NEWS - Friday, May 16, 2003


Xbox Chief Interview

Xbox chief sees games reaching a broader base Robbie Bach, Microsoft’s senior vice president for games and chief Xbox officer, says new games and music products for the Xbox extend the console’s appeal to younger audiences and more women. Robbie Bach is the executive at Microsoft who guides Xbox development. His title reflects it: senior vice president of the Home & Entertainment division and chief Xbox officer. Bach, who joined the company in 1988 as a product manager for Microsoft Works, met with The Seattle Times yesterday at the Electronics Entertainment Expo, or E3, in Los Angeles to talk about the video-game industry. Q. How is E3 going for you so far? Bach: For us it's going great. We had a great briefing Monday night and had a lot of positive feedback about that. Really, people came back and said, "Wow, you guys have a full portfolio of games. You've got some titles we think are going to make Xbox sell this holiday." And that's really the big point here — to start getting people excited and giving people a sense of what's coming. We feel very good about how things are going. Q. What was the most significant announcement you've made at E3? Bach: I think the biggest thing that people should walk away with from the show for us is that we have the depth and breadth of games to make Xbox even more successful. Not just the games for the gaming audience, but the games that reach out to younger audiences, older audiences, women, etc. And we have some cool blockbusters that are going to knock people away. Q. What do you think people are responding to the most? Bach: If you go back to the briefing, the visceral response to "Halo 2" and that demo is amazing. The response to "Doom 3" ... is amazing. I think Music Mixer (an add-on that turns the Xbox into a music machine) in many ways gets a response generally from a broader audience, not so much from the hard-core gamers but from the people who are more into general entertainment. We see more women excited about that, which is cool for us because we start to reach out into the broader audience. Q. Sony's announcement of the PSP handheld gaming device makes Xbox as of now the only console without an accompanying handheld. Bach: Well, Sony doesn't have one either. That was an announcement to plan an announcement. Q. Well, presuming they come through with this, is Microsoft interested in getting into this? Bach: Our perspective right now is we're very focused on making Xbox an integral part of our approach with consumers in the home. That's plenty of work for us to do right now. It is really a very different market. Different dynamics, a different set of issues. So we're really focused on making sure Xbox does a great job, and I don't want to get distracted. To read the rest of the interview click here
Source: http://www.seattletimes.com/

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