Moore Talks Xbox Growth, Evades Handheld
Microsoft's VP of gaming discusses the "monstrous growth opportunity" of the Xbox business and says that "profits will come"; Live Anywhere, HD-DVD, a larger HDD, price drops, Square Enix, and competitive advantage.
Page: 1 2
The face of Microsoft's gaming business and mastermind of the strategy behind Xbox 360 and Games for Windows says that investors can either "hold or sell", promising eventual profit because "entertainment is going to be very important moving forward, and games are going to be at the core of that." In an extensive video interview published today on Kikizo, Peter Moore said that "Profits will come, but investing in making things work, work well, and having a competitive advantage is what's important now."
"We're a long-term thinking company; we make big bets. I think [shareholders] may challenge our execution, but they know this is a monstrous growth opportunity for Microsoft, and we need to do it."
With a highly successful showing at the E3 show in Los Angeles in the bag, Moore explained how the Live Anywhere vision announced by Bill Gates earlier this month was Microsoft's exclusive way of growing the games business, claiming that Robbie's promise to "touch one billion consumers" this generation is a very real vision. "That's how you touch more people. People laughed, but they're laughing less now when they see Bill Gates come and talk about Live Anywhere."
Of course the effort to grow the games business is a collective one, and Moore is happy to acknowledge the efforts of Microsoft's rivals. "I think Nintendo's doing their job, in broadening the look and feel of what games are about for the consumer. And, you know, Sony wants sell high definition movies" he said with a smirk, "we've got to broaden, and that's what it's all about."
But Microsoft knows that conventional consoles aren't the only way to fly in the games business, as evidenced by the incredible success of Nintendo DS. Challenged on credible reports of a forthcoming Xbox handheld being headed by J Allard, Moore was quick smile and evade, talking more about J's absence from E3 than the mythical project itself: "J is busy... poor old J!" he laughed. "J still runs platform development for all of the stuff that we're doing, [but] has a different role than he had in the past. This whole idea of "J, Robbie, Peter"... it's easier if they just push me up front and I do it, it's my responsibility to do it. J is a very busy guy."
And getting Xbox into as many homes as possible is as much about price of admission for consumers as anything else. How successful has the 'Core System' been to that end? Moore explained that while the Core pack sold well in the US, the Premium Pack has proven more popular domestically but that Core is important in developing new overseas markets. "We've got to think globally," he explained. "We're American - we'll I'm not! - but three hundred dollars is a lot of money elsewhere in the world... the ability to do a pricepoint that's affordable to people [in other markets] is very important.
The ability to have pricepoints in the outyears of sub-two hundred dollars, when the other guy may still be at four or five hundred dollars... that's what we need to do", he explained, alluding to inevitable pricing movement but refusing to commit to any firm timing.
Undeniably, Xbox's price advantage against PlayStation 3 is going to be as much of a plus point as the time advantage. On the PS3 launch details, Moore said: "it sounds awfully familiar... dual SKU, launch in November, online network... who'd have thunk that?" And on the issue of pricing, "I'm sure they'll be fine on launch, it's going to be a bigger challenge as prices need to cascade down, and we'll see where we're at then."
Of course, PlayStation 3 will offer playback of Blu Ray movies as standard, while Xbox 360 owners will need to buy the upcoming HD-DVD add on to enjoy the next generation movie experience - but no price has been announced by the company yet. "We haven't figured out a price yet, we're still putting in the final componentry, it's starting to work really well. It was all about choice... if you want to jump in and be part of watching hi-def, great, but a lot of people don't have that."
"It just doesn't seem like good business to burden the cost of the box and get back up to five or six hundred dollars because movie playback is the primary way that you're driving what should be a games business ,into a movie format war business."
Moore also scoffed at the 1080p output capability of PS3, citing that "720p and 1080i is the output you'll get from the HD-DVD drive at home - we're already delivering gameplay at that anyway, mostly at 720p - some games are at 1080i - and the 1080p those guys are talking about... if you could find at TV that was 1080p...! I have a home theatre with a projector in the ceiling, and 720p looks pretty darn good to me."
Moore also revealed that the pricing for newly announced Xbox 360 accessories, such as the wireless steering wheel, will "probably" be announced in the summer. "The wireless wheel just rocks, believe me", he frothed, "we have a prototype working - there's no wires, there's force feedback, it's either table-top or it sits on your lap... It's a beautiful, beautiful device. And the camera's going to be a big deal in the future."