Microsoft's new Xbox chief Phil Spencer doesn't believe the software company will sell off its gaming division because it's key to the tech giant's strategy to win over consumers.
"Xbox is maybe the most relevant brand that Microsoft has with consumers today," Spencer told Edge Magazine in an interview excerpt published Tuesday. The Xbox division is "an asset that's extremely valuable, and since our future ambition is to grow our consumer relevance, Xbox has to be at the center of that."
Spencer's comments might quell some rumors suggesting the Xbox division could eventually find its way onto Microsoft's chopping block. After Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella took on his new role earlier this year, he said that his company must focus on mobile and the cloud, conspicuously leaving Xbox out of that discussion. More recently, Nadella has acknowledged the importance of the Xbox division, saying that its software experience might be a suitable fit for other services Microsoft is working on. Spencer, however, is the first to directly respond to the questions surrounding a possible Xbox sale.
Spencer wasn't the only one to chime in on Xbox's future in the Edge interview. Former Microsoft employee and game developer Peter Molyneux took issue with Microsoft's Kinect, saying that "it feels like an unnecessary add-on." He went so far as to call Kinect a "joke."
When Microsoft unveiled and launched the Xbox One last year, the Kinect stood at the center of the company's sales pitch. The company said that the sensor, which allows for everything from controller-free gaming to voice commands to control on-screen applications, would play a crucial role in the Xbox One experience. So far, however, it has been panned by many gamers who are displeased with the general lack of games that fully support the Kinect. Molyneux went even further, saying that it does a poor job of responding to voice commands.
Although he didn't respond to Molyneux, Spencer promised more games for Kinect this year. He also said that the Xbox One will be getting more titles available exclusively on the hardware, rather than the PlayStation 4.
CNET has contacted Microsoft for comment on Spencer and Molyneux's statements. We will update this story when we have more information.
Microsoft shares are down 27 cents to $39.53 in early trading on Tuesday.