Xbox Gamers Take Heart; New Moves At Microsoft Make Xbox "First Class Citizen"

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Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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Xbox Gamers Take Heart; New Moves At Microsoft Make Xbox "First Class Citizen"

It wasn't so long ago that gamers all over were a bit on edge about the moves at Microsoft, especially when there was word that Stephen Elop would be slipping into devices at Microsoft. That was a particularly distressing development, but a new letter from Microsoft shaped things up quite a bit, and gave gamers everywhere—particularly Microsoft gamers—reason to hope again.

The new letter came out from Satya Nadella, current CEO of Microsoft, who announced a few changes to the business roster at Microsoft. The biggest parts of the letter came in putting Stephen Elop in at devices, and Phil Spencer in a very exciting slot indeed. Spencer's new slot essentially put him in charge of all things Xbox, from Xbox Video to Xbox Music to even Microsoft Studios, the game-making arm of Microsoft. Elop, meanwhile, is said to be “working closely with” Spencer, meaning that any idea of Microsoft selling Xbox is unlikely to ever actually come to pass. That's good news for gamers—man, is it ever!--but it only gets better thanks to an interview that Spencer staged with GamesBeat.

Spencer, based on the interview, is eager to make gaming “a first-class citizen in everything Microsoft does,” and that sure sounds like some comforting corporate-speak. But Spencer might have a little extra behind that, given as he recently took the stage at the Game Developers' Conference in substitute for recently-departing Marc Whitten. Spencer then acknowledged some missteps on Microsoft's part—the higher price of the Xbox One, for example, as well as the issue surrounding used games—before noting that he was planning to turn that around, starting with a deeper relationship with Xbox fans.

While Spencer made some points about the overall future of the Xbox One, particularly in regard to its various entertainment features, Spencer further made it clear he would be “...leading with gaming...” and that E3 was going to be “...a nice E3 this year”. It included conversations with all the main names—EA, Activision, Take-Two, Ubisoft and so on—and Spencer further noted that “our third-party partners have been so important to our success”.

This is a good sign, or at least reasonably so. If the line holds throughout Microsoft's development, then we could be looking at a lot of great games in the future. There are still plenty to emerge, too; we've seen the “Mad Max” game get pushed back, “Dying Light” is at last report still on “to be announced” mode and if anyone knows where the next “Fallout” game is it would be a wonder. There's quite a bit sitting out there, and E3 is likely going to start telling a few stories all its own. Given that E3 is a little over two months out, we should be starting to hear some bits and pieces about things emerging at the show over the course of the next couple of weeks, give or take. The key point is, though, that Microsoft seems to be starting to appreciate the gamer, and should be putting out some prime material to keep its operation afloat in the coming months.

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