Phil Spencer on Xbox One Launch: “We Were in a World of Pain”

The head of Xbox Phil Spencer has spoken about the Xbox One‘s ill-fated launch, describing the “world of pain” that the team was left in following its poor consumer reception.

Speaking at the DICE convention yesterday, Spencer described the fallout of the Xbox One reveal, which attracted widespread criticism on account of its emphasis upon TV functionality and its strict DRM policies.

“The team was in a world of pain,” he said (via Polygon). “We hadn’t done our best work with the launch of Xbox One. Market share was taking a nosedive. It was painful to read all the headlines. The team thought the leadership team had gone tone-deaf about what our customers expected from us.”

Spencer then went on to describe how the Xbox One’s failure to launch signaled the need for internal change within the Xbox team: “We needed a reboot,” he said. “Morale was at a low. We kept missing big trends. Infighting and fiefdoms were so famous, people made fun of it. It would have been funny if it hasn’t been so true. So we hit refresh on everything, a comprehensive rethinking and rebuilding of our culture.”

The Xbox chief then went on to describe a need for inclusivity at Microsoft: “It is incredibly slow and painful to get everyone on board and to admit your own biases,” he added. “It’s about making a commitment to keep listening and learning. We must keep at this transformation because we know it enables our best work. That means all genders, all abilities and all ethnicities in all geographies. This is our quest.”

Spencer further elaborated on his thoughts regarding inclusivity in gaming by pointing to increased representation in Hollywood movies, such as the recent blockbuster movie Black Panther. “Representation isn’t just good common sense, it’s good business sense,” he concluded.

The Xbox One has started to make ground late into its life cycle, with the Xbox One S and Xbox One X offering both low- and high-end options for buyers, while Microsoft securing console exclusive rights to PUBG was also a major boon for the company. Rare’s Sea of Thieves is also on the horizon following its highly popular beta, with the multiplayer game potentially attracting a wide audience to the console.

The Xbox One was revealed in May 2013, with Spencer appointed as the head of Xbox in March 2014 after Satya Nadella was appointed the CEO of Microsoft. The previous CEO, Steve Ballmer, led the Xbox brand in a direction that proved to be off-putting to its audience, causing an internal shake-up that has since seen Spencer climb to Microsoft’s Executive Vice President of Gaming.

Image Credit: Microsoft