Microsoft Studios Corporate Vice President Phil Spencer has done an admirable job of late when it comes to repairing the Xbox brand. The Xbox brand was riding high heading into next-gen, but a series of missteps and PR mishaps led to a damaged brand.

Speaking at the SXSW gaming expo, Spencer admits Microsoft’s messaging was “confused” and could have been handled better.

“I look at last summer and that wasn’t a highpoint for me, coming out of the announcement of Xbox One and E3, where I thought our messaging around what we believed in was confused,” Spencer said.

Spencer didn’t go into the specifics of what was ‘confused,’ but it probably had something to do with Xbox One’s initial DRM and always-on features. These features would later be reversed due to an uproar in the gaming community.

Spencer also believes “when you’re going to say something to a consumer that might put them off, it’s better to just be direct and honest, rather than trying to sugar-coat something that might be controversial…I’d rather deal with the controversy of what we’re doing, and have an above-table conversation about that topic, rather than trying to sugar-coat it with some other news.”

Spencer’s honesty around the Xbox One’s initial controversy is a welcome sight. Something more execs could learn when dealing with consumers.

Despite the initial controversy, demand for the Xbox One has been high. While not quite as high as the PS4, it’s still impressive. Especially since it costs $100 more and is the weaker system. In February, Microsoft sold 258,000 Xbox One units. This number is expected to be much higher in March thanks to the release of Titanfall earlier this week.

Sony’s sales should also remain strong with the release of Infamous: Second Son.

What do you think of Phil’s comments in his interview with Geoff Keighley? Are there other areas Microsoft could improve their messaging?

Check out the full interview below.


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