Microsoft's Chris Lewis

Xbox 360, the competition, XBLA and the next-gen.

While Sony strutted its stuff at Gamescom through the power of a press conference, Microsoft walked a more modest path with a Play Day event, with hands-on opportunities of a raft of Xbox 360 exclusive games including Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Gears of War 3 and Forza 4.

At the same time Microsoft issued a press release, detailing the games due for release for Xbox 360 over the next 12 months and reiterating its promise to have the number one game console worldwide.

At the event Eurogamer caught up with Chris Lewis, vice president of Interactive Entertainment Business for Microsoft Europe, to find out exactly what being number one means, to ask whether Nintendo's Wii U, due out next year, was a threat to the Xbox 360 - and to put to him all those juicy next Xbox rumours.

Eurogamer: Microsoft has been clear in its intent to have the number one console worldwide with the Xbox 360. How do you define number one?

Chris Lewis: Our global ambition for number one status requires us to be number one in Europe. We enjoy a very strong position in North America. In Japan, it is a challenge for us, but it's a market we continue to invest in. But Europe is the region that has to move into number one status in the aggregate.

We're already number one in a number of countries around Europe. UK is a good example of that. We've always held a very strong position there. But given the textured nature of Europe, our ability to apply the marketing focus, retail strategy and partnership strategy as a one size fits all approach in Europe, isn't and hasn't been sufficient for us to get number one everywhere.

We're getting way more targeted in the way we approach markets. In Germany this coming year, for instance, we're going to spend a considerable amount of money in the media. That isn't something we've done in previous years. We've invested very deliberately in Germany. We think with Kinect and what it brings us as an opportunity, it's a great time for us to really pump adrenaline in the arm of the business here in Germany.

So, tons of things happening. But yes, you're right, number one status is the ambition. We love the success so far. We've got 55 million people with Xbox 360s out there. I don't break out Europe specifically but I'm sure you're fairly clear on how those numbers pan out.

Microsoft aims to have the number one console worldwide.

Eurogamer: So when you say number one you mean sales?

Chris Lewis: I mean purely install base with consumers. We don't count units unless they're actually out there and installed. This isn't shipments. This isn't revenue. This is install base of consoles.

Eurogamer: How does that goal tally with the Wii, which is on a 77 million installed base?

Chris Lewis: Yeah, it's a big number for us to run at. There's no doubt. But install base is one element of it. It's not everything. We also overlay our share of the third party ecosystem of software and our share of the way we attach games. We enjoy a healthier attach ratio than anybody out there right now. Something like 10 games get attached in the UK for every console, for example.

So when you overlay those metrics and, recognising that we may not be number one in every country in Europe, in the aggregate we have number one ambition.

Eurogamer: You mentioned Japan. We've heard rumours that the Xbox 360 is suffering a difficult time there. Are you pulling out?

Chris Lewis: No, of course not.

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Wesley Yin-Poole

Wesley Yin-Poole

Editor  |  wyp100

Wesley is Eurogamer's editor. He likes news, interviews, and more news. He also likes Street Fighter more than anyone can get him to shut up about it.


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