Since 2013, Microsoft executive Phil Spencer has been in charge of the Xbox. Spencer’s hard work with the Xbox brand saw him promoted to the executive vice president of gaming at Microsoft. However, before Spencer, the person in charge of Xbox was Don Mattrick.
On Twitter, the “father” of the original Xbox Seamus Blackley shared the story of the time he presented the Xbox to Mattrick, the then EA Canada executive. Blackley called the meeting “tense” and said that Mattrick “nearly blocked me from addressing the company, because he didn’t believe it was possible.” Blackley’s tweet explained that the story has never been shared before.
According to the replies to Blackley’s tweet, most Xbox fans are not surprised by the story. During Mattrick’s tenure as the head of Xbox, some would argue the executive made a series of bad decisions. The most notable was the decision to put too much effort into promoting the Xbox One’s multimedia capabilities. While the console’s use as means to watch TV and movies and stream video is useful, many Xbox fans saw the strategy as a move away from gaming. For many, gaming was still more important than multimedia features.
The Xbox One also got off to a rocky start because of the decision to make the console always-online. Xbox One owners would have had to connect to the Internet at least once every 24 hours in order to use the console. Although the always-online feature would allow for other innovations such as trading digital games, it was heavily criticized. Many pointed out that it wouldn’t work for players in communities where the Internet is unreliable, or if something happens and there is a network outage.
I’ve never talked about this before, but the irony of Don Mattrick as Xbox Chief was huge for me: when I first came to EA Canada to present the idea of a Microsoft console, he nearly blocked me from addressing the company because he didn’t believe it was possible. It was tense. pic.twitter.com/3pqRq4rGBL
— Seamus Blackley (@SeamusBlackley) March 4, 2019
Mattrick left Microsoft not long after the bungled Xbox One announcement. The executive did pen a blog post announcing the reversal of features like the always-online aspect of the system, but it was too late. The console got off to a poor sales start as a result of all the controversy.
With all of this in mind, few are shocked to hear that Mattrick didn’t believe in the power of the Xbox as a games console from the jump. Many Xbox fans are also glad that Mattrick left to join Zynga and that under Phil Spencer, more time and resources have been put into games.
Source: Seamus Blackley – Twitter