NEWS - Tuesday, May 9, 2006

E3: Shane Kim And Chris Satchell Strike Back

After Sony Computer Entertainment America held its news conference today -- a long conference which revealed a $499/$599 pricing structure, a vague online plan, and a variety of games -- Microsoft's top executives offered their comments. IGN spoke over the phone with Shane Kim, Microsoft Game Studios general manager, and Christ Satchell, general manager of Microsoft's game developer group. "From a gamer's perspective, I'm pretty disappointed in Sony's lack of innovation," said Satchell. "I mean, they didn't deliver anything terribly new, and at the cost of $600, $200 more than our system, it's hard to get excited about it. The 'new' controller was even disappointing. It's basically the same design. It doesn't seem good for consumers, just good for Sony." When asked if Microsoft would lower the price to the Xbox 360's two systems, as an online rumor suggested, Kim said that Microsoft did not comment on rumors and speculation. But he did explain why Microsoft's package was more appealing. "Our top-priced premium system is $200 cheaper than theirs. And when you look at the whole package, our innovative online service, our price structure, the high quality of games, and the leadership we have provided, it's really hard justifying the price difference. We're in a real sweet spot with our pricing tier. We're really confident about where we are pricing-wise." When asked whether Microsoft felt Sony could deliver 6 million units by March 2007, Kim offered this opinion. "We can't speculate on Sony's production capabilities. We're not experts on that. But as you know, getting six million units on the market place by March 2007 is a very challenging task. Based on what we know about launching a sophisticated system with many complicated parts, it's going to be very challenging. "By June 2006, we project we'll meet our goal of having shipped 5 to 5.5 million Xbox 360s. On the subject of new content and announcements, you'll hear about the great new stuff we have at our conference tomorrow." On the subject of online service, Satchell explained: "They provided no real commitment to actually delivering on their online service. They provided no innovation and leadership in that respect. They gave little time and effort to their online space." Kim added, "We've sunk many years of investment into Xbox Live, and we have a lot of innovation there." On the subject of Sony's potential medium superiority with Blue Ray technology, Satchell commented: "I think customers will want the best games and the best services. And the differences between 1080i and 1080p are minuscule; the differences are too hard to determine for most consumers; 1080p is a niche market. The sweet spot is 720p. But you know what? the real question is will your TV be able to run 1080p?" Microsoft's E3 new conference is held at 11:30 PST, Tuesday, May. IGN will be there with a full report.


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