Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer apparently pushed for Xbox Game Pass despite several of his own staff saying it wouldn’t work. According to Microsoft Product Leader Richard Irving, Spencer’s resilience in championing Game Pass is eventually what turned the company around, but at the time, conversations were different.
When Game Pass was first being conceptualized, Spencer was at the forefront championing for its approval. However, staff members were hesitant about the idea or denounced it altogether, stating that publishers simply wouldn’t participate because it would “eat into profits.”
Irving spoke about Spencer’s push for the subscription service:
“In meetings, staff would present arguments for why Game Pass wouldn’t work — publishers wouldn’t participate, or it would eat into profits. He wouldn’t take no for an answer. He was always trying to find a way to make it work.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Phil has literally played every game that launched in the past year and has an opinion on it. Phil at his core is a gamer.”
Thanks to his push for the service in the first place, Xbox Game Pass currently has over 25 million subscribers and growing. Spencer was also recently promoted to Microsoft Gaming CEO following their massive acquisition of Activision Blizzard for almost $70 billion, which is pivotal in his plans to make Xbox a competing platform again.
However, while their previous acquisition of ZeniMax and Bethesda was a move of securing IPs and exclusives for the platform, the Activision Blizzard deal seemingly had other factors that contributed towards Microsoft purchasing the mega-publisher. Specifically, they were targeting the mobile and casual market.
Spencer stated that the mobile division of Activision Blizzard, which consisted of Candy Crush developer King, was a significant reason why the deal was made in the first place:
“The board of Microsoft, on the day that we got approval for ZeniMax, asked, ‘What was next?’ And the constant conversation had always been about mobile and casual.”
Xbox Game Pass is available on Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC.