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Xbox's Phil Spencer on E3: 'I wish Sony was here'

Phil Spencer, who oversees all things Xbox at Microsoft, got to deliver an E3 presentation this year without a prime-time rebuttal from Sony's PlayStation team. And you might be surprised to learn that he would've preferred the competition.

Speaking with Giant Bomb's Jeff Gerstmann late last night, Spencer got to talking about E3 and expressed his desire for all major developers, publishers, and platform holders to take part.

"I wish Sony was here," Spencer said, referencing the company's decision to stay home. "E3 is not as good when they're not here."

Spencer's tone won't be unfamiliar to those who've been following him over the past few years. Under the leadership of Spencer and Satya Nadella, Microsoft's CEO, the Xbox brand has largely become about providing services and reaching more people in more places. Xbox Game Pass, a monthly subscription that grants access to a large collection of Xbox One and PC titles, is a prime example, as are the company's efforts to put games on other platforms.

Microsoft still plans to build its own Xbox hardware, Spencer said later in the interview, and the company is still gunning for first place. But according to Spencer, he's more interested in seeing the entire industry thrive rather than winning at the expense of other companies. Or, to put it in his words: "I'd rather be number one because someone else sold one fewer unit than I did, but we both sold more than we ever have before. Because I think that just shows that the industry continues to grow."

Microsoft is set to have a very mellow 2019. Other than Gears 5 releasing in September, much of the focus for the company going forward will be on Holiday 2020. That's when Microsoft's Project Scarlett is set to arrive, bringing with it Halo Infinite and, presumably, a host of other titles from the company's recent first-party studio acquisitions.

And Sony will likely be ready for the next generation in 2020, too. The odds are good that we'll see the PlayStation 5 release sometime next year, with some of Sony's marquee franchises showing up to help sell the company's new hardware. And with Sony gearing up for a new console launch, there's a chance we could see the company return to E3, once again packing an arena full of fans who want to see the latest PlayStation and what it has to offer.

We can think of at least one competitor who would like to see that happen.