Microsoft has reassured gamers that it remains committed to the hardcore as it broadens the appeal of the Xbox Live online platform.

The hardcore are "the best advocate" of the Xbox 360's movie, telly and music features, Xbox Live Studios boss Jerry Johnson told an audience at the Edinburgh Interactive Festival.

"I know there's a lot of controversy over, are you turning your back on the core gamer? Are you just focused on the Wii bunch? My answer to that is an emphatic no," he said.

"The reason I say that is because I realise that Live was built on the back of the core gamer. It was built to benefit the core gamer, and it was built solely focused on the core gamer when it was originally launched.

"We also know that is our best advocate to continue to grow our user base and grow the engagement with Live."

Johnson used the Sky Player, launched last year, as an example of how core gamers are helping casual gamers discover content on the Xbox 360.

"My wife never let me have an Xbox in the bedroom. Probably not a bad rule, but that was the rule. When Sky launched all of a sudden she was like, you can bring the Xbox in the bedroom. It's okay because I can watch movies on them.

"My wife probably would have never found out about Sky or wouldn't have known about it or wouldn't have even entertained the idea unless I had been there and shown her some of these things.

"We see this time and time again. Those are the people who are reaching out and sharing this with others.

"So, we are still squarely focused on the core, and building mechanics that appeal to the core. But also realising that is a path to actually reach up to the broader audience."

Xbox Live, launched on the original Xbox in November 2002, now enjoys around 25 million active members.

Microsoft will update all the applications currently running on the service around the time of the November launch of motion sensing add-on Kinect.

"Kinect, we believe, introduces the ability to interact with content in a way people haven't even imagined yet," Johnson said.

"There are a lot of different things you'll see that one might expect from Kinect, but some of the magic is going to come from the things that people don't expect."

At gamescom last week Microsoft announced that 60 Windows 7 phone games will be Live enabled and have access to Gamerscore, Achievements and Avatars.

Johnson said Xbox Live will continue to evolve beyond the Xbox 360.

"Expanding into other devices is key to what we're doing. Continuing to take Live broader than the console has always been part of the core concept."

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Wesley Yin-Poole

Wesley Yin-Poole

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