Spry Fox CCO Blasts Microsoft’s ‘Gamers as bros’ Culture

Daniel Cook claims Microsoft pushed machismo to the forefront.

Spry Fox and former Xbox game designer Daniel Cook has crituqed his former employer for what he described as a "gamers as bros" culture which brought violence to the forefront. 

In a Kotaku editorial Cook described his experience working for Microsft saying he "intenitionally" positioned himself beyond the "hardcore" culture which was dominant at the Xbox maker.

Cook, who worked for Microsoft between 2008-2010 wrote "People boasted about epic Gamer Scores and joked about staying up multiple days straight in order to beat the latest release. The men were hardcore. The management was hardcore. The women were doubly hardcore. To succeed politically in a viciously political organisation, you live the brand.

"You got the sense the pre-Xbox, 'gamers as bros' was a smaller subculture within the nerdy, whimsical hobby of games. Over two console generations, a highly cynical marketing team spent billion with no hope of immediate payback to shift the market," Cook claimed. "In an act of brilliant jujitsu, Nintendo was slandered as a kids platform, their historical strength turned against them. Xbox put machismo, ultra-violence and boys with backwards caps in the paid spotlight."

Adding that his game designs tended to focus on "non-violence and cuter, gender neutral designs," which emphasised gameplay over plot and cutscenes were rejected leading to a series of "adorable hand-drawn prototypes" being "shot down by elder management."

Eventually Cook felt compelled to leave Microsoft and work for Triple Town developer Spry Fox. 

"So far, none of our games have been released on the Xbox. There's been little economic or cultural fit with the artificually propped up tribe residing in that cloistered warren," Cook added.

While Cook's comments about his former employers should probably be taken with a grain of salt it comes after a week of bad publicity for the Xbox producer which was forced to apologise for the comments of one of its employess, Adam Orth who told those concerned by the prospect of an always online console to "deal with it."