NEWS - Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Project Natal a "Midlife Kicker" for Xbox 360

He may have decided not to be around to see them first-hand, but outgoing Xbox 360 president Robbie Bach is still excited about what Project Natal will do for the console over the next few years. Speaking to TechFlash (via, Bach said Natal should be able to inspire up to another four years of creativity on the nearly five-year-old console.
"There’s a tremendous opportunity from a business perspective to produce a new experience for people without shipping a new console," Bach said about the prospects for Natal. "I mean, that’s sort of the Holy Grail in many ways of the console world, is how do you ship completely new game experiences without actually forcing everybody to start over again, and I think Natal certainly presents that opportunity."

The results could be three-to-four years of "some really cool innovation that can happen," Bach said. "I think you’re going to feel that over 12, 24, 36 months, because I think we’ll do some great experiences out of the gate, and people will say, wow, that’s really cool, and then the creative teams will really hit their stride, then the technology team will really hit its stride, and how it integrates with Live will get enhanced," Bach continued.

"So, for me it’s a jumpstart catalyst," he concluded. "It’s a midlife kicker for the 360, and it’s an opportunity to really drive that business in a dramatic way."

But as exciting as Bach thinks the next three or four years of Xbox 360 business will be, it still wasn’t enough to keep him at Microsoft. Yesterday, Bach explained his decision to leave Microsoft was due to not wanting to make the three-year (or more) commitment to planning the Xbox 360 strategy after Natal hits stores. He also elaborated on his decision with TechFlash.

"I’ve got personal things I want to do, we’ve got family things we want to accomplish, I’ve got things I’m doing with the Boys & Girls Club and some other organizations that are important to me," Bach said. "And it’s really tough to try to do all those and do the 100 percent work that I want to do here. With the business in a good shape with a good leadership team, now seemed like the logical time."


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