Xbox's Spencer: Coronavirus lockdown has brought "big flood" of new people to games

Xbox's Spencer: Coronavirus lockdown has brought "big flood" of new people to games

The head of Microsoft's Xbox division Phil Spencer (pictured) has said that the coronavirus pandemic and ensuing lockdown measures has lead to huge numbers of people coming to Xbox.

Speaking to Business Insider, the exec said that this was a bittersweet victory, given that the company is doing well due to a virus that is causing colossal damage around the world. Microsoft previously said that it had seen record numbers of users on Xbox Live, Game Pass and its Mixer streaming service.

"We track what we call 'new to Xbox customers,' — new to gaming customers — people that we're seeing for the first time," he said.

"And we're seeing a big flood of new people come in to gaming."

He continued: "You wouldn't wish this is the way we get here. We've talked [internally at Microsoft] about this. It's about, 'How do you feel that gaming is doing well at a time where the world is hurting?'"

Spencer concluded: "We want to be very thoughtful and not exploiting the situation. We're not putting in place any different business tactics or other things. We're just trying to keep all the services up, trying to keep the games enjoyable, keeping our networks safe and secure. And being there at a time of need. I'm proud that we can provide this activity for people."

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.