This year marks 20 years since Microsoft launched the first Xbox game console. For the past seven years, Vice President Phil Spencer has been in charge of the IT giant’s gaming business. The beginning of his work was not easy for him. Just a few weeks after he took office, he received a call from the new CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella: “Honestly, I have no idea why our company needs a gaming division” (quotes from GameSpot). Spencer took some time to think. Then he called back: “If we are going to stay in the game – let’s take risks!”
Since then, the Xbox has changed a lot. Spencer encouraged competitors to introduce cross-platform (when the same game can be played online by owners of consoles from different manufacturers). He took the first step when he bought one of the most popular games in history – Minecraft and did not prohibit its use on other people’s consoles. Soon, Xbox owners could play it online with Nintendo owners. He introduced backward compatibility: previously, on the new Xbox, it was impossible to play games that gamers had on the old version of the console. He introduced the Game Pass subscription system, a Netflix analogue for the world of video games, where players get access to a variety of games for a monthly fee, including new ones right on the day of release. Moreover, you can play from the cloud without installing the game on your device. An annual subscription costs about the same as buying two games.