E3 2014 is over and the console wars continue to heat up with Sony’s PlayStation 4 (PS4) taking on Microsoft’s Xbox One. Speaking with GamesIndustry International after Microsoft’s E3 media briefing earlier this month, Xbox boss Phil Spencer acknowledged Sony’s lead in the console wars, but noted there was plenty of time left for Microsoft to overshadow it.
“You look at what Sony has sold, and congratulations to them; they’ve had a great launch. Maybe we’re 10 percent of the way into this generation, so we’re early, early days in how this will all play out. I tip my hat to them. I think they’ll likely have a great show, and they should; they’re coming in with a lot of strength. But this is a long-term competitive space, which is good for consumers,” Spencer stated.
Spencer was also asked during the interview if he knew why the Xbox One fell behind Sony’s PS4. He stressed the importance of a Kinect-less Xbox One bundle for $399, which matches the price of the PS4. Spencer explained that this was necessary, and that removing the Kinect would not make it difficult for developers to justify supporting the motion sensor.
“A Kinect game relies on the successful Xbox One installed base. I need to, as the head of Xbox, make sure that we’ve got a platform and a product offering that millions of consumers will love, and I stay focused on that. That’s where I’m at now. We’ll also continue to evolve what Kinect can do. We see millions and millions of people using Kinect today. We’ve had over a billion voice commands used. The use of Kinect in people’s homes is incredibly high. And because people are continuing to use it, it’s an area we’re going to continue to invest, in terms of making the experience better,” Spencer adds.
“And I think that makes building games in that environment even better. Consumers love the device; they love the experience. They’ll buy it. They’ll either buy it at launch when they buy their console, or they’ll be able to buy it after the $399 console; they’ll pick it up and add it on later. And we’ll continue to make sure that experience is great,” he adds. Microsoft will soon allow consumers to purchase the Kinect separately if they so desire.
For now, Microsoft is deeply focused on the Xbox One. Spencer mentions during the interview that he knows the Xbox One has to win with the gaming community first – and its going to be a long term battle.
“I know this console has to win first and foremost with the gaming community out there, the gaming fans, the gaming customer,” Spencer said. “Winning with the gaming customer, focusing on Xbox Live as a long-term differentiator, and the entertainment experiences are incredibly important to our long-term success, but you have to sequence the focus in such a way that the core customer for your box understands what you’re about.”