Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox, recently shared his thoughts on the idea of “console wars” and fans whose devotion to one console leads them to put down another. The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S recently launched within days of one another, and while players may choose one over the other, Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft all joined in to congratulate their “rival” companies on successful launches.
The so-called console war primarily has been a battle between the PlayStation and Xbox. While there are plenty of players who prefer the Nintendo Switch and PC, fans of the Xbox and PlayStation are much more passionate. It’s easy to compare two consoles directly from each other. For example, the PlayStation 5 has more trouble supporting 120 FPS games in comparison to the Xbox Series X. It is also easy to point out the problems the Xbox Series X may have, like the complaints about its loud noises. However, these arguments are justified criticism, and what frustrates Spencer the most is not the complaints.
The Verge posted a long interview with Phil Spencer, and in one portion the interviewer asks about his thoughts on console partisans who go to extreme lengths, noting that, “there’s a wave of people who run over the new Xbox with their car and smash it with a hammer.” Any person who worked on the console would likely be infuriated to hear people wasting money just to ruin their product. This is especially important due to the limited stock of the consoles, with many people eagerly waiting for restocks. Spencer replies, “If there was anything that would ever drive me out of the industry, it’s actually that, what you’re talking about.” This is clarified when Spencer talks about the stress of releasing a product in the first place.
It can be disheartening for workers and designers to hear bad reviews of their products. This is why the specific group of people that “just really hates the other consumer product” becomes so problematic. This is due to the mindset people have developed saying, “I really want that to fail so the thing that I bought succeeds,” as mentioned by Spencer. He states this is not exclusive to one side either, but rather fans of both the Xbox Series X and PS5 will unjustly hate on the other product purely because it’s a competitor. This makes console releases a cycle of backlash, and it can be difficult to have to sort through what is constructive criticism, and what is blind hate. Spencer makes it clear he wishes fans would focus on liking their product, rather than hating the other. “To me, it’s one of the worst things about our industry.”
It can be considered okay to point out things like the fact that the PS5 sold six times more than Xbox Series X in Japan, but that doesn’t need to lead to hate. This does not look good for either side. PS5 would not want to be associated with fans who go out destroying Xbox consoles, and Xbox certainly doesn’t want people destroying their product, especially due to the sheer amount of people who actually want it. There are no benefits to being a “hardcore fan” when expressing that means putting down other people’s preferences or the work of the people who made the consoles in the first place.
Source: The Verge