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Microsoft has no intentions of giving up on the console market

Dean Takahashi of A+E Interactive recently had the chance to sit down and chat with Microsoft's COO, Kevin Turner. Turner, who has previously worked through the ranks of Wal-Mart and was once the president of Sam's Club, has a lot on his plate as of now at Microsoft and oversees products ranging from Windows Vista to the XBOX 360.

In the interview, Turner discusses a number of issues including Microsoft's broad scope for its "digital lifestyle" initiative which includes products like the XBOX 360 and Zune as well the company's current hemorrhaging of money in the games division:

q: What do you think as a business person. These guys started up the business. They anticipated losing money. They did lose billions in the first round. When you think of those numbers, it's so high stakes. You either come out of it like Sony, or come out of it sinking billions into a crazy business. For a business, that can be very scary.

a: In those four pillars, it's important for us to have multiple pillars for growth. We think we are uniquely positioned to be able to invest what it takes to be successful in areas like entertainment and gaming. People forget. Steve reminds me it to seven, eight, or nine years before Windows was profitable. People forget that. We're in it for the long term. This is a company committed to invest for the long term. We would like to make money quickly. But that's not what changes the world. That's not what innovation allows you to do. Regardless of what you look at, it takes a lot of years. This is a company that is committed to sticking to things that we believe in. Certainly, this is a space we believe in.

Microsoft has a lot invested in the XBOX brand and it has a lot of cash on hand to drag it along for quite some time. The original XBOX was a moderate sales success (despite the large monetary losses for Microsoft), while the current XBOX 360 is coming slower out of the gate than its predecessor. Whether that's because customers are waiting to see what the PlayStation 3 offers or because the XBOX 360 doesn't yet have that "killer app" remains to be seen. Regardless, the next two months should be an interesting time for Microsoft as we should see a number of new peripherals released for the XBOX 360 including the Wireless Racing Wheel and the external HD DVD drive. And there's also that tiny little game that no one's ever heard of: Gears of War or something like that…

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By Trisped on 10/10/2006 12:56:52 PM , Rating: 1
Of course you have forgotten all about the millions of crappie 3rd party games that came out for the PS and PS2 and the lack of content for the Game Cube. In fact, all the consoles either are or have not kept their promises for content. We just have to learn to not expect so much from them.

By tuteja1986 on 10/11/2006 5:08:47 AM , Rating: 1
After seeing TGS and X06 , I think XBOX 360 has loads of exclusive content :
Forza Motorsport 2
Gears of War
Lost planet
Blue Dragon
Mass effect
Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom
Project Sylpheed

By ajfink on 10/10/2006 1:00:13 PM , Rating: 2
Saying "Halo doesn't count" is downright foolish. The Halo series is the reason I bought the original Xbox, and then bought a number of other games. The Halo games are Xbox first, PC far, far second. Why did I buy an Xbox 360? Simply for the prospect of Gears of War and Halo 3, and for GRAW (to say the other versions are comparable is silly) and Quake IV at launch (I do realize this was initially a PC game). I know a number of friends who forewent Oblivion on PC to buy it for the 360, because they simply prefer console gaming. I'll buy a Wii for the same reasons, just different games.

I really don't know what you're talking about when you say the games for the Xbox family are generally poor. Granted, I've played games for them that suck something awful, but no more than a similar number of PS2 or Gamecube games. When the PS3 and Wii come out is when a next round of comparisons can be made.

By NotAok on 10/10/2006 1:22:23 PM , Rating: 2
bullshit, halo IS a killer app and always will be. First off it's not like it came out for pc the same day as it did for pc, there was a HUGE gap between the two. Second, Halo for xbox was/is superior in my eyes (and a lot of others). I Still play Halo to this day with my friends whenever we get together. This kind of experience wouldn't have been the same had it only been for pc. Sure we could play online, but to have 12-16 people all in the same room battling it out is one hell of a good time and is what makes Halo so great.

By Xavian on 10/10/2006 1:36:35 PM , Rating: 2
hate to say it, but hes right. You'll never see a Zelda game on the PC, you'll never see Mario or Shadow of Collusus or even God of War on the PC.

It isn't really a 'killer-app' if you can get it on another platform.

By webdawg77 on 10/10/2006 1:46:31 PM , Rating: 2
Well, technically Zelda can be played on the PC ... emulation anyone? The fact is eventually any console game can be remade or emulated on a PC. So, with that in mind, there could be no killer apps ... well, unless you define a killer app as being "solely" or "primarily" on one medium. A company will always release it again if there's the potential to make money, especially with the PC gaming industry being so much more than the console industry.

If you consider that, then yes Halo was a killer app for the original Xbox. Although it did come out on the PC, I hardly think people were saying "hey, I could get the Xbox and play Halo now, or I think I'll wait and see if it comes out on the PC almost 2 years later." That amount of time in gaming is ages. No one will think that waiting that long for a game to become available on another medium is realistic ... or sane.

Halo on Xbox - 11/7/01
Halo on PC - 10/2/03

By encryptkeeper on 10/10/2006 1:50:51 PM , Rating: 2
LOL Emulation...You have me there. I would say it doesn't matter because most of the newer consoles haven't been cracked yet, but can you say PSP? It was what, 2 weeks before someone cracked it?

By encryptkeeper on 10/10/2006 1:54:38 PM , Rating: 2
Nope as soon as it was released on PC it stopped being a killer app.

By encryptkeeper on 10/10/2006 2:01:28 PM , Rating: 1
Maybe we're using the wrong terminology. A killer app, according to wiki is an application that shows a previously unknown potential. A killer game a video game that is popular to the extent that many buy a particular video game console or upgrade their computer hardware simply to play it. If that's true, and you already have a computer powerful enough to play something like Halo, then that makes it not a killer game.

What I'm saying is that Oblivion is probably one of the most popular games to come out on 360 so far. But Microsoft failed to release it as a 360 exclusive. Same with Halo, and soon Halo 2. If you like the Xbox, then you better tell Microsoft that they need to stop releasing games on other platforms or they'll screw their own console over.


By NotAok on 10/10/2006 2:32:16 PM , Rating: 2
lol, you guys act as if Microsoft had just recently been formed and is only providing video game content. Obviously, given their history, they're going to push games onto the pc platform too. They're a business out to make money and if re-releasing a game that came out two years ago on pc gets them more money then why not?

Do you guys honestly think Nintendo or Sony wouldn't do the same had they the same power or connections as Microsoft?

By DaveSylvia on 10/10/2006 2:33:26 PM , Rating: 2
A killer game doesn't necessarily require that a game be exclusive to one system for eternity. Just look at GTA3 when it first came out for PS2. Yes, at the time it was exclusive, just like how Halo was exclusive to Xbox when it first came out. That game definitely is considered a killer game or app because of the fact that many people purchased PS2 hardware just to play it. Now that very same game is out for the Xbox and PC and this suddenly makes it not a killer app?

Final Fantasy 7 was a killer app for the PSX but that was also released on the PC (albeit it was a terrible port). Likewise, even though Halo was released (TWO YEARS LATER) for the PC, this doesn't change the fact that it drove people to purchase Xbox hardware. This is the main poing: a killer game or app is a product that motivates the purchase of existing hardware. It doesn't matter if it becomes available elsewere.

P.S. Oblivion isn't a killer game because it has't raised people's desire to purchase an Xbox360. The fact that its on the PC too is irrelevant.

By encryptkeeper on 10/10/2006 3:28:06 PM , Rating: 2
Then the end conclusion is there is no reason to buy a 360 at all.

By NotAok on 10/10/2006 3:35:39 PM , Rating: 2
By that logic I'm assuming you feel the same way towards the PS3 and PC gaming... They're all relative, each platform receives games that are exclusive and games that end up elsewhere. So if you feel the 360 is useless then I see no reason why you would enjoy any other system.

By encryptkeeper on 10/10/2006 1:53:40 PM , Rating: 2
Thank you.

Please see post below about pissing off people who like Halo for an interesting time.

By Alpha4 on 10/10/2006 4:00:47 PM , Rating: 2
Doth ye all forget Metal Gear Solid 2?

Its PC release did nothing to diminish its standing as a killer app.

By glennpratt on 10/10/2006 2:05:05 PM , Rating: 1
You mean EB Games are filled with idiots and fanboys of all sorts right? I mean, I bought DOA4 there and the guy said Congrats on buying the only half decent game for 360, in a superior/nerdy sort of way.

By encryptkeeper on 10/10/2006 3:31:05 PM , Rating: 2
Gamestop isn't quite as bad, but EB Games is HORRIBLE. Those self-righteous idiots would piss off even the most faithful Microsoft fan.

By FITCamaro on 10/10/2006 1:46:31 PM , Rating: 4
Halo wasn't available on the PC until 2 years after it came out for the Xbox. Halo 2 isn't even out yet for the PC either. I saw previews for Halo a year before the Xbox came out and went out and preordered mine for $10. Picked it up on day 2. Sure new Halo games are eventually available on the PC but when it comes out it has the "I can't get this anywhere else" status. Halo 3 might change that since development between the Xbox360 and Vista isn't that different using the XNA platform.

The Halo franchise is the biggest on the Xbox and is the reason hundreds of thousands bought their Xbox. The GTA series has always been available on the PC after it comes out on PS2 or whatever other console. Are you saying it wasn't one of Sony's killer games despite the fact that it sold 2-3 million copies in the first year alone?

Microsoft has been slow to get the good games out the door but this has always been the case. It was a year before the PS2 ever saw any major titles other than GT3. You think the PS3 Final Fantasy games are going to be available at launch? It always takes a year before really really good games come out because it takes a while for the developers to get used to the new hardware and discover all the neat tricks they can do. Look how far the GTA series has come with the meager resources of the PS2. And the differences between Halo and Halo 2.

By swatX on 10/10/2006 11:49:35 AM , Rating: 1
Gears of war is going to rock the X360 world just like how Halo did it to the original xbox world!!!

By NotAok on 10/10/2006 11:50:53 AM , Rating: 4
...or at least we hope

By rklaver on 10/10/2006 12:09:17 PM , Rating: 2
Not to mention Halo3. That's probably when I'll make the switch...Unless GOW blows me away.

Wrong again MS
By phatboye on 10/10/2006 12:08:59 PM , Rating: 2
while the current XBOX 360 is coming slower out of the gate than its predecessor. Whether that's because customers are waiting to see what the PlayStation 3 offers or because the XBOX 360 doesn't yet have that "killer app" remains to be seen.

XBox 360 sales are so slow because of the high price tag of the console. People would buy the XBox 360 if they could afford it. Although a large portion of the gaming community are adults who can buy their own XBox 360, there is still a huge percentage of teenage gamers who would like to own a XBox 360 but have a hard time convincing their parents to plop down $350 on a gaming machine that will get replaced/outdated in 4-5 years. The same thing goes for the ps3.

RE: Wrong again MS
By thebrown13 on 10/10/2006 12:24:04 PM , Rating: 1
As much as I disliked what the original Xbox did to PC gaming, we as gamers need to work towards a unified gaming platform. PC games and console do not need to be different. X86 is the answer. Hopefully Games for Windows catches on so we can start seeing consoles that just run windows games.

Who isn't tired of buying proprietary crap that only runs some of your software. Looking at you, Apple and Sony.

RE: Wrong again MS
By Trisped on 10/10/2006 12:51:39 PM , Rating: 2
You just don't make any sense. Do you want an ultimate console or more PC games?
The consoles are all switching to IBM processors because the x86 ones are too expensive. This way they can buy the processor and make their own instead of paying Intel or AMD for each one. And when they shrink the die they can save money instead of paying more. There is also the issue of ROMs. With the switch to an IBM processor ROMs must be converted to work on a PC, which means more work for the emulator programmers and more expensive PCs to run it.
Of course, it is more expensive for game makers too, but I don't think anyone cares about that.

RE: Wrong again MS
By Trisped on 10/10/2006 12:43:51 PM , Rating: 2
No, sales are slow because of the lack of games. Price also has something to do with is, as no one wants to spend $400 on a consol just to play one game.

This is a long term competition.
By OxBow on 10/10/2006 1:08:55 PM , Rating: 2
It's obvious that MS is going to keep pushing the XBox, even if it continues to lose money, since the holy grail of convergence will be a cash cow if they can pull it off.

Personally, I own a PS2, Gamecube, 360 and just pre-ordered my PS3 this morning (I can't wait till November 17th!). I think that the PS3 will hold a good portion of the marketshare through this generation given it's edge in technology, game library and blue ray. I've been disappointed by the 360 (if it shudders at running Oblivion, how is it going handle more powerful titles two years from now?) and I'll wait a while to see if the Wii isn't just a brief fad.

By encryptkeeper on 10/10/2006 3:48:21 PM , Rating: 2
I really don't think the Wii is going to be just a 'fad'. Looking at the Wii vs PS3 or 360, it's like looking at the DS vs the PSP two years ago. Sure the DS can't do the graphics that the PSP can, but the avenues that the new control scheme has entered is what keeps the DS going so strong. I really think (and hope) we'll see an even race between the three home consoles all the way through their lifespans. That would be great for us, it means game companies would work harder for our business (i.e. lower prices, better games, better innovation).

RE: This is a long term competition.
By splines on 10/10/2006 8:19:03 PM , Rating: 2
Bethesda starting making Oblivion long before anything was known of the 360. They essentially guessed how much more powerful systems would be, which is why it kills most gaming PC's to a greater extent than the 360. That's not indicative of the hardware.

By medavid16 on 10/10/2006 1:52:44 PM , Rating: 2
I think why the people on this bulletin disagree about the Xbox is because the Halo series appeals to different crowds.

I will be a PS3 fan, no argument there... but I must say, the console wars is showing that the Wii will dominate, at least in terms of sales. The Wii is going to redefine gamers, it will appeal to the old and young, men and women. The controller is set with a learning curve that anyone can pick it up and use it.

However, that doesn't mean it is "the next great console." I will be a PS3 fan, simply because I like the classic controller. I play fighting games that tight control, tight dexterity along with technical understanding of the game, added with wit and a touch of style, will win the game. The name of the game is competition. And I just don't see the same tight control of a Wii controller vs a Ps3 classic controller.

Something that will truly truly bring a console huge brownie points is to bring previous games online compatibility, without it originally being supported... Alot of people are awaiting a Marvel Vs Capcom 2 online capable version... I know any system that supports it, will gain an EASY couple thousand console sales... and that's just one game.

Every console has strengths and weaknesses, the Xbox just happens to be at a standstill due to the impending release of the next consoles and the release of more games.

RE: Discrepancy
By wedgieroo on 10/10/2006 2:31:19 PM , Rating: 2
Funny, if you were really a huge fighting game fan wouldn't you be using a stick instead of the PS3 controller? ;-)

The PS3 is where all the fighters will be, no doubt - at least, VF5 is there. It will be quite interesting to see how everything plays out...

By Kilim on 10/10/2006 4:43:50 PM , Rating: 4

Some of these people posting are so sad. Why hate on a game?? I am a manager of a Gamestop and I get these people all the time. The people who respond to someone putting down Halo are responding to your attitude, not to your thoughts on Halo. Do you really think what you are projecting is not the cause of their sour response to you rather than your thoughts on a game?

I get people who hate WOW, All RPG's, someone who thinks Madden is for slack-jawed yokel's (sp?) yet will buy Starcraft. (How is deciding what defense to play any different than figuring out what units to build?) Those who look down on those who play Halo 2 online yet will use Macro's in PC games. (Wow, you got mad typing skill's, dawg). People who hate WOW or Age of Empires games yet are there every month to buy the same JRPG to look at the cute outfits.

God, man, I get you types all the freaking time. We are not responding to your hatred of a particular game, but rather some chump hassling us with his ignorant opinions while I am trying to work.

Actual Quote
By vanka on 10/10/2006 2:23:15 PM , Rating: 2
Ummm . . . I don't know how to say this, but is that the actual quote of the MS COO? Nothing at all was changed? That thing was as hard to read and understand as some DT comments. You'd think that an MS exec, especially one with his experiance, would be able to articulate his ideas a bit better. You know, sound like an intelligent person instead of like a 10-year old on a messageboard.

"Death Is Very Likely The Single Best Invention Of Life" -- Steve Jobs
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