originals\ May 13, 2014 at 7:30 pm

Phil Spencer’s job thus far has been nothing but righting the wrongs of the past year

Phil Spencer’s job thus far has been nothing but righting the wrongs of the past year

The Xbox One has suffered from an image problem. Tainted with a bad message and poor delivery, the system has suffered in comparison to its direct competitor, the PlayStation 4. Usually, when there’s a problem with a product’s image, there’s a reason for it. That reason generally stems from the top. In the case of the Xbox One, you could easily argue that was indeed the case. Don Mattrick’s reign as the Head of Xbox will likely be remembered for the system’s emphasis on multimedia over games.

Enter Phil Spencer, who from the start has embraced the “game” in “video game console.” His introduction featured an emphasis on creating the best games possible. The company’s decisions have been all about the games. Spencer has teased a big E3 when it comes to games.

But that’s just all talk. You still have to walk the walk; it appears that Spencer’s Xbox division is doing just that. Today came the bombshells: an Xbox One being sold without Kinect for $399.99. An improved Xbox Games for Gold. In essence, the Xbox One is being refocused as, you know, a game console for the gamer crowd. You’ll still be able to get all of the extraneous features, but only if you want them. Nothing is being shoved down your throat anymore.

On the one hand, it’s been a bit disappointing that all Spencer has done this year is fix the mistakes of his predecessor. It’s meant that he hasn’t had the time to push forward his own ideas and innovate on his terms, instead focusing on making good with consumers. On the other hand, Spencer has been smart enough to realize what’s important here: winning over the fans. This is yet another step in the right direction for the Xbox One.

The biggest takeaway here, though, has to be the fact that since Phil Spencer took over, the company isn’t afraid to scrap the entire foundation of their new console if they think it’ll make the Xbox One’s future better. Remember the system’s launch trailer and its focus on navigation through voice commands? Guess who won’t be able to do that? The people who pick up the $399 Xbox One without a Kinect. To be perfectly honest, though, I feel like most won’t miss the ability to speak to their system. Personally, I know that it’s incredibly frustrating that I have to say “Xbox, got to Forza Motorsport 5” or “Xbox, go to My Games and Apps” in order for everything to work properly. Hell, that’s something that I can guarantee people won’t be upset about not being able to do.

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