Uncle Phil, can we get a Prototype remake or a new entry for cryin’ out loud?

The Bad~ Lack Of Quality Control, All Blame Is On Xbox CEO Phil Spencer

Poor Quality Control equals disasters like Redfall.

Now, look, we understand realistically Xbox CEO Phil Spencer is only human. There’s only so much they could do. But the fact is, in the record books, it won’t be the grunts who’ll get the blame for not delivering on promises. It’ll be the head of the organization that’ll be answerable. Now, let’s take a look at what’s happened to Xbox with so many resources, acquisitions, and money to throw at their problems. They delivered duds, but mostly, nothing of substantial interest. We don’t know about y’all, but we don’t think anybody’s lining up to play The GUNK or Redfall, are they?

Like what in the actual hell happened? How is the quality control so bad? Why haven’t we heard about a Gears game until now? Whatever happened to experimenting with great games like Quantum Break? Why is the Fable trailer being bashed with dislikes? It’s not even out yet and it’s in our list of the worst female characters in video games? And Fable’s been in development hell, too. Where is the Perfect Dark Reboot? It’s been nothing but corporate speak, tiptoeing, and backtracking from Microsoft. This is shameful and unacceptable for the customers. 

Potentially Good?~ Xbox Handheld Prototype In The Works

Xbox handheld console is the dream.

Okay, so back to the possible positivity side of things again. Xbox CEO Phil Spencer is doin’ the right thing with a possible Xbox handheld console in the works. We need this stuff like yesterday, BUT! We don’t want a PS Vita situation where the console just doesn’t get any support. Or if it lacks any reason for players to buy it at all. Ya know~ people buy these systems for convenience functionality and unique games, too. If there’s no first-party exclusive for the possible hand-held, then why the fudge will people buy it?

Oh, and while we’re on the subject of the Xbox handheld which Uncle Phil’s claiming is the dream. Here’s a question for Microsoft, what’ll be the price point for this handheld console? Surely they can’t pull a Sony, and do what they’re doin’ with the peripherals for the PS5 which are mindbogglingly more expensive than the actual console itself. Can’t believe we’re gonna say this, but PHIL! Make’m reasonably priced or you’re setting yourself up for failure with this one.

The Good~ Record-Breaking Revenue During The Era Of Xbox CEO Phil Spencer

Money money money.

No matter if the situation is dire for folks, Uncle Phil Spencer as CEO of Xbox can take solace that his run with the company has led to record-breaking revenue generation. Looks like that investment in buying Activision and Bethesda is already seeing a hefty return, eh? We’re glad that Microsoft’s not bleedin’ money, that’s good! But, now the question becomes, what comes after that? Sustainable growth is the thing that the investors are after, and it’s just one thing after another from the business end.

It can and will directly hamper the creative side of the gaming outlet. We’ll see more trend-chasing and bafflingly idiotic decisions because the executives have no inkling of what gamers want. Not Uncle Phil though, no, he’s one of the gamers! Shout out to him, but we need more than just goodwill promises that deliver nothing much value. Like we said though, his leadership saw growth, that’s beneficial to the Xbox brand.

The Bad~ Immediate Lay-Offs After Record-Setting Revenue

Mr. Phil Spencer, CEO of Xbox, believes layoffs are painful.

Now, we transition to the ugly side of the tenure of Xbox CEO Uncle Phil Spencer. We’re talkin’ despite the record revenue and the massive layoffs that immediately followed. It’s not right, nor will it ever be right, but the writing was on the wall with this one. After so much shopping, there was gonna be a reckoning coming to put the house in order. This is that, and our deepest condolences go out to those that were affected. This is what we don’t get, how can this be a thing? If you’re not in the decline with profitability, why not put the talent to work?

So many of these studios were working on something that either got axed or didn’t get past the approval stage. The point here is that the leadership is the one that’s supposed to assure gamers and inform them of what’s happening. But there was a distinct lack of communication from Microsoft on this one. Long story short, they goofed up, and we’re still salty about it cause that’s not how to run things! Imagine if these talented devs were allowed to put their hard work out there for the world to see.

The Bad~ Tanking Hardware Sales, No Marketing Initiatives, Losing 3’rd-Party Support, All On Xbox CEO Phil Spencer

Losing support of third party publishers hurts.

In relation to the layoffs we talked about above, there’s the fall in the hardware sales, too, to consider. Microsoft for reasons beyond us can’t market their product, like at all! It’s so infuriating when Xbox purists mention how they didn’t know Xbox was in their region. Like European marketing was non-existent. Is it any surprise that the PS5 outsold Xbox Series X 3:1? We don’t know who’s responsible for this blunder but all eyes are on Xbox CEO Phil Spencer for answers. These kinds of mishaps are a little too common for comfort at Microsoft, who’re actively looking like they wanna kill the Xbox brand.

Not that we’re saying that’ll happen, but ya never know with these business tycoons and corporate executives. Not gamer Uncle Phil, though, he’s all about the gaming side! Right? Well, then he might wanna give some explanations for the hardware sales declining. Wanna know our theory? We’re gonna be brutally honest here, it’s because Xbox is not offering great games. Their third-party marketing deals are also pretty bad. Don’t believe us? Ask the average Joe, one who’s just gonna play games on, which system will they prefer? 8 or 9 times out of 10, they’ll pick PlayStation over Xbox. Why? Because Sony’s marketing game is lightyears ahead.

The perception that the best gamer experience is on their system is what convinces the average gamer. Similarly, in the absence of any substantial marketing from Microsoft, it’s more room for Sony to aggressively take the market’s lion’s share of the third-party devs sales. Want more convincing we’re not talking out of our bottom? Recently a report surfaced where many devs are sharing the concern of whether it’s even worth porting games to Xbox. What does that tell ya? We’ll let y’all decide for yourselves.

The Hard-Hitting Questions Us Gamers Want Answers To For The Future Of Xbox

Tallying up the results of the handiwork, achievements, and fumbles of Xbox CEO Phil Spencer, we’re sad to say, it’s a bit of a mess. Now, don’t get us wrong, the bright parts are eye-blindingly amazing. But the darker times are equally as bleak. Now, let’s just talk without a filter and ask the questions we wanna know the answers to. So, Uncle Phil here’s on behalf of the fans:

  • Will Xbox stop making hardware and only be a third-party publisher going forward?
  • If Xbox is planning to stay in the console space, will every exclusive game be on the rival platforms? If not every game, which ones will stay exclusive? List them for us, please.
  • What happened to the promise of Quarterly exclusives? Will they ever become a reality?
  • If every first-party game hypothetically makes its way onto rival platforms, what is the point of owning an Xbox?
  • Will we see a Gears Of War collection like the Master Chief Collection? For that matter, where is the next Gears Game?
  • Will Xbox ever return to the aggressive approach like in the Xbox 360 days?
  • Finally, what are the chances of Microsoft buying Platinum Games? Seriously, Xbox needs Japanese devs to bolster and spice up the exclusive line-up.
  • Can we get a shout-out?

Welp, those are the queries, please answer’em ASAP! This will put the minds of the fandom at ease. Also, consider this our tough love for Uncle Phil Spencer who, as CEO of Xbox holds power. He made claims and now’s the do-or-die situation for Xbox. If things don’t change for the better, then this would have been all for nothing. We don’t want that kind of situation here. After all, people have invested huge amounts of money in purchasing Xbox hardware through multiple generations. Don’t waste it.

Final Thoughts

Well, there y’all have it, folks, our take on Phil Spencer’s time as Xbox CEO. It’s ups, downs, and hope for the future with despair lurking in the shadows, too. The time spent accumulating the vast library of games is another factor to consider, too. If this ends up with Xbox not capitalizing to deliver top-tier first-party exclusives, or so-called exclusives that go to rivals, then it’s over. The dream’s dead, time to pack up. The business side needs to trust its fan base enough to deliver the goods, and they’ll see the hardware sales go up, too. The right marketing, transparency, and exciting exclusive games, that’s the ticket!

Anyway, what do you all think of this down-the-middle style approach of Microsoft of walking around eggshells? Are you fine with it? Or do you, like us, want Xbox to give the competition a bloody nose? Is the era of console wars renewed or forgotten? Give us your thoughts in the comments below. In the meantime, take a gander at our coverage of Amy Hennig leading the charge in Marvel 1943: Rise Of Hydra. It’s one of the highlights of this year and it’s just a tech demo! Take notes Microsoft! Alright, take care, we’ll see y’all in the next one.

Related articles

PlayStation Trophies Arriving On PC With Ghost Of Tsushima Port

With the long-awaited Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut port...

Pokemon GO April Community Day Bringing Bellsprout

Pokemon GO is on a roll as usual month...

Yoko Taro Says Stellar Blade is Much Better than NieR: Automata

Popular NieR: Automata Creator Yoko Taro recently commented that...

13 Underrated Action Games That Deserve Remasters

Y’all know we love our action games, but today,...
Rafi Ahmed
Rafi Ahmed
Retro(and modern) gamer, proud comic geek, anime connoisseur, and opinionated peach without a filter. I'm bringing you hot takes, recommendations, and what-if fantasy scenarios and championing the gamer cause against corporate greed. You're welcome!

Leave a Reply