With the launch of Microsoft's next-gen console only two months away now, we will soon be overwhelmed by MS' marketing campaign, but the big wigs behind the Xbox have been doing their best to sell the 360 to the gaming community already at industry events like GDC, E3 and most recently the Tokyo Game Show.
Peter Moore, Xbox corporate VP of worldwide marketing and publishing, is very confident in MS' ability to grow its global market share, and he recently shared his sentiments during TGS in a lengthy interview with French website Xboxyde. In addition to continuing (or improving on) the level of success that the Xbox has had in the West, it will obviously be quite important for the 360 to fare better in a Sony and Nintendo dominated Japan.
Importance of Japan
"If you'd have said two years ago that people like Square Enix would be [standing] shoulder to shoulder with us, Capcom, Namco, Konami, Bandai, Sega would all be developing multiple titles; I think people would have scoffed," said Moore. "And I think that our ability to have a team on the ground that's been able to build our relationships and build what we call this global ecosystem; all of the companies I have mentioned are already making very good money on Xbox -- maybe not necessarily here in Japan but certainly around the world and they take a global view, not just a domestic Japanese view about the business, so it's important that were successful here in Japan."
Pricing according to region
Moore also responded to criticism that U.S. and European gamers might feel cheated that Japan is getting the one premium SKU for what seems like a better price. "I'm not worried about what some guy in Osaka can buy something for that is in a currency that he's never seen before in his life or doesn't understand the sales tax or value added tax. Believe me it all balances out. I don't think they are going to feel cheated; our concept very much was look, let's start with the Xbox 360 system; wireless controller, HD AV pack, 20 GB HD, seamless connection to internet Xbox Live, headset -- you get a ton of stuff for $399, a ton of stuff for ?279. And people should look at that and say 'Is this good value for money?' and then go test drive this thing," he said.
Moore continued, "We priced according to the local market and built a SKU platform for the market. Remember [general manager of Xbox Division in Japan] Maruyama San said, a week after launch who knows we might have the core system as well. Japan is focused on having a hard drive because there is uniqueness about this market, particularly the MMORPGS that we feel having a HD at the beginning is going to be important."
DVD vs. Blu-ray
He also addressed, once again, Microsoft's decision to use standard DVD-9 and the supposed advantage PlayStation 3 has because of its Blu-ray drive. "Our focus is on what is ready here and now; DVD-9 is here [and] we feel all of the games that are in development right now, all of the developers are very comfortable with the DVD format. It's not our strategy to wait for things to potentially happen," Moore explained.
"Sony has a vested interest obviously in Blu-ray. When you look at what we think theoretical costs of the drives could be, what the cost of the medium will be versus the benefits down the road a year from now, 2 years from now, 3 years from now -- I think 3 years from now with 20-40 million units of these things and we'll feel very comfortable of where were at. That's not to say that down the road there is not that flexibility to do things to take advantage of new medium and what have you; but I don't worry about our ability to compete with whatever Sony throws at us whenever they decide when they are going to launch," he continued.
On PSP and Revolution
Microsoft of late has seemingly been much "kinder" to the competition. Rather than trash talking, Moore praised both Sony and Nintendo. Regarding the recent debut of the PSP in Europe and the portable's future prospects, he said, "I think PSP will do well; I think it grows the market. I don't think it's stealing money that's put aside for that (points at the 360). I think there is room for innovation in every market [and] I'm sure retailers are loving the fact that they will have hot products not only [for] the PSP but the iPod nano; I mean there's a lot of cool stuff that's going to be available and that's good for retail business. I like to think that we've got a lot of products that are going to drive a tremendous amount of traffic into stores and I like to think that the PSP is going to continue to be successful in Europe for example; that's going to help us because people are coming in."
As for Nintendo, Moore was appreciative that Mario & Co. truly seem to be trying to broaden the overall video game market. "I welcome Nintendo's innovation; it's risky, we shall see. I'd give you a better opinion if I could see it actually work with a game. I saw people pointing at the camera. You have to admire a company that's willing to take a risk like that and if it truly does grow the business then I think we all benefit," he said.
The full transcript can be read here.