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E3 2014 retrospective: Xbox went back to its roots

Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox, addresses the fans at E3 2014
Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox, addresses the fans at E3 2014
Rick Kim

Back to its Roots

We are all familiar with Phil Spencer’s “Games, games games,” mantra, and he lived up to his promise of delivering nothing but fantastic games during the Xbox Briefing at E3 this year. You might think that in doing so, Microsoft went back to its roots, but the heart of Xbox isn’t made up of just games. What keeps that heart beating is the Community of gamers that we are all a part of.

During E3 press briefings, the best seats in the house are right in front of the stage, and are typically reserved for VIPs, executives, celebrities, and special guests. Xbox decided to take those seats and give them to the Community. Major Nelson and the Xbox team gave away 100 of those VIP seats to gamers from the Los Angeles area and also invited the Xbox MVPs. That was unheard of, not to mention unprecedented.

Not only that, but Xbox gave the Community the full VIP experience. From special introductions and discussions with Xbox executives, to green carpet access to the pre-show entertainment and an exclusive post-show Q&A, regular gamers were given the royal treatment. Let’s not forget to mention a catered breakfast (who doesn’t like bacon in the morning?), lunch, and even some sweet swag. Of course, to top it all off, everyone got a free badge to E3, the mother of all video game shows.

Universal Attitude

Quite honestly though, it wasn’t the cool stuff we were shown and given that made me realize a difference with Xbox this year. Every single Xbox representative showed the fans a singular attitude that day. I saw Phil Spencer, Aaron Greenberg, Yusuf Mehdi, Major Nelson, and Jeff Rubenstein constantly stop and chat with the fans throughout that morning with an attitude of complete and sincere gratitude.

We were the ones that felt extraordinarily fortunate to be there, yet they were the ones that were thankful to us. It seemed that every aspect of that day was motivated by thankfulness. As E3 is usually an “insider’s” expo, to see regular gamers from the Community to be treated as guests of honor was rather astounding.

Moving Forward

Xbox is moving forward, under Phil Spencer’s leadership, with a shift in focus to games and a genuine commitment to delivering content and innovations that the Community wants. is a great example of that commitment. And just take a look at who has chimed in over at the Xbox Forums Community thread! Yes, Xbox has listened in the past, but I believe our voices, as Xbox fans, are more appreciated than ever.

I encourage you all to continue to participate in forums, on social media, and at to help shape the platform that we all love. This is just the beginning, and I’m confident we’re going to see an even greater relationship develop between Xbox and the Community.

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