NEWS - Friday, September 19, 2003
Ed Fries on Xbox: To Christmas and BeyondThe X03 showcase this week offered a chance to see not only the best Xbox games, but also the people behind them. We spoke to Microsoft's VP for game publishing, Ed Fries, about the prospects for the console leading up to Christmas and into next year. For a man who spent half of the previous night partying and the other half looking after a one year old child not quite accustomed to dealing with jetlag, Ed Fries is in remarkably good form on the second morning of X03 - grins and jokes all round, a contrast to the rather more worse for wear journalists he's speaking to. Then again, Ed Fries has good reason to be happy. The man in charge of Microsoft's game publishing efforts - and hence one of the most important figures behind the Xbox - is seeing several of Microsoft Game Studios' biggest projects coming to fruition, and watching many of the gaming press swallow their words as the Xbox rolls out a software line-up that comfortably challenges the range of any rival platform. What a difference a year makes; in fact, it's less than a year since a number of key industry analysts and insiders privately but confidently predicted to us that Fries' head would roll as the required sacrificial offering for the poor performance of Xbox, while others opined that only the isolated success of the multi-million selling Halo was saving his bacon. It's a far cry from the smiling, confident Fries who speaks to us at X03, a man whose game plan has paid off and who now sits at the head of a first- and second-party console development outfit that rivals even Nintendo's. Catch the rest of the interview here.