Things have been looking up for the Xbox One, and you can place much of the emphasis on the console’s upturn following its troubled incubation and faltering early months on one person: Phil Spencer, the man appointed the head of Xbox on March 31st last year, and who’s spent the past year changing the course of the console and setting it towards calmer, more promising waters.
The latest part of Microsoft’s new plan for gaming has slowly been emerging over the past month: its unification of PCs and Xbox One with Windows 10 as it looks to harness the power and reach of both platforms. The plans were firmed up during Phil Spencer’s GDC talk, where details were made clearer of how it will work, with cross-platform play, purchases that are eligible across both PC and Xbox One and games moving more freely between the two.
It’s in the immediate aftermath of the talk that we meet – Spencer still wearing his DirectX 12 t-shirt, very much the in-look for the season – for a tightly marshalled 15-minute interview. He’s looking relaxed and confident, and although he talks with the considered cadence and verbose, sometimes hollow speak of a senior executive there’s something reassuringly genuine about him. That confidence, too, seems authentic.
“As the games team inside of Microsoft, we’re first class citizens in the direction the company’s going,” he says as he reflects on the talk he’s just finished. “It’s been great to get that affirmation from the CEO on all the work that we’re doing. We feel a commitment and a responsibility with that, and we’re trying to live up to it.”