The Xbox 360 era was a different moment in time, certainly for the Xbox brand where it still seemed hungry to make a name for itself. That hunger often spilled over into 'console wars'; basically, folks arguing over which console is best. While that fierce competition has eased somewhat in recent years (although not totally), back then, Xbox even encouraged it.
Former Exec Peter Moore recently touched on his Xbox days on a new 'My Other Passion' podcast episode. While the show focuses primarily on sport, Moore's other career field, the two did talk about Xbox, especially the 360 era when Moore was involved. He left us this little tidbit about how Xbox handled the debate between themselves and PlayStation:
"We encouraged the console wars, not to create division, but to challenge each other, and when I say each other I mean Microsoft and Sony. If Microsoft hadn't of stuck the course after the Xbox, after the red rings of death, gaming would be a poorer place for it, you wouldn't have the competition you have today."
So, while these days Phil Spencer is incredibly open about his love of the other gaming platforms, things were a lot different back then. Execs likely still enjoyed other systems, but being so public about that wasn't the norm.
What do you think of this admission? Was it the right move at the time? Let us know your thoughts!
I think this was never the correct way to enter this industry, particularly when your history is so full of anti-trust suits and charges of anti competitive behaviours.
MS previously took over buisness areas by strong arming the little guys and no doubt some of that mentality was why they thought this was the right approach.
Unfortunately it helped set a pecident that we still experience today. It would have happened anyway I guess, people are tribalistic and look for a reason to fight, but it didnt need encouragement.
Im glad phil is not seen encouraging this... Props for that..
I’ve always enjoyed seeing 2 companies aggressively competing against each other. I find it much more interesting than what we have now where Phil Spencer and others are congratulating and praising rivals achievements and success. I find that so dull.
Yeah… it was mainly called ‘passion’ back then. And made the 360 into the success it was. And he’s spot on… you need the consumer passionate about what they’re supporting. And you also need your business competition knowing you’re in it to win it…and be aggressive in that. There’s always going to be the vocal minority that will run away with the toxicity - Phil being publicly nice hasn’t changed that.
Xbox are 100% more aggressive in their competitive nature today than they have ever been… only the platforms changed, and so has their end goal. But look how aggressive they are in their purchases…and look what that has resulted in these last couple of years alone - look how Sony have responded. Whether all these acquisitions will be good for gamers or not remains to be seen…but MS are investing to win…not a console war, a service war.
Xbox game base loved Peter Moore. Loved the exclusive 3rd party deals the 360 constantly did. Loved the first party support. Loved that the vast majority of multiplat games looked and performed better on 360 than they did on ps3. Loved the console war because xbox was competing.
Now, after a generation of hopelessness, we’re all like “the console war is bad”…funny that.
Personally I think the console war is amazing and long may it continue. It’s entertaining as hell. It breeds competition - which we as gamers ultimately gain from. It’s psychologically super interesting. And it’s passionate. It’s toxic and stupid and hilarious in it.
If they all pretended to be like Phil it would be boring as hell. It wouldn’t defuse toxicity. But it would dampen a sense of competition and one up man ship that could result in better games and better platforms. It would certainly make the gaming scene less passionate.
Also, It’s easy to be humble when you’re in last place.
I don't think MS were that different with their early consoles to the others they were essentially 'copying'. Sony came in a few years before and were the new kids on the block, challenging Nintendo and Sega to compete and with their PS2 (their second), they had a 'new' competitor and that started a new era of fanning fanboy console wars having seen off Sega.
Instead of Nintendo vs Sega, by the 360 era, it had become Sony vs MS. I know the 'Wii' sold very well, but it wasn't seen as a 'competitor', more as a secondary and complimentary choice to go with your PS3 or 360.
Both Sony and Microsoft are still 'new', youngsters to the gaming industry - the last two major companies to attempt and successfully build up a Gaming Platform with their own studio's. Maybe they felt that the only way to succeed was to be very competitive, copy Nintendo vs Sega's approach and 'challenge' the others to compete. Nintendo doesn't compete in the same way, they went the route of being 'different' - which makes porting the latest games from 3rd Party devs more tricky, but offer something the others didn't - whether it was 'motion' controls, touch screens or a 'hybrid' portable system.
Throughout the Sony vs MS era, both have borrowed from each other - from replacing 'memory' cards with internal HDDs, CD-Roms to Blurays, Composite AV to HDMI cables, built in Ethernet etc. Now both Sony and Microsoft though are 'mature' games companies - not the 'young newcomer', the angst ridden teenager etc who makes themselves 'feel' better by attacking their competitors, now are Adults and have much more mature attitudes to their peers.
I also think that gamers change as they get older. As a younger gamer, you only get 1 choice because parents or your own earning potential can't afford both - so you 'defend' whatever you end up with and have to hate on the rest. In Adulthood, you may have more money to purchase multiple systems to play 'ALL' the games you want.
I much prefer to see people being honest and able to give praise where it's due, stand up for each other too even as 'Rivals' - as Phil has with Sony devs etc. I think its more mature, more 'sportsmanship' etc, than petty playground spats. I have much more respect for the sportsmanship side of 'competition' and that 'pushing' all to improve, to be better and not regress into childish pettiness...
I mean, of course they would do that because they believe it creates loyalty towards their system.
"So, while these days Phil Spencer is incredibly open about his love of the other gaming platforms, things were a lot different back then."
And thank heavens for that! Even with Phil Spencer being as magnanimous as he is, the console wars are incredibly toxic and insidious.
You have developers like Kojima that have to release statements as to why he is working with Xbox and put an end to online abuse from fans of rival consoles. Not to mention petulant manchildren basically bullying the reviewer on reputable sites like Eurogamer for not recommending Horizon Forbidden West, it's beyond crazy now...
Intended or not the toxicity in the gaming industry over console wars is just as bad as politics. Gamers should be supporting each other regardless of the differences, we would likely find more friends and play more games that way.
@Sol4ris Yeah, the toxicity of the platforms during those days were just unbearable. Some of it remains today, but I stopped visiting certain PS websites because the comment sections were just pure hate towards Wii and 360 regardless of subject of the article.
It really tainted my enjoyment of different systems.
It's a strategy to challenge the the market leader publicly so people talk about it, sony did it with nintendo back in psone era (in crash bandicoot tv commercial and ff7 magazine advertisement), samsung did it with iphone back the in galaxy s1 era, usually this stop after the challenger get it's own style/design.
@Sol4ris That Kojima thing was great entertainment. Don’t you remember the years worth of buildup to that?
Let me set the scene… Xbox just had a killer conference June 2021. And all the Xbox channels proudly banged their chests proclaiming that 2022 Xbox will be unstoppable (RIP stupid ponies!)
The PlayStation faithful lost their minds. Sony was silent…had been for months. Their state of play lacklustre. Something had to give…and it was their minds…
They snapped! They placed on their tin foil hats and started frantically, heroically, attacking their keyboards and spreading the word…Abandoned was really a silent hill game being made by kojima!!!!
Blue box slithered further out of the shadows and took full advantage of these fragile minds. Played into the whole silent hills thing. Hell, even Geoff Knightly and Kojima had a little giggle at the Sony fanboys expense.
And then…dum dah dah dummmmm in steps Jeff grubb, proudly displaying his chest! He proclaims kojima is actually working with Xbox!!!!!!
The Sony faithful bite their quivering bottom lips and double down. Abandoned is Kojima! They gather in little circles. Chant, and cast spells against Grubb.
Months go by…little cracks start to show. There’s more and more rumours kojima is working on a cloud based horror game.
The Sony faithful start to accept the possibility Kojima is working on TWO games!! And Xbox gets the crappy cloud based one that no one will be able to play.
And then…shock horror, Bloober team is rumoured to be working on a silent hills!!!! Noooooooooo…. Not walking sim bloober team who I say I hate till they make a Sony exclusive!!!!
Bluebox has deleted tweets and gone quiet…snitches usually get stitches but reluctantly insiders are listened to…Abandoned isn’t kojima. It’s a trap!
The PlayStation faithful all slammed down their tinfoil hats. Group hugged and told one another they never believed it in the first place! They kneeled down and prayed to Kojima to send them a sign. They faithfully wiped themselves with 9 tails till they bled… and Kojima rises amongst the misty haze of bright light and gives them what they wanted….
Death stranding 2
A few weeks later…
Xbox conference 2022… kojima pops up with a cheeky smile. “I’m making a horror game for you bitches!”….and Xbox fans cheer and laugh in equal measure. And grubb cries a little for he is victorious!
And the PlayStation faithful already fragile mind breaks…and even though just a few short weeks earlier they knew kojima was making death stranding 2 they still feel compelled to ask if he’s, without any notion of irony, abandoning PlayStation.
Now why on earth would you want a world where non of that happened???
@Fenbops The two aren't mutually exclusive. You can complement each other on their success and still compete with each other, pushing each other forward.
What I find dull is all the dude-bro fanboys on both sides who identify with a console/brand more than fellow gamers. Tribalism is toxic.
Like others said, Microsoft was definitely not responsible for console wars. I'd argue they were actually late to that party and relatively impotent in terms of console war factor.
The 16-bit console wars of Nintendo and Sega are where most of the vitriol began. Nintendo was pure guerilla and generally disgusting. They didn't even need a direct competitor, they inspired the industry to mount a campaign against them even from their own partners. Sega's marketing however solidified the playground wars that became the future console war. Nintendo is still shadowed in the "kiddy console" image, even when they're the only console permitting pretty much full-on nudity and no limits on gratuitous violence. And that was an image produced by Sega, and ingrained so well we still have the stereotype present.
Sony then went on in their war with Sega to solidify the console wars. By the time Microsoft joined and got serious in the X360 era, the console wars were already raging and people were just looking for something to replace Sega's "faction" with.
I remember his GTA IV tattoo reveal. Priceless at the time.
Console war is cancer, it doesn't help anything or anyone. People are hating on each other because of a hobby that should bring us together. We are living on a moment of intolerance. It's bad socially and it's even worse psychologically.
@NEStalgia Yeah it’s like the whole ‘sega does what Nintendon’t’ never happened…
In fact, that campaign is a perfect example of how feeding into ‘console wars’ grew and benefitted gaming.
The 360/PS3/Wii era was the last time I think I truly loved gaming. Not to say there aren't a lot of games today I still really enjoy but things just seem so watered down now and boring as far as the mainstream AAA games. Just corporate cash grabs and you can tell. Not that they weren't before but it's definitely more obvious these days.
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