Console wars are nearly as old as the games console business itself, with no sign of their ferocity dying down any time soon. And when a games journalist drummed up fanboy ire last night, no less than the head of Xbox himself weighed in.
It all started when Kotaku’s Jason Schreier harmlessly tweeted about how he was enjoying the PlayStation 4 exclusive Horizon: Zero Dawn before spring boarding into a bigger picture take on the state of console exclusives. “Past two years have really put an end to any PS4 vs. XB1 debate,” Schreier tweeted. “Not really a fair fight anymore. Scorpio needs to do something totally new.”
He didn’t stop there, instead doubling down on his belief that Sony is eating Microsoft’s lunch when it comes to exclusives. Schreier even had an interesting bit of advice for Microsoft: try something akin to Valve’s failed Steam Machines strategy and see if the console holder can find more success than Valve has in that realm.
“Microsoft clearly can’t compete w/ Sony on exclusives,” continued Schreier. “They should take the living room PC approach with Scorpio. Succeed where Valve failed.”
Naturally, a sizable chunk of Xbox fans on Twitter didn’t see eye-to-eye with the reporter. They weren’t the only ones. Phil Spencer, the head of Microsoft’s Xbox division, called Schreier’s tweets “Strange comments.”
Spencer then shared his own ideas on the Xbox One’s status, though it is notable that he chose to directly compare it only to previous Xbox platforms, avoiding any mention of the market-leading PlayStation 4. “Xbox is having a good gen, our best yet,” tweeted Spencer. “[Xbox One S] strong since launch. Can always improve but proud of where we are.”
Continuing, the executive said things are on the upswing for Xbox One. And although he wasn’t willing to share any specifics – we’ll likely get those on June 11 – Spencer did talk about the unreleased Xbox Scorpio, which Schreier had asserted needed to do something different.
“Hoping to see Scorpio blow everyone away this year,” added Spencer.
Schreier had said separately that the main idea behind his tweets was “that Microsoft needs to take a new approach for Scorpio. Current strategy isn’t gonna fly.”
Unsurprisingly, Spencer didn’t share any strategic thoughts on the console. Also unsurprising given Spencer’s historic focus on games, he did acknowledge the importance of great exclusive software. “Gamers want good games,” he continued. “Proud of our first party this gen, can always do more. Xbox gamers demand [a lot], we’ll work hard to deliver.”
Speaking of what the Xbox team will deliver going forward, Spencer just last week said he was “confident” in the lineup Microsoft was bringing to this year’s E3.
In his own Twitter conversation with fans, Schreier showed that he isn’t as hot on the Xbox lineup as Spencer. “All of their games are on PC. And this year’s PS4 lineup, from Nioh to Horizon to Persona, blows XB1 away,” he tweeted. In another message, he called the Xbox “superfluous” because of Microsoft’s current strategy of putting its exclusives on both Xbox and PC, pointing out that gamers could get a PS4 and PC and “play everything.”
For Spencer’s part, the Xbox head honcho has previously stated that he does not care whether gamers play Xbox games on PC or console, just so long as they play and enjoy them on either of those Xbox Live-enabled platforms.
As for why anyone might be talking up the competition at Microsoft’s expense right now, Spencer pointed to the release of Horizon: Zero Dawn’s, which was Schreier’s original focus.
“Always a little louder when good games ship on other platforms, totally get it.”