Microsoft's Aaron Greenberg • Page 2

On price cuts, the HDMI cable and the Christmas period.

Eurogamer: Xbox and PlayStation both cut their prices recently, and the results have been big boosts in sales for both. How does the impact of those cuts look from your perspective? Did the new Sony SKU take some of the wind out of your sails?

Aaron Greenberg: I don't believe the price cuts that both companies have made will impact the market dynamics too dramatically in the long term. We typically see a month or two of lifts and share adjustments, but then things tend to settle back to roughly the established market ranking.

We do, however, expect that these new lower prices will bring in more consumers that were potentially a bit resistant to the previous pricing in place. Our focus continues to be on adding more value and more exclusive experiences across games and entertainment, so that consumers will continue to select the Xbox 360 as their console of choice.

And when you look at this holiday I think we once again stack up quite nicely with the list of exclusive Xbox 360 games including blockbusters like Halo 3: ODST, Forza Motorsport 3, GTAIV - The Ballad of Gay Tony DLC and new Liberty City standalone retail title - Left 4 Dead 2, and tons of XBLA titles like the recently launched Shadow Complex. Then you add on top of that things like Facebook, Twitter, Last.fm and instant-on HD movies in 1080p and I think the value you get with the Xbox 360 continues to be quite impressive.

Eurogamer: There were a couple of interesting anomalies around your price cut, like the Arcade price going up in the UK and the removal of the HDMI cable from the 360 box. Do you really save that much money losing the HDMI cable from the box? And isn't it a bit patronising to tell people that getting rid of it is a matter of giving people more choice? It's about saving money first and foremost, isn't it?

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Gears 2's uncle, Mark Rein, reckons HD uptake is very low among his customers. Greenberg is less specific, simply saying HD gaming has played a role in driving consumers toward HDTVs.

Aaron Greenberg: Good question and one I am getting asked a lot these days. I can tell you that decisions like this never come easy and a variety of factors come into play. First we looked at the research, which shows that the majority of consumers who purchased an Elite console were not even using the HDMI cable. Then we also had to consider that when we first added the Elite console to our offerings the value of an HDMI cable was quite high. Today, as we know HDMI cables have become pretty common and commoditised in many respects. So at the end of the day we decided that is was best to remove the cost of that cable from the box, but pass on the savings to consumers in form of a price drop.

Eurogamer: Do you have figures regarding HD uptake on Xbox 360, and could you share your current information about the volume of 360 owners who use HD relative to those who don't - or perhaps, assuming it's less sensitive, your extrapolated feeling about wider HD uptake among consumers in the home entertainment space?

Aaron Greenberg: I don't have such figures handy, so would hate to quote you something that is not accurate. I think broadly speaking in many ways the consoles this generation focusing on HD gaming and entertainment have driven a large number of consumers to upgrade to HDTVs. I am sure there are folks much smarter than I that have studied this and can tell you the difference between sports or gaming or movies as reasons why people are upgrading.

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