Xbox boss slams console tribalism, calling it ‘one of the worst things in the industry’

Xbox PlayStation
(Image credit: Future/Microsoft/Sony)

Head of Xbox Phil Spencer has shared his thoughts on console tribalism, and he’s got some stern words for those who spend their lives championing pieces of plastic.

Speaking with The Verge, Spencer took a stance against the “tribalism in the industry”, which is where groups of 'gamers' fight to protect the honor of their chosen console, because why not.

Even though Spencer has spent almost the entirety of his working life in the games industry, working his way up through Microsoft to become the head honcho at Xbox, he admitted that tribalism has gotten so toxic that it may be the only thing that would force him out of the games industry.

“The tribalism in the industry, if there was anything that would ever drive me out of the industry, it’s actually that,” Spencer said on The Verge’s Decoder podcast. When asked about the individuals who go to war over defending their favorite games or console, Spencer said “that’s just so off-putting to me… To me, it’s one of the worst things about our industry".

Spencer has taken a number of steps to widen the Xbox ecosystem over the last few years, such as bringing all Xbox Games Studio games to PC, as well as introducing cloud streaming to Android devices via Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. The company has even greenlit previous Xbox console exclusives for other platforms, such as Ori and the Will of the Wisps for Nintendo Switch, and teamed up for various crossovers and partnerships.

Choose your battles

Spencer went as far to state that Sony and Nintendo aren’t even Microsoft’s biggest competition, and that it's actually the “apathy over the products and services, games that we build” that are the real threat. Spencer also warned that console tribalism will ultimately damage the games industry in the long run. 

“When a team releases something into the market for … the world to tear it apart on the internet, it’s just such a brave thing for a team to do,” Spencer said. “I’m never going to vote against any creative team or any product team to do poorly because I have a competitive product. It’s not in me. I don’t actually think it helps us in the long run in the industry.”

So, whether you own an Xbox Series X, PS5, Nintendo Switch or play on Google Stadia, maybe it's time to put the negativity aside and just enjoy playing games, no matter which platform you own. 

Adam Vjestica

Adam was formerly TRG's Hardware Editor. A law graduate with an exceptional track record in content creation and online engagement, Adam has penned scintillating copy for various technology sites and also established his very own award-nominated video games website. He’s previously worked at Nintendo of Europe as a Content Marketing Editor and once played Halo 5: Guardians for over 51 hours for charity. He is now an editor at The Shortcut.