In a new interview with The Verge this week, Xbox Chief Phil Spencer lamented the competitive nature of the gaming industry, calling it “one of the worst things about our industry.”
Speaking with Nilay Patel on the Decoder podcast, Spencer candidly laid out his views on the competition between Microsoft and other game platforms, saying “I’m never going to vote against any creative team or any product team to do poorly because I have a competitive product. It’s not in me. I don’t actually think it helps us in the long run in the industry.”
“Everybody is doing well in the industry right now for the most part with the stay-at-home and the surge. That’s what we should be focused on as an industry. We’ve done it with things like cross-play […] but there is a core that just really hates the other consumer product.”
Spencer had kind words for the PlayStation 5’s controller and mentioned he had commiserated with Sony CEO Jim Ryan on the difficulties both companies faced when their consoles launched earlier this month. In the past Microsoft has reached across the aisle to institute things such as crossplay between console families. However it’s the entrenched notion of company-versus-company that he finds “off-putting,” citing videos where people destroy hotly-desired new consoles, pitting brand against brand.
“I look at shipping a product, shipping a game, as one of the bravest things a team can do. You put your product out there, it gets analyzed and prodded and reviewed,” Spencer said. “When a team releases something into the market for the world to tear it apart on the internet — it’s just such a brave thing for a team to do.”
“I don’t think we have to see others fail in order for us to achieve the goals. That’s not some kind of ‘kumbaya’ thing. It’s actually real. We’re in the entertainment business. The biggest competitor we have is apathy over the products and services [and] games that we build.”
Spencer recently announced that the Xbox Series X|S had been the biggest console launch in Microsoft’s history. Though Microsoft stopped releasing hardware sales figures in 2014, it’s believed over a million units were sold in the first day, with almost 21k being sold in Japan alone.