How does it not relate? Phil has made many different statements about Games Pass just this year, that either sound like MS is all in for the next generation, or that MS is ready to transition the Xbox brand into a streaming service midway next generation.
These sort of statements/interviews generate discussion on forums like IGN or Reddit, which have millions of average video game consumers reading, upvoting, replying, referencing/ posting past statements made by Phil Spencer, all to have a discourse about the state of Xbox. In the Reddit thread I posted, a good amount of Xbox fans are questioning the value of owning an Xbox next generation. There are millions of people subscribed to that thread, dwarfing VGChartz and ResetEra combined.
E3 is the most popular gaming convention around. It definitely isn't only viewed by hardcore gamers.
I don't know of any comments he'd made that makes it seem as if they'd abandon hardware mid gen. Even the link you posted is just a snippet of a bigger interview where he says they view the powerful Xbox hardware as a critical piece of the puzzle. Which goes directly against what you're saying.
Which is a common theme in this thread. Spinning, exaggerating, applying personal bias or views on simple comments, not reading or using full articles. This "confusing" Microsoft PR is only confusing because some make it that way.
Here's a few more:
"Spencer also spoke about how Microsoft doesn't necessarily need you to buy Project Scarlett. The real money is made in software and services, Spencer pointed out. So if you're already invested in the Xbox ecosystem, say if you already own any of the Xbox One family of consoles, Microsoft isn't overly concerned about if you upgrade to Scarlett.
"I actually never really need that customer [who already owns an Xbox One] to go buy a new piece of hardware," he said. "The business is around software and service growth. That is the profitable part of the business; selling the hardware is not the profitable part of the business."
"This is a little bit why we've backed away from the race on how many we can sell or announce the the sales of as many consoles as possible," Spencer said. "Not that that's immaterial; I'm not at all trying to say that. But the real root of the business is how many customers are engaged in your service. How engaged are they? And can you keep that number growing?"
Microsoft laid out this strategy on a tour of its gaming facilities at its Redmond, Wash., home base this week. Executives steadily repeated a key number: 2 billion. That’s the number of gamers in the world, by Microsoft’s estimates, and many of these players live in parts of the world where console gaming isn’t feasible.
The shift in the gaming teams’ focus fits with Microsoft’s overall evolution. Under CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft wants to bring its services and apps to as many people as possible, regardless of what devices they use.
In some cases, this means working with competitors that make devices rivaling some of Microsoft’s own gadgets. Gaming appears to be no exception, as Microsoft is expected to unveil the extension of Xbox Live compatibility to several additional platforms, including Android and iOS mobile devices and the Nintendo Switch, at the Game Developers Conference later this month.
Microsoft executives demurred when asked specifically about this plan, but Phil Spencer, head of gaming, wasn’t shy about the company’s cross-device ambitions. That push is embodied by Project xCloud, but the company also wants to expand its Game Pass subscription service as well.
“We want to bring Game Pass to any device that somebody wants to play on,” Spencer said. “Not just because it’s our business, but really because the business model allows for people to consume and find games that they wouldn’t have played in any other space.”
“That is not where you make money,” Spencer said of consoles. “The business inside of games is really selling games, and selling access to games and content in means like that is the fundamental business. So if you open it up, the more often people can play, the more they’re enjoying the art form. It increases the size of the business.”
There is more than enough evidence that MS makes "confusing" PR statements about Games Pass/ Xbox just this year. Even in this thread, the original article linked in the OP, claiming "no further plans to bring first party games to other platforms," gets contradicted by MS a few days later. There is no question to me that MS can do a much better job at PR. Their actual statements aren't the problem, its the amount of differing statements, making it seem they can go in either direction, depending on the week or time of day.