Phil Spencer, former head of Microsoft Studios, has been promoted to head of Microsoft’s entire Xbox branch today, the company announced. Spencer will now lead his former studio, as well as Xbox, Xbox Live and the creative teams, which include Xbox Music and Xbox Video.
“Combining these teams will strengthen the connection between some of the world’s most innovative creators and those building the Xbox itself,” Spencer said. “I am incredibly proud of the talented Xbox employees around the world and believe, like they do, in the power of technology to bring games and entertainment to life across console, PC, tablet and mobile devices.”
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella formally made the announcement in a companywide email sent out earlier this morning. “Over the years, Phil’s team at Microsoft Studios has helped build a community of more than 80 million Xbox owners and 48 million Xbox Live members through blockbuster game franchises,” Nadella said. “Phil is the right person to lead Xbox forward.”
“It’s been a remarkable year for Xbox and I am honored to lead the team at this incredible time for Microsoft and the games industry,” Spencer continued in his announcement letter. “You will hear much more as we head into E3, but we are at the beginning of an incredible new chapter for Xbox and I can’t wait for the days and years ahead. This is going to be fun.”
You might recognize Spencer’s name from the news recently as he made comments at last weeks Game Developer Conference in San Francisco about launching Xbox’s Games With Gold Program for the Xbox One.
“The Games With Gold program on Xbox 360 has been successful for us. It’s been part of the value people see in Gold, something we recognize that isn’t on Xbox One that isn’t there today,” Spencer said. “We haven’t announced a plan, but people should understand that we understand the expectation that people have around what the value on Xbox One Gold should be. It might not look exactly the way things have looked in the past, but the recognition that that form of content and that perk for being a Gold subscriber is important to people, something we definitely hear.”
One of the more important things to take away from Spencer’s comments would be the emphasis on the program possibly looking different from what we already have on Xbox 360, maybe more closely resembling Sony’s PlayStation Plus model. Presently, Xbox Games With Gold releases a free game on the 1st and 16th of each month for Xbox Live Gold members, while PS+ releases a handful of titles on the 1st.