Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer has commented on the battle between Microsoft and rivals Sony and Nintendo, saying Xbox sits in third place and the idea that Microsoft could just make better games to gain marketshare doesn’t hold up. Spencer said even if Starfield is the best game in the history of the world, that wouldn’t be enough to help Xbox overtake PlayStation.
Speaking to Kinda Funny, Spencer said Microsoft’s goal is not to “out-console” Sony or Nintendo in terms of sales. Unfortunately for Microsoft, it lost the sales race in the Xbox One/PS4 generation, and the company has no hope of making it back to No. 1 by console sales alone, Spencer said.
“We are not in the business of out-consoling Sony or out-consoling Nintendo. There isn’t really a great solution or win for us. And I know that will upset a ton of people. But the truth of the matter is that when you’re third place in a console marketplace and the top two players are as strong as they are and in certain cases have a discrete focus on doing deals and other things that will–that make being Xbox hard for us as a team–our vision is everyone on console has a great experience and they feel like a first-class citizen,” Spencer said.
“I see commentary out there–‘If you just build great games, everything will turn around.’ It’s just not true [that] if we go off and build great games, all of a sudden you’re going to see console share shift in some dramatic way. We lost the worst generation to lose in the Xbox One generation, where everybody built their digital library of games. 90% of the people every year who walk into a retailer to buy a console are already a member of one of the three ecosystems. Their digital library is there.”
Given that people’s gaming libraries are now made up significantly of digital games that move with them to new machines, the era of new console generations marking a clear line in the sand have ended. People can now more seamlessly shift from platform to platform, at least within the same family, which makes it so difficult to convince people to switch. Even if Starfield is the best game ever, that won’t be enough for Xbox to overtake Sony, Spencer said.
“I see a lot of pundits out there who kind of want to go back to the time where we all had cartridges and discs and every new generation was a clean slate. And you could switch the whole console share. That is just not the world that we are in today. There is no world where Starfield is an 11/10 and people start selling their PS5s. That’s not going to happen,” Spencer said.
So what does Microsoft do, then? Spencer said the company has a “unique vision” in the marketplace where it doesn’t focus exclusively on a console platform. Instead, Microsoft is building an infrastructure that supports games across devices, including phones and tablets through streaming. In short, Microsoft wants to make games available on as many platforms as possible to help reach the widest possible audience, Spencer said.
“The console is the core of the Xbox brand, no doubt, so we will stay focused on making sure that console experience is awesome. Some people want to hold us up and believe we are a ‘better green version of what the blue guys do,’ and I’m just going to say, ‘There is not a win for Xbox in staying in the wake of somebody else.’ We have to go off and do our own thing,” Spencer said.
The PS5 is nearing 40 million systems sold since 2020, while the Switch has sold more than 122 million units. Microsoft, for its part, does not announce Xbox sales numbers.
In other news, Spencer recently reacted to Redfall’s poor reviews and explained what went wrong.
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