Phil Spencer Pushed For Game Pass Despite Staff Backlash

The CEO pushed relentlessly for the Xbox Game Pass despite Xbox staff saying it wouldn't work.

The Xbox Game Pass has been a massive success for Microsoft since its introduction. The fans love the service, and Microsoft has retained a lot of goodwill. Game Pass is also one of the biggest money-maker for Microsoft. So, it’s safe to say that it has met expectations. But, the subscription would never have been made if not for one person – Phil Spencer.

A recent public profile of the CEO by The Wall Street Journal has made this info come to light. The profile has described his role in the formation of the service. Phil Spencer was at the center of the Game Pass proposal and continuously pushed for it. Some of the Xbox staff didn’t think it was going to work. But Phil Spencer was looking to make it happen any way possible.

His staff would come up with arguments against the service. Many of them thought that the subscription would eat into their profits and the publishers won’t take part. But the CEO wasn’t looking to give up. The profile also includes some quotes from Richard Irving, a former Xbox staff member:

“Mr. Spencer was at the center of pushing this strategy forward. In meetings, Mr. Spencer’s staff would present arguments for why Game Pass wouldn’t work—publishers wouldn’t participate, or it would eat into profits.”

Irving says that Spencer was relentless in pushing for the Game Pass. The CEO was trying his best to make this service come to life. “He wouldn’t take no for an answer and was always trying to find a way to make it work,” said Irving

In 2017, Sarah Bond, corporate vice president in the Xbox group, joined when Game Pass was launching. She goes on to say that “He is an extraordinarily patient man,” in context to Phil Spencer. “He thinks of things in arcs of time far longer than me. He often encourages me to be patient.”

And five years later, it’s safe to say that Phil Spencer was right. Today, Game Pass has one of the largest subscriber bases for any service. As of January 2022, the service has 25 million users across PC and Xbox. It’s one of the most profitable Xbox products and has made many gamers switch to an Xbox.

The best aspect of this service is the fan service. The player gets 100+ popular and highly acclaimed games just for 10 dollars a month. Not only this, but other subscriptions are also added to the service. Players can get EA Play and Xbox Live Gold included with the Game Pass. Activision games are also making their way to the service after the recent acquisition. So, this move wasn’t only good for Microsoft but also a huge favor for the fans.

Game Pass has made life easy for so many players. Its fan service aspect is loved universally by every player. And the person we can thank for that is Phil Spencer. If not for his constant work on the service behind the scenes, we would have never got the Game Pass.

Umer Cheema


By day, Umer loves writing about games and talking about them; by night, he is an avid gamer that loves playing League of Legends and RTS games. Being a massive fan of Metal Gear Solid, you'll find Umer always praising the legendary Hideo Kojima, or covering the latest news.