Who is Timdog? Simply put, Timdog is an Xbox fan. You don’t have to look far to see the nature of Timdog’s fandom. A quick look at his Twitter page easily spells out where Timdog’s loyalties lie. His profile pictures a flaming Xbox One t-shirt adorned by an Xbox One avatar, while at other times it has pictured the yet-to-be-released Xbox Series X SoC.
The takeaway is obvious: Timdog is a passionate Xbox fan. But the breadth of his fandom would be severely underestimated by just examining his Twitter profile picture. Timdog’s tweets, though limited to 280 characters, spell out clearly his love and passion for the Xbox brand. Day after day, Timdog holds all of Gaming Twitter accountable. He wars with contrarian fanboys on console talking points and unfair judgments of Xbox—all in good fun, of course.
Though he gives trolls flak, Timdog generously supports gaming and its many fans. As if that weren’t enough credentials to name Timdog Xbox’s Most Passionate Fan, he also has a regular spot on DealerGaming’s RDX Podcast panel, where he serves as a constant source of knowledge and microphone-peaking hype.
All of this adds to his legendary fandom, giving Timdog an almost mythical quality. Does he provide valuable feedback to the Head of Xbox himself, Phil Spencer? Did he single-handedly account for the majority of Xbox One’s console sales this generation? Opposing fanboys hate him. Xbox fans want to be him. Microsoft’s marketing team surely loves him. And I had the fortunate opportunity of asking Timdog a few questions about his passion for Xbox and his origins as Xbox’s Most Passionate Fan.
First off, I want to thank you for fielding my questions and I appreciate your support for the Xbox community. I want to start with the most cliche question possible. How did you become an Xbox fan? Out of all the gaming consoles on the market, why did you choose Xbox?
In 1999, I was at school for computer science/tech getting certifications and all the teachers were super anti-Microsoft. I never really knew about MS until then, but I grew to actually look into them rather than hate them. It was said by teachers at the time that MS was the reason for [PC’s ] closed architecture, and not an open approach. Anyway, at that time I became a fan of them. The following years, naturally, I was interested when they put themselves in the console business. As a lifelong gamer since the onset of gaming, I gravitated to the og Xbox and then I played a game called Halo. It was history from there.
Despite 2020 being a disgrace of a year so far, Xbox fans are feeling positive about the next gen console launch around the holidays. How do you feel about Xbox going into the next console generation in comparison to the last generation in regards to hardware and software?
They nailed it hardware-wise—the most powerful console, faster bandwidth, higher CPU clock, and innovative SSD tech XVA make them well positioned compared to what was the biggest blunder of Xbox when they launched in 2013. Kinect and TV [with] gaming not the focus was a horrible approach. Even though they had games at the start of gen, it was fleeting and they never hit the home run that was badly needed. As for Xbox this generation upcoming, 15 studios all hard at work—I think there is much optimism and excitement. Time will tell, but they definitely have a good shot here.
You hear from a lot of trolls on Twitter, namely those who despise the Xbox brand. Some would say the console war is a waste of time, but despite the haters you keep things light. What do you get out of the console war?
It’s banter to me. I’m a lifelong sports fan, Mets fan, Giants Fan, etc. and along with that comes trash-talking with hometown rivals. I don’t think it’s bad unless it becomes personal. If you keep it civil and/or friendly, it’s innocent. Obviously some people take it too far, and that’s not good. Have to draw a line somewhere. All in all, to me it’s just how people are for the most part. My team’s better than yours, my car is better than yours, etc. etc. I’ve noticed, for the most part, 99 percent have a personal preference and it always will show itself if you pay attention.
Stories of you having conversations with Head of Xbox Phil Spencer have circulated for some time now. Firstly, are the stories true? If so, how has having a connection with Phil influenced your view on Xbox?
Phil will always answer questions if I ask on Twitter, but I try when we game together to keep it off business. He genuinely [would] rather game than talk about his job or Xbox. So I always show a certain level of respect, as it is a respect thing. We have disagreements. He has told me if he thought I was wrong with something and vice versa. But it’s something now where we have talked for some time over the years either through Twitter or in person at Fanfests, events, or on Xbox Live.
The rumors are true though—he doesn’t like cursing, and I’ve never heard more than “dang it” from him (laughs). But I like that and I try my best to give him that respect and keep it clean. Phil is a family man, and always the first to ask about my daughter or my wife. He just is a class act really, and I respect that. I’m happy he listens to all the fans. He tries his best, and I’m glad I get to talk to him now and then. You [won’t] find anywhere a head of a large corporation blurring the line of consumers to actually knowing who we are and listening to what we say, the good, the bad. Xbox is front and center here with fan relations.
Xbox recently purchased several game development studios. Who is your favorite Xbox studio and why? Along that line, in your opinion who is going to make the best next generation game?
Wow. Hard question—why, because [Xbox has] so much to prove and grow. I’d say my favorite is Playground, because I believe they are going to be elite and a step above. They showed such progress with the Horizon series, so I think the same will go for Fable. Most [studios], other than 343i, are counting on them. I believe Obsidian is going to make the next best generation game just because I think they have the pedigree and it’s their time. Xbox, I believe, will have so many good games in the upcoming generation. Don’t know how people can’t see this as clear as day.
There’s been a lot of hype about game streaming services, in particular, xCloud. What’s your perspective on xCloud possibly being the future of gaming?
Future? Yes, of course, but it’s always gonna be an add-on type thing for a long time. It’s gonna be a luxury, a way to further your gaming for xCloud. Is it gonna beat out playing locally? No way, but it is something to make your gaming life more accessible and easily available. The days of playing off a server-only “Stadia” [being better] than a local experience, is way way off, if ever. For people who fear this will end consoles, I believe [we’ve] got some time before that happens.
Recently there was a lot of debate over framerate and resolution of next gen games. For most developers, game performance comes down to targeting either framerate or resolution. What are your thoughts on frames vs. resolution? Which do you think is more important?
I think it gets overblown. I think too many people think they know more than the developers themselves. Sure you want 60fps, but if a dev chooses 30fps on consoles for the vision of the game to be upheld, that’s on them. That shouldn’t be met with instant criticism. Rather, judge more openly. Every console has limitations, but to max them out sometimes you make compromises. If it happens to be 30fps to make the game look insanely good vs. 60, that should be considered.
I don’t know if I can tell 60 vs. 30 [in] more games than others, but for me I’m all about fidelity. That’s an opinion that gets met with criticism. I’ve argued about it to no end with Dealer and other gamers, but it’s just my personal opinion. With all that being said, I think these consoles are in really good position for 60fps for a long while. [60fps] will be, for the most part, the standard, which is what Aaron was saying on Twitter. I totally got [what he was saying], but you might also get some cases of 30, and in some cases this gen 120fps.
Of course, the most burning question: How many Xboxes do you own? A hundred? A thousand?