Xbox boss Phil Spencer has admitted that the infamous failures of the Xbox One launch back in 2013 could have led to the end of Xbox entirely (or more likely a sale), which he discussed with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
Speaking to Shacknews, Spencer highlighted how the Xbox team became separated following the departure of Xbox head Don Mattrick and eventually Xbox chief product officer Marc Whitten, and when Nadella became CEO of Microsoft in February 2014, the future of Xbox was ultimately in question.
"So Satya becomes the CEO in February. Then the question is, do we go forward with Xbox? Because we're getting really outsold by PlayStation in the market at this point. Do we stay invested in it? Or do we make a different decision?
He and I had a discussion, and I made a pitch. I said, "You know, gaming can be a real important consumer category for the company." He didn't quite understand it yet, not from an intelligence standpoint, but he just hadn't been close to it. But he was willing to make a bet on us as a team."
The Xbox One launch was marred by a heavy focus on the device's multimedia capabilities rather than its games, and it was initially revealed as requiring a 24-hour internet connection and being unable to play used and rented games - two features Microsoft eventually backed down on following significant backlash.
Spencer, who was head of first-party at the time, went on to explain that while it might have seemed somewhat clear to others that he might take over Mattrick's old role, he was in some ways "the last person left at the table".
"I think the reason I ended up in the job, frankly, was the other leaders were gone. I tease myself that I was the last person left at the table. and there's some truth in that. I want to make sure I keep my ego in check. It wasn't a clear, 'You take the person who ran first-party and make them head of the platform.' But frankly of the leaders that were there, I was the one that was left."
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