Sony Slams Microsoft’s Xbox One Strategy; Phil Spencer Responds

Sony’s Entertainment boss Andrew House slammed Microsoft publically at Gamescom 2013 for not having a consistent strategy at Gamescom and doing a “180” on a number of issues.

“While others have shifted their message and changed their story, we were consistent in maintaining a message that is fair and in tune with consumer desires.”

In an interview with Eurogamer Microsoft Studios boss Phil Spencer accused “certain people” of trying to turn these policy changes into “a bad thing”, insisting the company’s ability to react to feedback was “a strength”.

“The thing I love about the space we’re in is you’re always going to get feedback, whether it’s on your Twitter feed, whether it’s in NeoGAF, whether it’s in Eurogamer,” Spencer said. “People are going to tell you in comment threads how they feel about decisions. The two-way conversation we have with our customers is a strength. Certain people have tried to turn that into something that’s a bad thing about what we’re trying to do, and I just disagree.”

Spencer explained his position: “We built a platform for gamers. Gamers invest their time and their money in the things they want to play, and they’re going to invest their time in telling us what they love about the platform, and they’re giving us feedback on areas where they have more critical feedback. “That two-way conversation with gamers has to be core to who we are as a platform. And if we don’t have the capability of listening and reacting to what people are saying about our platform, then we’re being too disconnected from customers who make investments in our platform and the games we build.” 

“The two-way conversation that we have with gamers is critical,” he said. “If we weren’t able to listen then I don’t think we’re really creating the ecosystem that means people want to come into the platform. “Other people will do and say what they’re going to say. Fine. We’re running our program. That’s a strength of who we are.” 

“Now, we have a vision, and we’ve stayed on that vision around the digital ecosystem we want to put on Xbox Live,” he said. “It remains a core philosophy. We heard people valued some of the existing generation’s disc-based DRM, so we said we’re going to add that to the digital ecosystem we’re building.  “It meant some delays in some of the stuff around digital so we could fit in the time to get physical done at launch, but our vision remains the same.

I look at that as just us having that two-way conversation with gamers. That has to be a strength.” Spencer described the Xbox One as “more of a service than a fixed piece of hardware“, and said changing its offering was a natural part of the process.  “When you think about the platform and all of the times we’ve updated the dash on 360, Live and the live ecosystem that’s there, it’s really important that we run the program as a service,” he said, “and community and social engagement with the gamers who are playing on the system is critical.”

Read the Full Story at Eurogamer

About the author  ⁄ Suril Amin

Suril is a scientist, journalist and obsessive Microsoft observer. He holds an advanced degree in Biotechnology with minors in Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Molecular Biology. Send him tips on twitter: http://www.twitter.com/surilamin

  • freshfelicio

    Sony is just mad. They planned the exact same DRM shit, but at their reveal, they just revealed their controller, and waited for MS to make the first step. After the negative feedback thex revealed their console at E3 and did like it was their inital plan to only have DVDs as games and did not bundle the PS Eye with the PS4. Bullshit. But MS listened to the feedback and now Sony is mad, because sharing physical DVDs was like their only feature. Xbox One is better in every way.

    • Allan Cantillo

      I agree. If MS changed position is positive no matter what competition say.

  • Zero

    Well I’ve converted from xbox to ps4. Microsoft can get stuffed for their stupidity!

    • Emily the Strange

      and we care because…..?

    • gumby

      Ok, why exactly were they stupid? Maybe you just did not understand? Ever think of that. And even then, they listened and changed because people like you told them to. How is a company stupid for doing what customers ask of it? How exactly did they wrong ypu so horribly?

    • reKitab

      How was the absolution ceremony?:)

    • NGM123

      Liar, your a sony fanboy from way back

  • Emily the Strange

    blablabla that’s all Sony and PS4 have… nothing innovative or good (since Xbox One exclusives are way better)
    Microsoft just shows Xbox its a work in process, and like it or not, they are still working to bring innovations and all. imagine something like project spark, so deep and amazing, leaving the game as it was when they showed it at E3? it would miss a lot of important things.
    you know, its not like Microsoft hasn’t improved xbox over the years, compare xbox 360 launch to 2013 and tell me if Microsoft didn’t do anthing for it. of course they did! and they will, its not like they are changing hardware things (maybe a small overclock) but they are a software company afterall, and they know they have to tweak and fix and make new things to make Xbox better and better, and they will do that until next xbox is released. because that’s how Microsoft works, maybe sometimes they will seem slow in other products, but in things about Xbox they always work pretty fast.

    • Maminiaina R.

      and what exactly is not so innovative about the ps4? since now the xb1 is following everything about the ps4? about exclusive, it’s a matter of choice and at least for the last 2 years sony exclusive were miles ahead. MS screwed up. period. and i say that by being a MS supporter. both system have their good and bad side. stop being a fanboy and be a real gamer. buy both system

      • Spawned

        No PS4 is copying the Xbox 360 approach almost exactly except Sony likes to talk a lot of crap and add arrogance to their approach.I don’t support arrogant pricks so I won’t be buying the PS4 or Sony products.

        • Maminiaina R.

          Last time I remember Sony didn’t do the famous 180 lately.look at it this way, MS doing the 180 is not a bad thing, it shows they listen and that they acknowledge that they messed up. and what is so similar between ps4 and 360? but then you fail to point out that for example ps4 had not so strict drm policy..xb1 followed, ps4 had no permanent internet requirement, xb1 followed, ps4 had self publishing. xb1 after saying they had no plan for that (e3) followed. As for you not buying anything from sony, your problem man, it’s your money, your choice, you do whatever you want with it. on my side i just want to play game, regardless of platform or who made it so i’ll take both

          • Spawned

            External hard drive, hopping on the ATI and core processor train (cell processor was a mess) PS network, making PS eye Kinect like, pricing below competitor (exact 360) also the marketing strategy feels very similar to that of the 360 when it was launched. Apparently you don’t know much about DRM and how it works in the digital world check out how Steam works. Developers are struggling and ms wanted to show support and at the same time move towards the inevitable future of digital media. Sony showed it doesn’t care about how used games hurt developers and made a ps3.5 still clinging to physical media without innovating. MS did not follow in Sonys suit they merely responded to feedback from gamers and dumbed it down so the Xbox one would handle games in the same way the 360 did. Consumers were I’ll informed and did not want to take the effort to see where the XB1 was coming from and the benefits. You should do a little more research. Sony is more of a copy cat these days Ahem Wii> Move and now Kinect>PSeye

          • Maminiaina R.

            by your logic then ps2 had a PSeye already so microsoft copied that, made it better of course but still the idea was sony’s. External hdd? original launch ps3 had internal and ps4 still does. so xb1 then copied internal hdd since the original 360 had hdd as an accesory. Hahahaha, and sony who copied microsoft’s price? really?! So MS then copied Sony’s PS3 marketing and said”let’s make it more expensive than the conpetition”
            i know how the drm work but physical media is still needed in some part of this world man. we all live (i assume) in countries that allows the use of digital media but there are countries that doesn’t allow that because of how bad is the internet. i know that because i come from madagascar and people there do play games there but they won’t be able to download huge games. it would take 2 days, and with data cap and sh**tty speed God knows if it’s possible. i’m talking about my country but still a lot of places live with bad internet. we are not all in US or Europe. Now i understand that the world is shifting towards digital but now it’s still not gonna work. as for used games…it’s really one way or the other, but i still prefer being able to lend my game to a buddy and borrow his one too. what MS wanted to do was like you buy a movie disc and you can only watch it at your friends house after he pays for it again.

          • nohone

            The original Xbox had a hard drive, Sony derided it, then added it for the PS3.
            360 had achievements, Sony laughed, then added their own called entitlements, then renamed it trophies.
            Microsoft charged for Live, Sony used it as a marketing plan to try to win against Xbox. Then Sony started charging for PSN+, and now they are charging for online play with PS4.
            Sony likes to use the once always on as an attack against Xbox One, but then talk about how great all their features are that require an always online connection.
            Sony likes to proclaim they are all about games and not tv, that they don’t need cloud support, then talk about how much their console is used for Netflix, add new online video streaming sites (twitch), and make partnerships with Rackspace for cloud.
            I could go on and on about Sony’s 180s over the PS4, without mentioning all the 180s they made with the PS3. But those changes were not 180s, it was good for the consumer – even though, with the PS3, they were not good for the consumer, they were downright bad for them.

          • Maminiaina R.

            like you said, those change are good for consumer, and if you read what i said earlier, you would see that i did say the same thing, and it shows that MS accepted that they made a mistake… my point in this whole thing is for us to be real gamer instead of choosing side like one system is so bad etc.. both system are good and have their share of problem too. and like you said sony is not about tv function, it doesn’t mean that they don’t have it..but the game aspect is more important. on xb you have to pay to use some like netflix etc. i think it’s kinda dumb cause you already pay to have netflix in the first place. at the end of the day you are gonna pay for live to play online but it’s ok to put those outside the paywall. And i don’t see what so bad for consumer about the ps3..yes they made ps+ but it’s not compulsory on the ps3. if you paid for it, how many games can you get for free? so much more than on xb. now we could argue about live being superior on the multiplayer side, having croos chat etc, but then again, it’s no so bad on ps3 like everybody want to say it’s not even working..because it does

          • nohone

            I don’t believe the changes Microsoft made were the best for the gamer, there were many changes that were made because of public pressure, and most of that pressure was not by people who would buy an Xbox One, but by PS fans who have an interest in seeing One fail.

            Sony for 8 years said they would never change for online gaming, their fans excoriated the 360 for charging for online play. But now, suddenly, it is perfectly fine for Sony to charge to make their service better, and the same people who used a pay service as an attack, are now saying it will make online play great for the gamer. Stick to one story.

            A couple days ago Sony announced they were shipping on the console a game that they previewed months ago that required the eyetoy. So while they are attacking Microsoft over bundling Kinect, they ship software that requires it, meaning those who do not buy eyetoy cannot use the software that ships on the console. But I guess that is ok, because it means the NSA cannot snoop on PS4 users like the PS fans like to claim, even if it means software will not work.

            As for the PS3, is a promised but removed second HDMI out, a second Ethernet in, a future proof cell processor (not ver future proof if they are future shipping an x86 processor), a removed HDD good for the gamer? Oh yes, for as much as Microsoft was attacked for having an optional HDD, Sony now ships a PS3 with 12GB of flash, and no ability to install a HDD meaning some games cannot be played since those 50gb BR disks that requires installation cannot be installed. But you know what? Sony’s flip flops and 180s are perfectly fine, because it is “good for the gamer” even if it means gamers cannot play games the way they were promised. And that ignores things like being able to install alt OSes, even though it was removed under the threat to disable the ability to play games – was that good for the gamer?

          • Maminiaina R.

            First of all “Sony now ships a PS3 with 12GB of flash, and no ability to install a HDD”. Really dude, maybe you should inform yourself before saying lies. you just need to buy a drive mounting bracket to put the hdd.

            Second they when they said they never charge for online, it was on the ps3 assuming the never mention about the ps4 before. now for the game the bundle who uses the PSeye, it’s not a game by definition but a tech demo so it’s like you buying a new HD Tv with skype but you need to buy the camera separately for it to work.

            For the other OS feature, is it really necessary, it was a trade off because they try to fight piracy too. earlier it was mentionned that microsoft protects devs against used games with their old DRM policy so it’s more like sony protect the devs by disabling feature that allows piracy.

            like you said, whether the changes MS did is good for gamer or not, it’s up for debate, but on my side i think yes, because allowing me to lend my disc to a friend or borrow his one is for me how game disc should work, like always. with or without internet. if I have internet, it’s better, i can play online, if i don’t then good, but at least i still can play.

            And when you say before Sony didn’t charge, but now they do. the ps4 is a new platform, it’s normal they change stuff, else it will still be the same console as in the ps1 era.

            Last about NSA……lol.. really they can spy, watch do whatever they want on xb1 or ps4, it doesn’t bother me a bit, it’ s not like my life is so much interesting they gonna use it. if they do, i hope they make me famous. haha

          • noh_one

            Let me paraphrase what you wrote:
            Excuse, excuse, and another excuse.
            Sony has flip flopped from the day they announced the PS2, when they said it would be able to generate Toy Story quality graphics, until today. They have done so many 180s, they have drilled themselves into the ground. An not one of those changes has been with the gamer in mind.

          • Maminiaina R.

            So if you say mine is all excuse, what are yours then. since backtracking for you is excuse, the MS had tons of excuses for the 180. What amazes me is that you can’t think of it objectively. They all make 180s but in you eyes only one company did it when it was blatant that MS did it recently. And what is so bad for gamers that sony did? to allow people on ps3 to buy ps+ and give them tons of free games while still being able to play online for free??? for that matter, the ps3 has never changed online capabilities. if you so happy about paying for every function of xb1, then next time buy a car, pay for gas and pay also for being able to turn the whell and also pay to allow a friend to drive it

          • NGM123

            To defend sony is laughable. They are the kings of DRM.

            Google ‘sony root kits’. As a company they have everything BUT the consumers interests at heart.
            We now have blu ray purely because it adds tons of DRM and was yet another sony propriety driven, monopolistic market domination strategy that mostly failed, HD audio and video is a convenient marketing by product to hide the real DRM agenda and try to force the market to remain in the disc based stone age environment controlled by them.

          • Maminiaina R.

            yes like i said they all try to find a way to fight piracy, but they use it differently. now in your mind, do you friends need to pay if they borrow your car and you allow it? or do they need to be online? to be able to start it? because that is the problem with xb1 first policy. maybe for you it’s normal, but for a lot of people, there is a certain freedom you want when you buy something. A Blu-ray disc form Sony like you said is full of DRM but if you borrow it from your pal, you can watch it period. or do you want to pay then in that situation? as for disc based stone age.. if you like download based stuff it’s alright, but disc is always more convenient. and not even talking about data cap in US. so if you download 6 full game in a month (assuming 1 game is 8gb) then your isp will charge you more. with disc, no need to download, just play, plus no need to worry about hdd space to store all the game because some people just don’t like having to delete something to be able to install something else

          • NGM123

            I own a PS3 and a 360. I didn’t like all of MS choices this time around, but I think they have the potential to be great with the xbone especially with their online experience. Both have good consoles tho but sony has a well documented history of taking great dumps on their customer base and charging over the top crazy prices for their proprietary driven madness, hence their current woeful financial state. That is a fact.

            You sir tho are just being a fan boy/ zealot/ cyclops

          • Maminiaina R.

            Like you i own both console and if you read all things i’ve said, i did mention both platform has its shortcomings. if by saying buy both system means to you that i’m fanboy etc then you should think again and look at you maybe. i’m just pointing out at MS fault here since everybody in this site (except you at least) seems to say that MS choices were just beyond fault and was totally perfect with only the gamer in mind. and yes Sony does this proprietary stuff all the time, it’s tiring and it’s bullsh**t but as since we talk ps4, there is not much proprietary about it. To say and speculate that they wanted to do like MS on PS4 etc is just mad cause the fact is, at least for now, Ps4 allowed more liberty than xb1. MS is no stranger to Sony’s behaviour too when they put over the top prices too. look at Surface RT for example, it should be a great system but because of it’s old price it couldn’t even compete with iOS and Android. I know it’s superior system, i have one, capable of doing more, but to bet only on office to sell it was just arrogant. at the end of the day people need apps. yes you have a browser, but still people want apps not browser and yet it was more expensive. if only they could compete in the apps and sell at higher or similar price i could understand. and i don’t mention surface pro here cause this one is a different beast.

            So at the end, if you call me fanboy zealot cyclops and yet you deny MS makes stupid mistakes sometime and it’s only sony doing sh*t all the time and that they can’t ever get things right then maybe you should look in the mirror. because to never get things right and to be in front (360 not wii) in the global market while starting a year late is certainly a sign that a lot of people don’t believe they totally screw up

      • Ronny Bryant

        Hmmm, you say for the last 2 years Sony’s exclusives were “miles ahead” however, the numbers show that XBOX 360 has been MILES AHEAD in sales for the last 3 years… consecutively.

        Did Microsoft screw up? That is actually a matter of opinion – a petition with hundreds of thousands of names on it was out there for Microsoft to HOLD FAST to their “DRM dreams” and other XBOX 1 features. Did a lot of gamers scream about Microsoft’s decisions? YES! Does that mean they screwed up? NO! They just made a decision that a lot of people didn’t like.

        And what did they do? They decided to listen to gamers. Now, granted, you’re free to call that whatever you want – backtracking, following, copying, etc., but at the end of the day, whatever you choose to call that, does not take away from the much more evolved system of the XB1, compared to that of the PS4.

        Heck, just having an HDMI in makes it more progressive technically; then when you factor in the whole Kinect thing, they’re sure to go down in history (in a good way) for what they’ve accomplished.

        • Maminiaina R.

          but the numbers of 360 you are counting is only North America. like i said earlier in my comment i think globally, so the world is not only NA and if you look at current numbers, despite being one year late to the party, ps3 leads worldwide.
          Also like i said earlier, yes MS did a 180 but never did i say it’s a bad thing. it”s good because it shows they listen to the people who at the end of the day can decide to buy or not.
          and yes kinect is sure a good stuff, but for me personally i’m more excited about trying out the new controller than kinect as like the whole wii thing this motion stuff is gonna come down. it’s really fun the first time but after that it’s just tiring..yes i’m that lazy but a loto of people i know are too when they play game and it’s more easy to press a button on the controller than moving your arm around in the air.
          As for hdmi in, like you said it’s more progressive technically but i just wish they put dvr function outside the paywall. because now it’s like you buy a vcr recorder and you still have to pay monthly fee to record something too

  • rjmlive

    Microsoft had a bold vision it didn’t share properly. That’s probably the biggest problem. The second problem is the actual competition from Sony building a PS3 v.2 which is what the majority of gamers seemed to want. The third problem was the gamer community the for the most part, has made a knee jerk reaction in response, as fickle consumer hive minds tend to work.

    Microsoft’s marketing failure.
    Sony’s don’t fix what aint broken approach
    Consumer fickle fear of change/innovation

    This may end up being a good thing overall. First it will give life back to Sony and hopefully they will be around for longer because of this. Secondly, the Xbox One community will be certainly populated with cooler heads in general. If we were able to wade through the marketing debacle of Microsoft and still investigate and understand the value of the platform, INCLUDING the value and feature proposition of the KINECT 2.0, then these are the people I would rather interact with online. People with similar abilities to reason and see the value of the Xbox ecosystem for the short AND long term. This may have matured the Xbox One/Live experience in spite of Microsoft’s terrible marketing and perhaps somewhat ahead of it’s time approach.

    Microsoft can still be held accountable for missing the current mark by so far and not understanding their competition with sufficient respect or being able to predict the consumer reaction. This wasn’t necessarily an engineering, platform and ecosystem misstep, this was a pretty disastrous marketing approach. Microsoft may succeed so well, in spite of itself. I find the Xbox One with Kinect the best platform for me by far.

  • Adrian
    • MSFTmanJosh

      yup but sony fanboys wont ever admit that and neither will tech sites.

    • first name

      have you been to the google play store lately??? It’s looking more and more like a metro spinoff with each passing day.

  • DFranch

    I know that MS probably wanted to keep their plans for the XB1 secret, and that is probably why their initial plans for the XB1 were so shocking to the gamer community. They should have done focus groups to determine what people really wanted in the XB1 instead of what the developers thought was cool. As it turns out, a lot of people didn’t agree with the developers and they have egg on their face. I don’t really know what use I’d get from the kinect sensor, and really don’t know if it is worth the extra $100. However I use Windows media center, and it looks like the XB1 will be a much better media center extender than the 360.

    • TroyGates

      Microsoft does do focus groups, I have participated in several. Focus groups are always under NDA and cannot speak about anything.

      • DFranch

        Actually, I take that back. I totally can see that a focus group might not have a problem with the always on broadband internet connection and inability to sell games. Truth be told, I don’t do either of those things, and I think the same is true most people. The problem is they treated the minority of loyal supporters like they didn’t care, and they got really upset, then the media fueled the fire, and they had a major backlash on their hands.

  • zakaweb

    I’m getting both systems but I believe that Sony is pandering to their fan boys with there statements.

    • Bugbog

      As we’ve seen from politician’s, easy easier to pander, than to be bold.

      Just about everything Sony has done (with the exception of holding their non-reveal/reveal first, although it was just the controller), has been to counter Microsoft’s announcements, with pandering counter-movements!

    • NGM123

      It’s called panic, Sony is struggling to remain relevant.

  • Raskilinov

    I’m not sure if it was intentional by the author, but that top picture is of Phil Spencer from Channel 4’s “Location, Location, Location”; and not of the Head of MS Studios.

  • spikec2

    Damn to many xbox dipsh@ts here, it is one thing to defend the system but doing so blindly is stupid. Current sales figure say otherwise to your so call innovating console. Both system are NOT next gen. When ps4 pgu is equal to a measly 7870 and xbox guy is equal to 7790, doesn’t say much anyway. Well at least one can do 1080 easier than that horrible configuration esram that bottlenecking.