Xbox head says the company needs “a more diverse team”

“We don’t need more people like me in our organization. We need a more diverse team”

Xbox head Phil Spencer believes the industry needs to focus on bringing in more underrepresented “visible leaders”.

Spencer spoke about having a diverse team during a recent interview with Kotaku, where he was asked to discuss a statement released by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella earlier this year.

At the time, Nadella’s statement had addressed the racial issues within company. He committed to “increasing [the] representation and culture of inclusion” in Microsoft by “double[ing] the number of Black and African American people managers, senior individual contributors, and senior leaders in the United States by 2025”.

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Spencer responded by declaring that the industry needs to focus more on “visible leaders”.  He added that this was “because there was a generation where this didn’t happen” as instead “white people” have been given leadership positions. He also acknowledged his position within the industry and how that power needs to go to more diverse and underrepresented members of the business.

“As those people move up inside of the organization, you get a lot of people like me,” Spencer said. “And we don’t need more people like me in our organization. We need a more diverse team. So I’d say, for our focus right now, I think about manager representation.”

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Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer. Credit: Microsoft

The interview later went on to discuss former Mixer employee, Milan Lee, who shared his alleged experiences of injustice within the company after leaving. He described his time at Mixer as “the worst I’ve ever had professionally” and added that it was down to “RACISM”. Kotaku noted that Spencer raised the topic before being asked about it.

“Where we start is the makeup of our teams,” Spencer explained. “What is it? And not just from ‘how are our numbers in terms of representation?’, but the inclusion factor of our teams? How does it feel to work here? What’s your lived experience? We have work to do. I have work to do in that.”

“You can look at the Milan Lee situation and the conversations he and I had in June. And, you know, PR won’t love it that I bring those things up in conversation,” he added. “I think it’s important that we are forthright and open about the lived experience of everybody on our team. Are we reaching the goals that we have for ourselves? And we have work to do in that space.”

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Spencer finished by reiterating his and the company’s stance, before sharing plans of how both will be moving forward. “We should be a platform for all creators—from creators, different storytellers, from different perspectives, who can help each of us that are playing these games learn through the lived experience of the creators,” he said. “Which we all do every time we play somebody’s games. But I’m definitely starting with our team.”

Spencer also recently spoke about Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda and how the company can’t plan the developer’s future yet.

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