In what has been viewed online as an overwhelmingly positive bit of news, Phil Spencer has been chosen to lead the Xbox division at Microsoft. Don Mattrick rubbed the public the wrong way with his detached business focused manner and the way the Xbox One hit the scene with its DRM fiasco. It didn’t help that he completely failed to communicate what was going on with the public and press and his departure on the heels of Microsoft completely reversing their stance on DRM was made his time with Microsoft look like a failure.
In the wake of this Microsoft wanted someone who resonated with gamers and the public and they couldn’t have made a better choice than Phil Spencer. This isn’t the only change in leadership as Nokia CEO Stephen Elop will also be on board once the Microsoft takeover of Nokia is finalized. People except that they will change the way Microsoft has handled these systems for the better and be much more consumer friendly. They need this boost too because they are lagging behind the PlayStation 4 in sales. These change ups are part of an upcoming charm initiative to try to turn around the Xbox One’s fortunes and perhaps keep ValueAct at bay. Value Act has been pretty vocal in wanting Microsoft to dump their hardware divisions, especially the Xbox and gaming groups and they represent one of the largest holders of Microsoft’s stock at the table.
Worse still is that the Xbox One seems to be falling behind the innovation race. Sony has made waves with their jump into VR and many thought Microsoft would have gotten into the race by making an offer to Oculus but Facebook got there first. While they did buy the Gears of War franchise Microsoft has very few exclusive franchises to fall back on and many gamers are moving towards the PC and what will eventually become the Steam OS platform since all of the games that come out on the Xbox One find themselves on that platform as well.
Phil has a tough fight ahead of him but at least he has a lot of support from the public. He might just need it.