Xbox Boss Phil Spencer: "The Business is Not How Many Consoles You Sell"

Xbox Boss Phil Spencer: "The Business is Not How Many Consoles You Sell"

Spencer says you shouldn't worry about the hardware side of things.

Xbox has been turning a lot of heads by announcing new subscription services like Game Pass and putting its first-party games on other platforms. Some might see this as a detriment to Microsoft's console business, but Xbox boss Phil Spencer says the business isn't even in hardware.

"The business is selling software and services. The business is not how many consoles you sell," Spencer says in an interview with Kotaku. "The consoles are not where the profit in this side of the business is made, which is where the whole: 'Who's selling more consoes' at any one time as the kind of root good of who is doing well in the business is just not true."

Xbox seems to be taking a software approach, especially in the last few years, as it pushes its services like Game Pass and Xbox Live as its primary products. First-party Xbox Studio games are available on Game Pass day one, and smaller Xbox exclusives like Cuphead were released on the Nintendo Switch along with Xbox Live support. Microsoft is also acquiring many more studios to help support both of those software services.

But that doesn't mean Microsoft is abandoning its Xbox console anytime soon, or that it will become a developer-only studio that releases its games on the PS4. At E3 2019 Spencer announced Project Scarlett, the next-gen Xbox console. And later in the interview Spencer reiterates the value of having a native platform for its services.

"So, today, people are saying: 'Are you going third party?' Whatever that means. But the idea that we are a platform company continues to be true, and we think about how that platform infrastructure could grow. And we think having the world's most powerful console, having a great Xbox in the home, is a critical component of that."

It seems that Spencer is saying that Xbox can now be considered a network of platforms that range from physical hardware consoles, to services available on PC. And with xCloud that network will grow to include mobile devices as well. But all the games and subscriptions will still be considered part of an Xbox platform.

We'll have to see how far this network will extend when Scarlett comes out in holiday 2020. For more news, check out our Microsoft E3 recap.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Matt Kim

News Editor

Matt Kim is a former freelance writer who's covered video games and digital media. He likes video games as spectacle and is easily distracted by bright lights or clever bits of dialogue. He also once wrote about personal finance, but that's neither here nor there.

Read this next

Mailbag of the Blood God: What to Play if You're New to RPGs

The Axe of the Blood God mailbag returns with conversation about what to play if you're new to RPGs, Final Fantasy 13, and more.

Blizzard Reduces Suspension of Hearthstone Player and Casters Following Community Outcry

Both Blitzchung and the two commentators have had their suspension halved.

What's The Scariest Video Game Setting?

COMMUNITY QUESTION | To continue with Halloween tradition, let's talk about the creepiest environments in games.

Blizzard Gives Gay WoW Classic Guild its Name Back, But Makes No Guarantees That It Won't Change Again

On top of the ongoing Hearthstone controversy, WoW Classic guild "GAY BOYS" is bringing attention to Blizzard meddling with their name.

Riot Games Tells Players and Commentators to Not Discuss "Sensitive Issues" During World Championship

In the wake of the ongoing Blizzard suspension controversy, Riot wants to preempt political statements on League of Legends streams.

More News

Blizzard Reduces Suspension of Hearthstone Player and Casters Following Community Outcry

Both Blitzchung and the two commentators have had their suspension halved.

Blizzard Gives Gay WoW Classic Guild its Name Back, But Makes No Guarantees That It Won't Change Again

On top of the ongoing Hearthstone controversy, WoW Classic guild "GAY BOYS" is bringing attention to Blizzard meddling with their name.

More on Xbox One

Mailbag of the Blood God: What to Play if You're New to RPGs

The Axe of the Blood God mailbag returns with conversation about what to play if you're new to RPGs, Final Fantasy 13, and more.

A New Fortnite Battle Royale Map May Have Been Leaked on the App Store

Fortnite's map has changed a lot over its 10 seasons. Is it about to be replaced?

Ghost Recon Breakpoint is Still Lacking the One Thing Fans Truly Want

Hardcore fans want Breakpoint to be a harder survival experience.

The Witcher 3 Skellige Gwent Cards - Where to Find the Best Gwent Cards for the Skellige Faction

Here's where you can find the best Skellige Gwent faction cards in The Witcher 3.

The Witcher 3 Bestiary List - Every Monster Weakness

Everything you need to know about monster weaknesses and more in The Witcher 3.

The Witcher 3 Mutations - How to Get and Use Mutations

Here's how to unlock Mutations and use them correctly in The Witcher 3.