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Phil Spencer Takes Over as Head of Xbox Division

The former head of Microsoft Studios will be taking over all things Xbox.

Microsoft's Xbox division has found its new leader, and it didn't have to look far to find it.

Phil Spencer, who most recently served as head of Microsoft Studios, will be taking over as head of all things Xbox at Microsoft. The company made the announcement today via a post on the official Xbox news site.

"I will now be leading the Xbox, Xbox Live, and creative teams including Xbox Music, Xbox Video and Microsoft Studios as we deliver the next generation of games and entertainment," Spencer said in the official announcement. "Combining these teams will strengthen the connection between some of the world’s most innovative creators and those building the Xbox itself. I am incredibly proud of the talented Xbox employees around the world and believe, like they do, in the power of technology to bring games and entertainment to life across console, PC, tablet and mobile devices."

Spencer has spent a quarter century at Microsoft, and officially took over the leadership role at Microsoft Studios in 2008. Given his long tenure at the company and history within the Xbox division, it would seem to make perfect sense to get a guy like Spencer to take over the Xbox team, especially now that the company has apparently reorganized the division to once again have a single leadership position. That role hadn't existed since Don Mattrick left Microsoft for Zynga last year.

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Avatar image for mijati
Posted By Mijati

Seems like a good fit

Avatar image for isomeri
Posted By isomeri

Based on the interviews I've read/seen/heard from Mr Spencer he certainly seems like the kind of guy who has his heart in the right place. Meaning that he considers the Xbox to be a gaming platform first and an entertainment delivery system second.

Avatar image for wolfgame
Edited By Wolfgame

sounds fine to me, I would have to be some super dick to say that I know better than MS who is qualified to fill this position.

Avatar image for dom_catz
Posted By dOm_CaTz

Now that's an image.

Avatar image for donpixel
Posted By DonPixel

much better than don

Avatar image for mattman734
Edited By mattman734

Cool, definitely seems like the right guy for the job. I mean of course behind J Allard, but he's back on his home planet now.

Avatar image for thebiolover
Posted By TheBioLover

Good choice

Avatar image for hammondoftexas
Posted By hammondoftexas

NEWS!

Avatar image for firepaw
Posted By Firepaw

As far as I know, that seems like a decent choice, it at least seems like the guy is passionate and cares.

Avatar image for hs_alpha_wolf
Posted By HS_Alpha_Wolf

I think this is probably the best possible outcome from the reorganization.

Avatar image for cowgod
Edited By cowgod

Step 1: Get rid of the shitty Xbox Music app on Windows 8 and bring back Zune software.

Avatar image for lysergica33
Edited By Lysergica33

Seems like a good movie and from what I can tell the guy's probably a good fit for the job.

I have pretty much zero interest in the Xbox One as it is, or anything MS is doing these days, but I hope this does good things for them, as stiff competition is good for the industry.

Avatar image for viking_funeral
Edited By viking_funeral

Some are already calling the generation for Sony. It's way to early for that, but I'm really curious what Microsoft's plan is to recover lost ground.

The Xbox dominated most of last gen by coming out early, with a cheaper price, easier to develop system, fostering indie devs, and still managed to outperform the PS3 on a variety of multi-plat games. Right now that seems to be the playbook of the PS4. So what do they do?

I hope Mr. Spencer can pull something out of his hat. Sony seems like the gamer's friend right now, but it wasn't so long ago that they were saying things like, "[The PS3 is] for consumers to think to themselves, 'I will work more hours to buy one.' "

Without competition, Sony could easily revert to the mentality that they dominate the market and dictate the rules.

Avatar image for nhoj_sllew
Posted By Nhoj_Sllew

this is a good move


Avatar image for gaspower
Posted By GaspoweR

Yeah that sounds like a great fit to be running the entire division.

Avatar image for spraynardtatum
Posted By spraynardtatum

Phil Spencer is a pretty relaxed individual.

Avatar image for striderno9
Posted By StriderNo9

Sure this works. I've considered him the face of Xbox for a bit now.

Avatar image for jay_ray
Posted By jay_ray

Great fit and if they wanted to keep Phil Spencer long term he had to be promoted. But I can't shake the feeling that this means Microsoft is isolating the Xbox from the rest of the company so they can either sell or slim down that department without affecting the others.

Avatar image for mjhealy
Posted By MjHealy

Hair quality: insufficient.

Avatar image for trafalgarlaw
Edited By TrafalgarLaw

@viking_funeral said:

Without competition, Sony could easily revert to the mentality that they dominate the market and dictate the rules.

Competition is healthy but it doesn't have to be Microsoft. They should be replaced by a fully competent Nintendo. Microsoft has brought nothing to the table this generation, only anger by trying to take things from people. Microsoft have shown to be detrimental to indies time and time again. The console is not even out for a full six months in most of europe.

I say the return of the king is due, SEGA. A three-way bout between Nintendo, Sony and SEGA would actually drive things forward.

Avatar image for luciddreams117
Posted By LucidDreams117

I'm happy with this. Congrats Phil. Looking forward to all things I use that are called Xbox.

Avatar image for christilton
Posted By ChrisTilton

Competition is healthy but it doesn't have to be Microsoft. They should be replaced by a fully competent Nintendo. Microsoft has brought nothing to the table this generation, only anger by trying to take things from people. Microsoft have shown to be detrimental to indies time and time again. The console is not even out for a full six months in most of europe.

I say the return of the king is due, SEGA. A three-way bout between Nintendo, Sony and SEGA would actually drive things forward.

Per your comment that Microsoft has brought nothing to the table: By that logic, neither has Sony. Sony just happened to not attempt to enact policy that angered gamers. The systems are early, and I think it's fair to say that they have bought roughly the same amount to the table so far, whether one thinks it's a lot or very little.

Avatar image for paindamnation
Edited By Paindamnation
@cowgod said:

Step 1: Get rid of the shitty Xbox Music app on Windows 8 and bring back Zune software.

this.

Avatar image for pimblycharles
Posted By PimblyCharles

The only two other people I know that can rock a blazer like that is Jeff and John V.

Avatar image for zombie2011
Edited By zombie2011

Some are already calling the generation for Sony. It's way to early for that, but I'm really curious what Microsoft's plan is to recover lost ground.

Without competition, Sony could easily revert to the mentality that they dominate the market and dictate the rules.

Far from over, Sony as a company is crumbling. While MS is killing it, their stock hit 14 year highs today. The market hasn't been this bullish on MS since the tech bubble of '99.

MS still has the 4th largest R&D budget in the world. What i'm trying to say is MS has the capital to spend for exclusives, while Sony can't. The longer this generation goes the more we will see the overall companies outlook change the gaming space.

Avatar image for bacongames
Posted By bacongames

I was trying to glean who he's replacing but I guess there really wasn't a head of Xbox after Don Mattrick left. I do like the trend of stand up people taking leadership positions both at Sony and Microsoft.

Avatar image for razielcuts
Posted By RazielCuts

Sure this works. I've considered him the face of Xbox for a bit now.

Yeah, I woulda thought this was a given. (And kinda thought he already was the head of Xbox.)

Avatar image for meatball
Posted By MEATBALL

I've always gotten a kind of douchey vibe from Phil Spencer to be honest, but he does seem like the best man for the job.

Avatar image for professoress
Posted By ProfessorEss

I'm for it.

Avatar image for mrfluke
Edited By mrfluke

i feel like he's been eyeing his position for a while, good on him though, and good on the new CEO for making Spencer the head xbox guy,

he seems like the only guy at xbox that "gets it", sort of renews my faith in xbox one now that he's in charge.

hope there's a good E3 in the works.

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Avatar image for extomar
Edited By EXTomar

Although I don't hate Spencer, I can't help but believe that the big problem with the XBox One design and launch was that the whole division, including Microsoft Studios, was too insular listening to themselves in an echo chamber they built. I wonder if getting someone completely outside the org would help at least re-synch with the industry on the whole.

Avatar image for xyzygy
Posted By xyzygy

I've listened to a couple podcasts with him and I don't think they could have picked anyone better. He is so relaxed and real.

Avatar image for zevvion
Posted By Zevvion

State of Decay shirt.

Yes, I trust you.

Avatar image for rickyyo
Posted By rickyyo

@cowgod said:

Step 1: Get rid of the shitty Xbox Music app on Windows 8 and bring back Zune software.

Wasn't expecting to see this in the comment section. Hahaha. I still use the Zune Software cause I still have a working Zune. It is still useable as a software platform it just isn't what it used to be.

Avatar image for dukest3
Posted By DukesT3

He seems really into heavy drugs to me, but good for him!

Avatar image for numbertenox
Posted By NumberTenOx

@viking_funeral said:

Some are already calling the generation for Sony.

If by ‘some’ you mean N4G, DualShockers, and a small but assiduous, vocal minority on NeoGAF, well, sure, some are.

Avatar image for armedbear
Posted By ArmedBear

The eyes of Allard are watching you Phil Spencer.

Avatar image for sergio
Posted By Sergio

@viking_funeral said:

Some are already calling the generation for Sony. It's way to early for that, but I'm really curious what Microsoft's plan is to recover lost ground.

Without competition, Sony could easily revert to the mentality that they dominate the market and dictate the rules.

Far from over, Sony as a company is crumbling. While MS is killing it, their stock hit 14 year highs today. The market hasn't been this bullish on MS since the tech bubble of '99.

MS still has the 4th largest R&D budget in the world. What i'm trying to say is MS has the capital to spend for exclusives, while Sony can't. The longer this generation goes the more we will see the overall companies outlook change the gaming space.

Buying exclusives instead of making exclusives is terrible for consumers.

Avatar image for bigjeffrey
Posted By bigjeffrey

The Best Choice Possible

Avatar image for davosplat
Posted By Davosplat

This makes me feel better about Xbox as a brand. Mr. Spencer certainly knows his shit, and I am glad gamers will have a strong advocate running things over at Xbox. No to Elop...

Avatar image for robaota
Posted By Robaota

I'm not sure if I can fully appreciate this news without Vincent Caravella's biting critique.

Avatar image for viking_funeral
Posted By viking_funeral

@viking_funeral said:

Without competition, Sony could easily revert to the mentality that they dominate the market and dictate the rules.

Competition is healthy but it doesn't have to be Microsoft. They should be replaced by a fully competent Nintendo. Microsoft has brought nothing to the table this generation, only anger by trying to take things from people. Microsoft have shown to be detrimental to indies time and time again. The console is not even out for a full six months in most of europe.

Like you said, it's been 6 months.

And to be fair, Sony brought nothing to the 7th gen for the first 6 months. No indie games. Mediocre online play. No trophies. No decent exclusives. According to Dave Lang (and many others) it was a massive pain in the ass to program for. They were coming off an incredible high from having what remains the best selling console in the world, and they arrogantly thought they could do no wrong. If Microsoft gave up after the Xbox, things might have remained that way.

Competition is good. Nintendo has screwed up, several times. Sony has screwed up. And now Microsoft is screwing up. The only thing keeping them from continuing down these self-destructive paths is healthy competition. You don't have to like the competition, just appreciate that it exists.

Avatar image for ericsmith
Posted By EricSmith

@sergio said:
@zombie2011 said:

@viking_funeral said:

Some are already calling the generation for Sony. It's way to early for that, but I'm really curious what Microsoft's plan is to recover lost ground.

Without competition, Sony could easily revert to the mentality that they dominate the market and dictate the rules.

Far from over, Sony as a company is crumbling. While MS is killing it, their stock hit 14 year highs today. The market hasn't been this bullish on MS since the tech bubble of '99.

MS still has the 4th largest R&D budget in the world. What i'm trying to say is MS has the capital to spend for exclusives, while Sony can't. The longer this generation goes the more we will see the overall companies outlook change the gaming space.

Buying exclusives instead of making exclusives is terrible for consumers.

Can you explain this to me? It doesn't make any sense on my end.

Avatar image for sasnake
Posted By SASnake

@viking_funeral: I like how gaming has become politics!........oh no, wait, its retarded.

Avatar image for librorumprohibitorum
Posted By LibrorumProhibitorum

I've always found Phil Spencer to be too robotic on stage, though you could say that for pretty much any Microsoft employee on stage at this point. If Microsoft can be a bit more human, and not in the "It's all good!" Xbox One way, I may be more interested in watching these high up employees speak during press conferences.

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Avatar image for geraltitude
Posted By GERALTITUDE

Seems like a great choice.

Avatar image for trafalgarlaw
Edited By TrafalgarLaw

@viking_funeral said:

@trafalgarlaw said:

@viking_funeral said:

Without competition, Sony could easily revert to the mentality that they dominate the market and dictate the rules.

Competition is healthy but it doesn't have to be Microsoft. They should be replaced by a fully competent Nintendo. Microsoft has brought nothing to the table this generation, only anger by trying to take things from people. Microsoft have shown to be detrimental to indies time and time again. The console is not even out for a full six months in most of europe.

Like you said, it's been 6 months.

I meant: in most of europe it's not out yet and we'll have to wait for 6 months. Xbox is an american console made for americans. Note the billions wasted in NFL, TV-tuner bullshit, english Kinect voice commands. None of which are coming to europe, yet are the focus of this console.

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