Home Xbox boss Phil Spencer says Gen Z market research has led to Xbox business decisions

Xbox boss Phil Spencer says Gen Z market research has led to Xbox business decisions

Phil Spencer, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Microsoft Gaming believes that the habits of Gen Z individuals have led to the recent business decisions by the company.

Speaking in an interview with Polygon, Spencer would explain the moves by the gaming arm of Microsoft and give perspective to the ‘pivot’ that the company has made in making as many games as possible multiplatform and cross-device compatible.

Xbox Chief explains business pivot

Spencer has had a busy 2024 so far and at the first-ever Xbox partner preview, he laid out some of the cross-platform decisions by Microsoft such as HiFi Rush, Starfield, and a host of other titles leaping to rival PlayStation.

“I will say, every decision we make today and tomorrow is for the better of Xbox,” Spencer would candidly approach the moves made by the gaming company. “I know sometimes things get weaponized, that there’s some evil in the background that’s making us do things — ‘Phil hates exclusives and that’s why we’re like PlayStation and Switch now.’ Every decision we make is to make Xbox stronger in the long run. It doesn’t mean everyone’s going to agree with every decision we make. But it is fundamental for how we make decisions.”

These decisions have led to gamers seeing Xbox exclusives like Sea of Thieves sail over to the Sony console and Spencer is content with the new approach to how Xbox is viewed.

The CEO said “This notion that Xbox can only be this one device that plugs into a television isn’t something we see in the Gen Z research. Because nothing else is like that for them.”

The Gen Z market enjoys cross-console and mobile gaming as a whole, Spencer made light of this by saying “Some of them (Gen Z players) will have an iPhone, some will have an Android, but all the games and everything is the same. I can still get to TikTok on both of them, at least for now.”

Phil Spencer and Xbox’s decisions to release on rival consoles could be seen as an attempt to wring out the value of existing titles that have an untapped audience.

It can “cost $300 million to build a video game these days,” said Spencer, and “(continuing Xbox console and Game Pass) exclusivity gets pressured as the cost of the game goes up,” he would say of ring-fencing games to a particular console audience.

PlayStation console owners now have exclusive titles such as Spider-Man 2 and God of War, but now can anticipate the Microsoft studio slowly releasing exclusive games at a later date.

This seems like the best of both worlds for those who thought games like Bethesda’s upcoming titles would mean having to invest in a new console.

Phil Spencer’s ‘money-for-old-rope’ approach to the existing catalog of Microsoft games will be a smart move for the company, but those loyal to the brand will possibly rethink their device choices shortly as ‘exclusivity’ isn’t in the business plan for Microsoft moving forward.

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Brian-Damien Morgan
Features Writer

Brian-Damien Morgan is an award-winning journalist and features writer. He was lucky enough to work in the print sector for many UK newspapers before embarking on a successful career as a digital broadcaster and specialist. His work has spanned the public and private media sectors of the United Kingdom for almost two decades. Since 2007, Brian has continued to add to a long list of publications and institutions, most notably as Editor of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, winning multiple awards for his writing and digital broadcasting efforts. Brian would then go on to be integral to the Legacy 2014,…

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