Part of the reason why Microsoft revealed the Xbox Series X in December during The Game Awards was because Xbox lost considerable ground to Sony in the current console generation, and the company wanted to start doing things differently to win back its market position for next-gen. Xbox boss Phil Spencer spoke about Microsoft’s plans recently, saying he was originally hesitant about revealing the Xbox Series X so early–after all, it isn’t set to release until later in 2020, around the same time as the PS5. However, thanks to a persistent marketing boss, Spencer came around to the idea.
Looking ahead, Spencer said on the Gamertag Radio podcast that you can expect Microsoft to launch “bold” strategies to promote the Xbox Series X as it attempts to win back marketshare from PlayStation.
“We made the decision … the decision was actually really pushed forward by one of our marketing leads, and she’s awesome, and she just stood up in a room and she said, ‘We should go do something bold. Something we’ve never done before,'” Spencer said about the Xbox Series X reveal.
“Let’s face it, we’re not in the market position we wanted to be in this last generation. I don’t think we’re going to get to disrupt and grow our business just doing what we’ve always done. Let’s go try to do new things,” he added. “And when she first brought the idea to me … honestly, I wasn’t the biggest fan. I was like, ‘Well, there’s going to be a lot of other games there…'”
Spencer said he has been impressed by The Game Awards creator Geoff Keighley’s strategy and vision that has spawned a can’t-miss event that draws millions of viewers each year. As such, Spencer came around to the idea of announcing the Xbox Series X during someone else’s event. Historically, Microsoft has announced new consoles during its own news briefings so it can control the messaging more directly.
In addition to the Xbox Series X, Microsoft announced Hellblade 2 during The Game Awards. The trailers for the game and the console “played well,” Spencer said. Now that he’s had some time to look back and reflect, Spencer said he’s happy with how things played out, but it wasn’t always a sure thing.
“It was cool to do it,” he said. “And the response has been great. But to be completely honest with you, I could be sitting here today and it could have been a disaster.”
Looking ahead to the Xbox Series X, Microsoft is no doubt planning numerous campaigns to promote the console ahead of its release this holiday. Spencer didn’t share any specifics, but he teased that Microsoft is aiming to “think about things in a different way” with regards to its marketing and promotion of the console.
“I like trying something bold. I’m really happy with the way it played out and the response from the fans,” he said of the Xbox Series X reveal during The Game Awards. “But every decision we make between now and launch, we’re trying to think about things in a different way. Some of them we’ll get right. Some of them we won’t. But we’re definitely not going to be meek. We’re going to bold in what we’re trying to go do.”
Microsoft has yet to share many of the key specifics around the Xbox Series X like its release date, price, and launch title lineup. Halo Infinite is a launch title, but it remains to be seen what other new games may be available on day one. As announced previously, the Xbox Series X will play Xbox One games, as well as Xbox 360 and Original Xbox games. Spencer recently spoke about how “tons” of backwards compatibility games are always playable on Xbox Series X.
Microsoft will return to E3 2020 in June, and both the Xbox Series X and Halo Infinite are projected to feature in the event in a big way. Sony, which has its own next-generation console coming this year with the PS5, won’t attend E3 2020.
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