During an appearance on Gamertag Radio, Xbox head honcho Phil Spencer revealed that Microsoft plans on taking a very different approach to the Xbox Series X. Rather than treat the release of their upcoming hardware the same way they have always done, the company is trying to do things differently.
The approach seems to stem from the success of the surprise reveal of the Xbox Series X at The Game Awards last year, which was initially an idea from someone in the marketing team. Accordingly to Spencer, a marketing team lead threw out the idea in a meeting, saying that she didn’t feel the company would disrupt the market by repeating the same old patterns. “I don’t think we’re going to disrupt and grow our business by doing what we’ve always done,” Spencer recounts her saying, “Let’s go try to do new things.”
Despite the reveal being a somewhat risky move, everything went well, and Microsoft’s upcoming console dominated headlines as a result. While it was low on actual information, such as a release date, price, or even the specs of the console, the reveal of the console’s design, and the emotionally laden trailer were both a hit with gamers around the world.
From a business point of view, it won Microsoft a tremendous amount of mindshare, a marketing term to describe the amount of consumer awareness of a product. Without clear contrast against a PlayStation 5 that has so far remained unseen, all of a sudden, the Xbox Series X looked like the future of console gaming.
“I’m really happy with the way [the Xbox Series X reveal] played out and the response from the fans,” said Spencer. “Every decision we make between now and launch… we’re trying to think about things in a different way.”
Despite recent comments where Spencer mentioned that he considered Google and Amazon to be Microsoft’s real future competition, it is clear that the company is focused on trying to improve their fortunes in the console space with their next-generation hardware. Unit sales for the Xbox One are lagging behind both the PlayStation 4 and the Nintendo Switch, despite the late release of Nintendo’s handheld/console hybrid.
So far, the unnamed marketing lead has hit a home run, and that success seems to be informing Microsoft’s approach to the rest of the campaign that will lead to the eventual release of the Xbox Series X. According to Spencer, the company has no plans to be meek in the run-up to the new product’s launch. “We’re going to be bold in what we’re gonna try to do.”