Phil Spencer, corporate vice president of Microsoft, has spoken of his admiration for Nintendo's first-party catalogue and Sony's handling of the PS4 launch, revealing a healthy level of respect for his rivals.
Speaking to Official Xbox Magazine, Spencer indulged his magnanimous side by tipping his hat to both of the platform holders when asked what he'd learned from the competition, although his comments on Sony's titles could be interpreted as a little back-handed.
"Sony - and I'm focused on first-party because of what I do," said Spencer. "I really respect their focus on investing in new things and creative things, what they've done with David Cage and Quantic Dream around Beyond and Heavy Rain; they stay committed to franchises even if they don't sell 10 million units, they'll stay committed to things.
"I think that long-term commitment to franchises is important, where it's easy to pull off the Band-Aid and move onto the next thing. I respect their 'stick-to-it-iveness'. I'll say, they've done a nice job with PS4 When I think about their announcement, their clear focus on a customer, leading with the value proposition of what they're trying to do, staying true to a vision, I think they've done a nice job in how they defined the PS4."
When it came to Nintendo, Spencer had more praise for the company's games, but held back a little on hardware.
"Nintendo, I think - and there's some argument about this - that their first-party is such an amazing asset. Their first party studios and IP can lead what they do as a company and the platforms are almost in service to the IP - not in a bad way."
Spencer's an old hand, though, so returned his comments to the company line.
"They have such iconic stories, and this will seem somewhat random, but when we go back and do something like Killer Instinct, a little bit of the history of your franchise can actually be important part of people feeling connected. Obviously the history of Killer Instinct isn't a history on Xbox, but it's Rare's history and I think the reaction when we announced it on-stage at E3 showed that playing to the people's heart, I think Nintendo does that as well as anybody in terms of hitting the franchises and having huge success with them."