Microsoft's Chris Lewis • Page 2

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

Eurogamer: What are the challenges you're experiencing there?

Chris Lewis: It's a challenging market. We are up against very strong competition there. All our competition is strong. We're very respectful of what Sony and Nintendo do and where they've come from and what they bring. Nintendo, particularly with the Wii, has opened up a market opportunity there. We've leapfrogged that handheld technology with Kinect. What we're seeing is users love using their own body without worrying about how to work a controller. So we see ourselves as, frankly, a company that does bring an awful lot of firsts, and we've enjoyed fabulous success with Kinect.

Japan remains important to us. We're very committed to that market. The development community there is very important. Tokyo Game Show will be a notable element in the year, as usual. But I'm focused on EMEA. I'm measured on our success here in Europe, so I'm pretty fixated on what we're doing here.

Eurogamer: How important are exclusive Xbox 360 games and exclusive DLC, such as the Call of Duty map packs, to the business?

Chris Lewis: They are important. DLC windows of exclusivity are critical for us for differentiation. We'll continue to bring those exclusives through our own studio work, with Gears and Forza and other titles.

But we're also pretty confident the cross-platform experience is better on Xbox. We enjoy great success with Call of Duty. Live is the oxygen that runs through our business. The experience users have through Xbox Live is a fundamental differentiator for us versus other platforms. FIFA is another one. Certainly here in Europe football is a religion. Our ongoing commitment to experiencing better and playing better on Xbox is partly a function of what we do with Xbox Live.

So, exclusive IP is critical, of course. You'll see more of that over time. You'll also see us, though, committed to working with people like EA and Activision on their cross-platform consoles to make sure they play better, and they integrate better across PC, phone and the console in a way other people's just simply can't.

Eurogamer: So where there are multiplatform games, you work with publishers to try to make the experience better on Xbox 360 than it is elsewhere?

Chris Lewis: Yes we do. That is important. We have good, healthy partnerships with all the publishers around the globe, now. Over the last 10 years those have developed and they like the momentum we have. It's hard to trivialise 55 million units out there. Everyone loves the install base. We did grow 20 per cent last year in Europe. We want to grow even more this coming year. If you think where we are in the life cycle, that's a fairly unusual ambition at this time.

Xbox 360 exclusive games due out soon include Halo HD, Gears 3 and Forza 4.

Our publishers, they see that. They see that ambition, and they know how much money we're going to spend. They know the depth of the partnerships. They love the technology. And they understand we want to differentiate ourselves through DLC or the beauty of the integration across the different device types that we have and are uniquely placed to be able to offer versus our very good quality competition.

Eurogamer: What is the policy regarding multiplatform downloadable games? Do you have a policy to make sure that downloadable games released on both platforms are at the very least launched on Xbox 360 at the same time with feature parity, or you won't publish them on Xbox Live Arcade?

Chris Lewis: Yeah, as you can imagine, we focus on that. We're a little biased, so obviously we're going to look to protect our own space as best we can and get exclusivity. Whilst I can't be specific about the terms and conditions, you can be very confident we seek to maximise our own advantage to ensure the playing field is even, and certainly plays to our advantage wherever possible.

As you can also imagine, our partners have to be mindful of the relationship they have with all platform holders, and they need to be equitable. But there are contractual situations where we get agreement with different people to do different things, and through what we have available on Xbox Live, we are able to offer things other people can't offer, that allows that exclusivity and unique elements to it that might not otherwise be available elsewhere.

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Wesley Yin-Poole

Wesley Yin-Poole

Deputy Editor

Wesley is Eurogamer's deputy 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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