Microsoft considered abandoning consoles after the Xbox One launched
It’s no secret that the launch of the Xbox One was especially rough, but in a new interview, Xbox head Phil Spencer gives more insight onto the mentality at Microsoft surrounding the system’s failing.
According to Spencer, the Xbox team was in a bit of disarray following E3 2013. Then Xbox boss Don Mattrick left Microsoft, and the team was split into three different sections.
“This took what was the cohesive team under Don and split it up into three, still with the goal of us shipping this console with games, and it was difficult,” Spencer tells Shacknews in the interview. ” I don’t think it was the best move for stability of our launch.”
As the console’s launch in November came around, another high-profile member of the Xbox team, Marc Whitten, left Microsoft. So too did Steve Ballmer, meaning the company was without a CEO. Early the next year, Satya Nadella came in to fill that role, and he wasn’t someone who immediately understood the importance of gaming to the company.
“Then the question is, do we go forward with Xbox? Because we’re getting really outsold by PlayStation in the market at this point,” Spencer remembers. “Do we stay invested in it? Or do we make a different decision?”
Thankfully, during a meeting with Nadella, Spencer was able to convince his new boss to keep giving the Xbox a chance. He became the lead of the Xbox division, which also became an actual division again, as the teams that had been split apart were brought back under the same roof.
To read much more behind the scenes tales of the Xbox One, and the just-launched Xbox Series X/S, check out Shacknews’ interview with Phil Spencer.
Mollie got her start in games media via the crazy world of gaming fanzines, and now works at EGM with the goal of covering all of the weird Japanese and niche releases that nobody else on staff cares about. She’s active in the gaming community on a personal level, and an outspoken voice on topics such as equality in gaming, consumer rights, and good UI. Check her out on Twitter and Mastodon.