Microsoft's Don Mattrick vs. Sony's Kaz Hirai

Five questions we asked the pair of them.

They've been at each other's throats all week - for all of the last few years, you might argue - but Microsoft and Sony are rarely seen together throwing the punches directly. This E3 was no exception, so we thought we'd help them out by asking them both a few of the same questions and then comparing the answers.

On Microsoft's side, we have Don Mattrick, senior vice president of Microsoft's games business, while for Sony we have Kaz Hirai, president and group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment. To avoid prejudicing their answers (or getting booted out), we didn't tell them what we were up to. Read on to see how the heads of Xbox and PlayStation feel about this generation and the parts they've played so far.

Eurogamer: What has been the most important breakthrough in this generation?

Don Mattrick: I think that it's collecting or aggregating the power of software, hardware and connectivity services.

Gaming's evolved and grown into something that has very high performance, high fidelity in terms of graphics, and content creators are building amazing experiences that are more sophisticated, more intriguing, and the service side - what our team's built through its commitment to Xbox Live - is pretty incredible.

So the package, I think, is what I would really describe. The impact that package has on the consumer is obviously the most dramatic of any generation. I think it's going to bring about more change in relation to our category - more innovation, more creativity, building bridges with other traditional forms of entertainment like movies, TV, music and other digital assets, and there's the hard work that everyone's put in over the past 20-something years to get to this point.

avatars

Mattrick thinks Xbox Live "is pretty incredible". Hopefully he likes the new avatars.

Kaz Hirai: I think that there are so many different perspectives on that, but one of the things that I think is most important perhaps from a gaming experience is the fact that with PlayStation 3 we've been able to move the consumers from a standard-definition environment to a high-definition environment.

Also the fact that the Cell processor when compared to the Emotion Engine. Put it this way, the leap between PSone and PlayStation 2 was considerable, but the leap from PS2 to PlayStation 3 is even bigger. Including the high definition, as well as the raw graphics and computational power that the Cell processor brings, and I think that the publishers and development teams have yet to unlock all of what the console can do.

You probably saw the testimonial video [in the press conference] - some of the development teams are now actually starting to talk about finding out, harnessing the power of the SPUs, and not having to rely on the core processor, so there's some more head room there as well.

And when you look from a macro standpoint, that's one of the biggest leaps that we've been able to achieve with the PlayStation 3, if you compare with consoles from previous generations.

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