I disagree with this point of view as I don’t think Phil Spencer has been successful in 2020 judged by his own yardstick.
He took over the running of the Xbox Division back in 2013 and he made the right call in getting rid of Kinect to enable a small power boost to the Xbox One but he hasn’t had much success this year.
At last year’s Game Awards he revealed the Xbox Series X then later he, Aaron Greenberg and Microsoft proclaimed it to be the ‘most powerful CONSOLE in the world’ and promised gamers that it would have the best versions of multiplatform games. It’s the reason I bought my Series X and the reason I bough Assassin’s Creed Valhalla on it, and it wasn’t the best version. However, following multiple technical comparisons by Digital Foundry, Red Gaming and others that found the PS5 version superior or equal. So in recent marketing that line has now had to be changed to the ‘most powerful XBOX in the world’. So the key benefit for owning it was not delivered.
Additionally, Halo Infinite the promised launch game was delayed. Now I do agree this was the right decision because it wasn’t quite ready for launch, however he knew for years, like Sony, that the Xbox Series X would launch in the year the new AMD chips would be ready. Covid is not an excuse as it didn’t stop the launch games of other companies, that’s bad managment.
The Bethesda buyout is the biggest positive gaming news this year, but as Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier suggested, this was a desperate move because in the seven years that he led Xbox he was about to launch a new studio so he had to go to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella with the proposal to keep Xbox in the game. After 7 years in charge it’s only now he manages to launch the Initiative studio, and instead of waiting for it to release a game and be judged on its quality he calls it a AAAA game to denote superior to everything that’s come before when there is no such terminology. This just demonstrates hot air not based on results.
I like Phil Spencer, he’s an upbeat guy especially when compared to the dour Jim Ryan. However for VGC to name him person of the year when 2020 has been one of his worst years reveals which side their, Andy Robinson and former OXM UK editor Tom Ivan’s bread is buttered.