Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
03 May 2006
Buddy-buddy interview with Peter Moore
This interview with Microsoft's Peter Moore at Next-Gen is truly a puff piece. If you want your fill of marketspeak dressed up as a candid interview, read on.

Gaming is at the forefront of what Microsoft believes entertainment will be and I think we add value to the gaming ecosystem.
You know he's serious because he said "ecosystem".

He [Moore] points out that Xbox, the company's first play in this market, took a 25% to 30% market-share "depending on where you are in the world".
How does this even make sense? Let's say I'm somewhere in the world, like -- hrmmmm -- Japan. Then 25% of the market was the Xbox? Hasn't the Sony PSOne routinely outsold the Xbox in Japan? This kind of stuff shouldn't go unchallenged, or at the very least shouldn't be printed if it's flat-out false.

Whether it's Halo, Fable or Project Gotham or Xbox Live we brought innovations that changed the world. And the others are the ones that are having to react.
By my count: buying a developer, putting out a game for which the developer apologized, yet another driving game, and a really good network. I'll grant them the really good network, but what was so innovative about Project Gotham Racing?

I did like this line:
Xbox 360 is beginning to deliver the required numbers, even if it won't hit some of Microsoft's own fairy-tale targets.
That's a well-deserved dose of reality. In fact, the whole bottom of the second page is pretty grounded. More please.

The seriousness doesn't last long:
Xbox Live Arcade is digital distribution in the console made flesh. Whatever games get shown next week, it's still the most exciting thing this business has produced in the last ten years.
Note that that's not Moore talking: that's Campbell, the interviewer. It's also a ridiculous statement, on its face.

Let's pick an easy example: QuakeWorld. That's late 1996, so within the last 10 years, and it was the first killer-app for internet gaming. The FIRST. And now an all-in-one online service that bundles various features that have existed disparately is the most exciting thing the business has produced in a decade? What about Half-Life? That was an incredible experience, and still holds up today. Or Grand Theft Auto III and its living city sandbox?

Microsoft sure is proud of Xbox Live. They might even have a new name for online gaming:
Microsoft has clearly been having a few brain-storming sessions. It turns out the term 'online gaming' is passe and vulgar. "I won't call it online gaming any more," says Moore, almost convincing me that the idea just came into his head. "It makes it seem like a hardcore pastime. I'm going to start calling it connected gaming from right now. Online gaming still has this feeling of MMOs and RPGs. It was linked to the PC and I think that is off-putting for a lot of people and quite frankly seems kinds geeky."
I was just thinking how easy it would be to get my Mom involved now that I can call it "connected gaming". It's so very much more friendly. I'm sure she'll love Perfect Dark Zero, provided I emphasize the connected gaming angle. ("Connected gaming" reminds me of the funny name Ruffin came up with for our LAN party club back in college: RCUG or Recreational Connectivity Users Group.)

Finally, we get to the throwing of stones:
"You can over burden the features [of a console] and therefore offer features that the consumer is not particularly interested in. Case in point, look at the PSX in Japan that Sony launched - with PVR plus PS2 for $700 - it disappeared because the pricepoint did not deliver. It's a very delicate balance between features and price and the difference between good enough and great."
Yeah, the PSX isn't the example that came to mind. I was thinking more of the hard drive in the Xbox. That'd certainly be an example closer to Moore's experience. That hard drive was supposed to be a killer feature, what set the Xbox apart. Now it's an overpriced accessory.

And we can't pass up an opportunity to slight Nintendo:
Nintendo? Microsoft is not convinced by the controller's claims to innovation of the year. "If the controller is different and innovative; fine. But I would say that Xbox Live is the bigger innovation. It depends on your definition of innovative. If having a DVD style controller defines innovation; great. I would argue that talking millions of gamers and connecting them with friends and strangers around the world... I'd call that pretty innovative."
Call me crazy, but I think this guy really, really likes Xbox Live. It -- Xbox Live that is -- keeps coming up, over and over, in this interview. I hear that Xbox Live enables Connected Gaming[tm]. Xbox Live.

And what's with the "DVD style controller" smear? Isn't that kind of missing the point? It reminds me of Woody Allen's famous quote after reading War and Peace: "It involves Russia."

Sure, Sony's got their paid mouthpieces, as does Nintendo. Do we have to give them an open mic like this?

Labels: ,

--Matt Matthews at 14:36
Comment [ 3 ]

Comments on this post:

Well, really, the big companies do have to get their message out somehow I suppose. I don't have anything necessarily *against* these things getting printed....

But they should be set apart from the "real" news. There's not even a product announcement in this.

And is it me, or does Peter Moore bear an uncomfortable resemblance to Lee Van Cleef?

By Blogger JohnH, at 03 May, 2006 16:24  

You are so connected to the industry that you can take that piece and run it into the ground.

All I can say is that it sucks. I can't believe that saw print.

And that part where he said online gaming sound geeky, oh boy, he had to be thinking what a tool he was when he said that. Not a tool of MS, but just a tool.

By Anonymous Matt, at 03 May, 2006 18:36  

Of course they're pushing XBox Live, it's the ONLY thing they've got. He mentions XBox games more in passing than in fact. "Yeah, there were some games for it, but none that will really be remembered for doing anything truly innovative in ten years."

I would imagine MS is a tad concerned about Sony and Nintendo about to launch services that will compete with the ONLY thing that sets the XBox apart. I don't truly expect another company to match MS' ability to deliver a service, but MS does not have the GAMES to compete, so even if XBL is superior, it may not be enough. Time will tell.

By Blogger BruceC, at 04 May, 2006 14:06  

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