Xbox 360 Looking for the Twister of the 21st Century

Illustration for article titled Xbox 360 Looking for the Twister of the 21st Century

Microsoft hasn't forgotten that despite their successes they are still the "challenger brand" in the video game industry, Jeff Bell, Microsoft's corporate vice president of global marketing for Interactive Entertainment Business, told members of the Electronic Gaming Summit today.

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After walking the audience through his personal gaming history, which started with Pong in his early teens, Bell talked about gaming generations and how Microsoft works to extend their reach in the industry, reminding the audience that the Xbox is still the new guy in the console wars.

"We are the challenger brand in this category, this is our seventh year really," he said. "We're coming into our eighth holiday, from that stand point we are still the newbie."

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Microsoft's plan to extend their reach includes courting large cross-platform titles, key categories and new types of gaming.

"We do wish to win critical cross-platform blockbusters," Bell said. "It's our vision to move away from just first-party...we also need to change the paradigm of how we partner with our third parties."

Microsoft also want to grow what they call key categories: sports, driving, family and innovative gaming.

"We must continue to be inspired by new types of game play," he said, pointing to Nintendo's upcoming release of Wii Fit. "We don't have the Wii Fit but we are happy to have the relationship with Konami on DDR. We are an also-ran compared to the Wii Fit, but we're not going to just say well done you deserve it."

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"We are all looking for the twister of the 21 century."

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DISCUSSION

Pointers for the next Xbox:

- Poach some Apple designers and make the cleanest-looking, sexiest console ever.

- You've got a nice lead on the competition, so don't rush the next one out - make sure its hardware is up to snuff, and put a competent repair framework in place.

- Launch with a re-invention of a first-party property to get the ball rolling with a huge bang. The '360, for all its leadtime, launched tieh "Perfect Dark" and "Kameo" - not really inspiring.

I love the '360 - I RRoDed once, had a horrible experience with Xbox customer support, and had to take matters into my own hands to get the console repaired. Still, the game choices are great, the DivX support is HEAVENLY, and Xbox Live is truly sans pareil. If they build on what they have, they should dominate the next generation. My only fear is that the pendulum will swing the other way, and they'll make some Wii-ish nonsense, thereby demonstrating that MSFT is always one step behind and out of touch (see also Zune, Vista, etc.).