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Xbox’s Phil Spencer Talks Ending Toxicity In Gaming Community

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Xbox boss Phil Spector discussed a number of topics during his appearance at this year’s DICE Summit in Las Vegas, but his main talking point was the toxicity that is present in today’s gaming community and his plea to stop it from continuing.

“In order for us to do our best work, we need our work environment to work well. If that is broken, everything stumbles,” Spector said (h/t Polygon).

Spencer then detailed his experiences leading the Xbox team in 2014 for the Xbox One launch.

“The team was in a world of pain. We hadn’t done our best work with the launch of Xbox One. Market share was taking a nosedive. It was painful to read all the headlines. The team thought the leadership team had gone tone-deaf about what our customers expected from us.

We needed a reboot. Morale was at a low. We kept missing big trends. Infighting and fiefdoms were so famous, people made fun of it. It would have been funny if it hasn’t been so true. So we hit refresh on everything, a comprehensive rethinking and rebuilding of our culture.

It is incredibly slow and painful to get everyone on board and to admit your own biases. It’s about making a commitment to keep listening and learning. We must keep at this transformation because we know it enables our best work. That means all genders, all abilities and all ethnicities in all geographies. This is our quest.”

Spencer then discussed the mistakes that his team made, pointing specifically to the infamous GDC party in 2016, where scantly clad women were paid to dance.

“The backlash was justifiable and furious” Spector recalled.

“The internal backlash was almost harder. The easy thing would have been for us to sidestep responsibility. Instead we bet on who we were and what we stood for. We don’t stand for any employee or partner who offends others. We communicated that we stand for inclusivity. I personally committed to do better. It’s the leader’s job to take personal accountability and to be clear about our culture, who we are and what we stand for.

When we make mistakes, the easy way is to retreat or maybe even deny there’s a problem. Instead I think we have to be active learners, educate ourselves, read, understand other people’s views. If we are informed, we can lead with purpose. We must listen first instead of jumping in with the supposed answers. We need to ask the quietest person in the room what they are thinking.”

Spector would then go on to call on companies to take extra measure to ensure that they are doing everything that they can to create an inclusive environment for all, riding the niche of it’s current toxicity.

“Toxic behavior doesn’t just hurt the individual, it hurts our entire industry” Spector said.

“We have to ask ourselves, ‘Am I building worlds where all of us can thrive and achieve more?’ Culture can be the tool that enables us to realize the true potential and power of gaming. The time to get our culture right is right now. It’s our increasing responsibility to make gaming for everyone. Representation isn’t just good common sense; it’s good business sense.”

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Microsoft Bringing Four Games to Rival Consoles

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Microsoft has responded to recent reports that there will be changes to it’s first-party strategy and has confirmed that four game titles will be released on rival consoles.

More specifically, Xbox head Phil Spencer said that ‘Starfield’ and ‘Indiana Jones’ will not be among the four titles heading to other platforms. Both games had a number of candidate platforms, per reports, adding that this is “not a change to our fundamental exclusive strategy.”

“We don’t damage Xbox and we can grow our business using what other platforms have to help us with that,” Spencer said, according to GamesIndustry.biz.  “Looking forward, I think there is an interesting story for us of introducing Xbox franchises to players on other platforms to get them more interested in Xbox. We think there’s a good brand value for Xbox there.”

Xbox president Sarah Bond announced that Activision Blizzard games would begin to be added into Game Pass offerings, starting with Diablo 4, which will be added on March 28th.

Additionally, Bond said that Microsoft is still working on hardware for the future and that their focus regarding the future is “delivering the largest technical leap you will ever have seen in a hardware generation.”

 

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Sega’s Revenue See Rise to $27 Billion

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Sega Sammy has released its financial report for the nine-month period that officially concluded on December 31st, 2023, and that report that demonstrated a rise in overall sales and profit despite a decrease in sales for Sega’s new titles.

That decline was offset by growth in pachislot and pachinko machines, however Sega had lowered its sales forecasts for the full financial year.

Here is a breakdown, courtesy of GamesIndustry.biz.

  • Net sales: ¥349.9 billion ($2.3 billion, up 28.7% year-on-year)
  • Operating income: ¥54.4 billion ($364 million, up 42.4% year-on-year)
  • Ordinary income: ¥57.2 billion ($383 million, up 42.7% year-on-year)
  • Net sales were up 130.3% to ¥120.2 billion ($805 million) in this segment
  • Ordinary income increased by 521.3% at ¥45.7 billion ($306 million).
  • Entertainment Contents segment, which includes video games, net sales were up 4.2% at ¥219.3 billion
  • Profit decreased by 52.5% to ¥19.7 billion ($131.8 million) as a result of weak game sales

You can read a breakdown of the entire report at GamesIndustry.biz here.

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CVC Capital Partners, Haveli Investments Acquire Jagex

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CVC Capital Partners and Haveli Investments have reached an agreement to acquire RuneScape developer Jagex from Carlyle Group, according to Sky News.

While financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed publicly, the Sky News report indicates that CVC was planning to spend £900 million on the purchase of Jagex.

Luxembourg-based CVC Capital Partners is one of the world’s largest private equity firms and Austin-based Haveli Investments is an established games investor.

CVC Capital Partners has previously backed Dead by Daylight creator Behaviour Interactive, London-based Predecessor developer Omeda Studios, and Tel Aviv-based Match Masters studio Candivore.

Jagex has more than 700 staff worldwide, and is best known for its RuneScape franchise and is currently working on the PC and console launch of Scum by Gamepires sometimes in 2024.

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