Xbox boss Phil Spencer celebrated his birthday today. Spencer, a 27 year veteran of Microsoft, currently leads the Xbox, Xbox Live, Xbox Music and Xbox Video teams, as well as Microsoft Studios. Spencer took the helm at a time when the Xbox One was trying to recover from the DRM and “always-online” controversy, which was eventually reversed but had already left a sour taste in the mouths of gamers.
In 1988, a young Phil Spencer joined Microsoft, working in a number of technical roles and was even part of Microsoft’s first CD-ROM based titles including Encarta. He was eventually the development manager for Microsoft Money, and general manager of Microsoft Words and Microsoft Picture It. Spencer was named general manager of Microsoft Studios worldwide in 2008, and promoted to corporate vice president in 2009.
In March of 2014, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella unveiled new management changes, placing Phil Spencer at the helm of Xbox and Microsoft Studios, succeeding Marc Whitten. This management change took place just months after the Xbox One came under fire for DRM policy changes. Here is a quick snippet of the announcement:
“I have asked Phil Spencer to take on a new role leading Xbox, combining the Xbox and Xbox Live development teams with the Microsoft Studios team. Phil will report to Terry Myerson, allowing us to keep gaming close to the group developing operating systems across devices. In this new job, Phil will lead the Xbox, Xbox Live, Xbox Music and Xbox Video teams, and Microsoft Studios. Combining all our software, gaming and content assets across the Xbox team under a single leader and aligning with the OSG team will help ensure we continue to do great work across the Xbox business, and bring more of the magic of Xbox to all form factors, including tablets, PCs and phones,” Nadella stated back in March of 2014.
Spencer admitted that the Xbox One policy decisions (DRM and always-online), which were announced then scrapped, were wrong. Spencer believed that Microsoft could have communicated those features a bit better, but failed to do so, creating a huge uproar in the gaming community. You can watch a video below of Xbox’s Larry Hryb interviewing the newly appointed Xbox head Phil Spencer from 2014.
So why has Spencer been with Microsoft for so long? Because he believes the company has “both the resources and the ambition to change the world.”
Spencer joined Microsoft as an intern out of college. Spencer holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington and currently serves on the boards of The First Tee of Greater Seattle and the Entertainment Software Association. He lives in Bellevue, Washington, with his wife and two daughters. In his free time he enjoys snowboarding, playing golf with his family and traveling. When you get a chance, wish him a happy belated birthday!
Thanks everyone for the birthday tweets, really nice of you.
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) January 12, 2015