In a recent interview with the New York Times, Phil Spencer discusses the state of the Xbox, where the platform is headed, and their strategies moving forward. As a part of this interview, Spencer was asked about Xbox’s current relationship with Activision Blizzard. As many remember, back in November he stated that Xbox would be “reevaluating their working relationship” with the publisher due to their alleged sexual allegations and hostile work environment.
He confirmed that the status of their relationship has changed, and that “they’re aware of that.” Here is a sample from the interview, in which you can read it in its entirety here.
“I always feel for people working on any team, my own teams, other teams. I think people should feel safe and included in any workplace that they’re in. I’ve been in this industry long enough to maybe feel more ownership for what happens in the video game space. And I’m saddened and sickened when I hear about workplace environments that cause such distress and destruction of individuals and teams…”
“The work we do specifically with a partner like Activision is something that, obviously, I’m not going to talk publicly about. We have changed how we do certain things with them, and they’re aware of that. But I also — this isn’t about, for us as Xbox, virtue-shaming other companies. Xbox’s history is not spotless.”
“I think the first thing we need to be able to do is have people feel like they can report and talk about what’s happening. That goes to, like I said, the safety for people. And I have more capability of that on my own team. But I’ll just say in general, having open lines of communication where people can report on their lived experience on our teams, it’s got to be so critical.
And to get there, it’s a cultural effort of how do you build that trust so people feel like when they whistle blow, when they raise their hand about topics that are going on, that they won’t face repercussions. Rather, they’ll see action. In terms of work that we do with other companies, again, I would rather help other companies than try to get into punishing. I don’t think my job is out there to punish other companies.”Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox, in a January 2022 interview with The New York Times
Later in the interview, Spencer went on about his comments about not “punishing” companies, as his comment about the Xbox platform went viral, stating that it is not a “free speech” platform. He stated that “the things that we choose to do, in coordination or not with other companies, is the avenue that we have to have an impact.” Phil Spencer has always been an advocate for equality among coworkers, even making a point to hire a more diverse leadership team within Xbox.
I think in terms of interactions with other companies, the things that we choose to do with our brand and our platform, in coordination or not with other companies, is the avenue that we have to have an impact. I would say in terms of individuals that are in leadership positions at other companies, it’s not obviously our position to judge who the CEOs are. Like, CEOs are chosen by shareholders and boards.
At Xbox, I know who I’m accountable for here in terms of the business and the operations. It’s my teams here, my management chain. And that’s the thing that we continue to focus on, is to try to grow. And whether that’s us sharing, again, the experiences that we have with other partners, if we can help them on their own journey or on the things that happen in our own teams.”Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox in a 2022 interview with The New York Times
What are your thoughts on Xbox’s stance on Activision Blizzard? Do you think they are making the right decisions?
Source: The New York Times
Listen to The Boss Rush Podcast
If you want to hear more about video games, gaming culture, and other topics of the video game industry, you can catch The Boss Rush Podcast live on Wednesday Nights on Twitch at 8:30PM ET / 5:30PM PT or on Monday mornings at 7AM ET on YouTube and podcast services everywhere. Thanks for listening!
Listen to Arsenal X: The Xbox Podcast
If you want to hear more about Xbox, indies, and the current slate of games, news, and more, you can catch Arsenal X: The Xbox Podcast Live on Twitch every Sunday night at 8:30PM Eastern / 5:30PM Pacific or on Podcast Services and YouTube Tuesday mornings at 7AM Eastern / 4AM Pacific. Thanks for listening!