When it comes to the metaverse, Phil Spencer could give Mark Zuckerberg a run for his money. The head of Xbox and executive vice president of gaming at Microsoft, Spencer says popular games like Microsoft’s Halo and Minecraft — and competitors like Roblox and Fortnite — are already creating virtual worlds similar to the metaverse. And he says that video games, whose sales have soared during Covid, could offer lessons for the workplaces that have moved online in the pandemic: “We look at these virtual spaces, and some of the things that we’ve learned in video games of people coming together to cooperate together, to achieve tasks.”
In this conversation, Kara and Spencer discuss the elements of the metaverse that are mirrored in gaming and whether Xbox aims to become the Netflix of gaming. They also talk about what the gaming industry learned from Gamergate, how Spencer views the sexual misconduct allegations at Activision Blizzard (the publisher of Call of Duty and a close partner of Xbox), and how Microsoft is handling harassment by players on its own games. And while discussing the content moderation problems that are shared by gaming companies and social media platforms, Spencer explains why he thinks stoking enragement would be a “death strategy” for Xbox.