Phil Spencer is probably the most likable of all the Xbox executives. He exudes confidence during all of Microsoft’s press conferences, and he has a legitimate love for games. In fact, you could say he’d be the perfect fit to lead Xbox in 2014. Well, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella seems to agree.
Nadella announced this morning that Phil Spencer will now lead the Xbox division. As part of the announcement, Nadella also revealed that the Xbox division will now include Xbox, Xbox Live, Xbox Music, Xbox Video and Microsoft Studios. Before the promotion, Spencer was the CVP of Microsoft Game Studios where he managed all the various developers under Microsoft. With Microsoft Studios now being consolidated into Xbox, he will still oversee the division he has grown into a powerhouse over the last few years while also managing the direction the Xbox hardware and Xbox Live software go in here on out.
Here’s what Nadella had to say about the changes coming to Xbox:
In this new job, Phil will lead the Xbox, Xbox Live, Xbox Music and Xbox Video teams, and Microsoft Studios. Combining all our software, gaming and content assets across the Xbox team under a single leader and aligning with the OSG team will help ensure we continue to do great work across the Xbox business, and bring more of the magic of Xbox to all form factors, including tablets, PCs and phones. Phil will continue his close partnership with Yusuf Mehdi, who leads business strategy and marketing for Xbox, George Peckham, who heads up third-party partnerships and Mike Angiulo, who will continue leading Xbox hardware.
Spencer took to Xbox Wire to talk about his new role within the consolidated Xbox division. While some gamers may feel anxious over bringing Xbox Video and Xbox Music into the fold, Spencer says that the focus will remain on games:
The growth of the Xbox community, with over 80 million Xbox owners around the world, is built on the foundation of exclusive franchises, new and original IP and the world’s most popular cross-platform games. Games and gamers have always been at the core of Xbox and the core of my work—and gaming will be our core as we take Xbox forward.
Spencer goes on to say that the Xbox division will focus solely on the consumer going forward. He doesn’t explicitly bring up last year’s disastrous DRM debacle, but that moment undoubtedly helped remind Microsoft that the gamers have the final say in this industry and they must serve them if they want to grow:
This past year has been a growth experience both for me and for the entire Xbox team. We’ve taken feedback, made our products better and renewed our focus on what is most important, our customer. Our mission is to build a world-class team, work hard to meet the high expectations of a passionate fan base, create the best games and entertainment and drive technical innovation. As we continue forward, this renewed focus and mission will be a foundational part of how I lead the Xbox program.
At the end of his letter, Spencer promises some big things from Microsoft this year as it heads into E3. He has already admitted that Microsoft’s originally planned E3 press conference was too big to fit into the hour and a half time slot. That alone should excite Xbox fans and hype them up for whatever Microsoft has planned for this year.
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