In an interview with GamesIndustry International, Microsoft Europe’s VP of Interactive Entertainment, Chris Lewis, detailed some of Microsoft’s broader plans for the next few years, talking about both the Xbox One and its predecessor.
Lewis’ words about the upcoming console generation sound a bit like an attempt to replicate Nintendo’s success with the Wii:
“This generation 7 that we’re in right now, it’s 50 per cent bigger than generation 6 and I think double the size of generation 5. Our anticipation is that generation 8 will be at least 30 per cent bigger still.”
Lewis also suggested that the longer console cycle consumers experienced for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 was beneficial to everyone. Microsoft’s partners enjoyed the longer cycle (likely as manufacturing costs decreased and the red ring debacle became less of a problem), retailers liked the higher attach rate of games to consoles, and developers got better at tweaking games for the platform. Reticence toward the new consoles makes me think gamers have been pretty happy with it as well.
Lewis also hinted that the Xbox 360 won’t disappear as quickly as the original Xbox did. GamesIndustry International make an apt comparison to Sony’s transition from PlayStation 2 to PlayStation 3, where the massive install base guaranteed good business despite the fresh new console on shelves. The original Xbox, on the other hand, was Microsoft’s first effort and a bit of an also-ran.
Lewis said that he expects third-party publishers to continue to bring content to the Xbox 360 for some time, saying that the system “will continue for another multiple-year time frame,” and that Microsoft has Xbox 360-focused marketing plans for at least the next year. This should be good news for gamers left cold by Tuesday’s press conference.
Lewis’ statements about the coming generation feel a bit like hubris after the strange, confused messaging of that conference and the Q&A that followed it, but E3 and Gamescom will both be huge chances for Microsoft to rewrite that misstep.