Microsoft's Don Mattrick • Page 2

On why he thinks 360's going to beat PS3.

Eurogamer: You're expecting to have an event then?

Don Mattrick: Yeah, we're going to have an event another time of the year that'll go deep on Halo and I think it'll be well-attended and people will enjoy it and be able to interact with the products in a more intimate setting than the E3 briefing.

So that's what we're going to do and I think we're smart. I had so many people come to me and say "look at that, that's a measure of growth and maturity of Microsoft - the fact that you have the best show, the best collection of products and you didn't even have to show Halo". So what a wonderful position to be in.

Eurogamer: What else can you say about the Halo game, because it wasn't announced but everyone now knows about it?

Don Mattrick: Yeah, well, look, it's not a surprise to people that there's more Halo products in development, right? Again, number one product of 2007. So there's an ongoing work-stream with Bungie and with others - we've got all kinds of new things in development. It's awesome, it's highly anticipated, it's friggin' Halo! People love it, right? I can't say a lot about it.

We're going to create an opportunity where people can interact with it, we think it's going to be super high quality, super fun, super innovative; it's the easiest thing for us to message, so stay tuned. There's lots of good news on that.

Eurogamer: I suppose the thing with that is that Bungie was clearly quite pissed off...

Don Mattrick: You kidding? I talked to Harold myself last night.

Eurogamer: They did say quite clearly that they were disappointed-

Don Mattrick: Sure they're disappointed. Any software creator would be disappointed. Harold just laughed and he said, "Boy, just a sign of growth inside the business, we agree," and I actually think too, again, we just have so much news with playable software, with dates, with things for people to touch and interact, we probably had too much stuff. We've had more than a year of productivity since the last E3. [Editor's note: Since this interview was published, Bungie has contacted Eurogamer to present its side of the story. Ryan has said: "I certainly didn't agree with the decision to delay our news until sometime after E3."]

The funniest quote I heard was someone say, "Yeah that's true, how do you think about it?" and I say I think our team showed up for work every day, had more than 12 months of productivity, and it kind of feels like the competition took an extended holiday and didn't get as much done as a result. I like our show and I like what we achieved.

Eurogamer: Did you catch the other conferences?

Mattrick won't say much about Bungie's new Halo game, but he does say it will be "super high quality, super fun, super innovative".

Don Mattrick: Absolutely.

Eurogamer: What did you think?

Don Mattrick: I thought ours was the best for the reasons that I said. Again, I personally...Some of the things we'd seen before.

Eurogamer: Quite a lot in Sony's case.

Don Mattrick: Yeah, with no new detail. I think videos have a place, but I think the people travelling want to see real stuff, want to get a chance to interact and use it, so we received a lot of compliments for that.

I think Nintendo's doing a great job with youth. I think they've got a couple of flagship Nintendo products that consumers are going to love. I think that they have a different usage pattern. Our core consumer, I think, is the most sophisticated media consumer on the planet. The 18-26 year-old gets to try everything, they have their own discretionary income, they spend 2x the amount of time on our products relative to competition - the study came out just the week before - they influence their younger siblings and they influence their older friends and family members.

So hey, everyone's got to have a vision, pick a place, build an audience, pay homage to that audience, and bring new forms of entertainment, new events to grow the business - and I think we did the best job of staying true to being aware of our core consumer and showing new things, and not doing it at the expense of the core consumer.

It was a good show for us and again kudos to my team, they got more than a year of work done, and I hope the other guys got some great pictures when they were away on vacation.

Eurogamer: You certainly closed a lot of gaps in the product portfolio - the Avatars, You're In The Movies, Lips - products that...I wouldn't say they're derivative, because you can't claim Sony invented karaoke, but...

Mattrick (jokingly) claims ownership of Avatars based on his work in the '80s, and argues the Xbox Experience interface revamp is unprecedented.

Don Mattrick: Oh no, let me put you right on that - I'm claiming ownership of Avatars for the whole industry. I did 4D Boxing in the '80s, so I was the first guy to ever do a 3D game with the human figure, I worked on The Sims with Will Wright, I worked on Ultima Online.

Here's the humour. Watching the briefing, someone beside me joked about one of the companies that we should send them a cake with a card saying, "Welcome to 2002. You've got identity, you've got billing now. Woo."

What we talked about is the natural evolution of what we pioneered, what we invested in, what we staked a claim to well before others were even thinking about it. And with that identity, with the Avatars, not only did we make it as a way to see yourself as you move through the community and interact with people, we also showed a whole new type of experience with 1 vs. 100 where that Avatar goes into the game, it's on-screen, it's either the one, it's the 100, it's part of the audience, you win real prizes.

Eurogamer: One of the other things that stands out is the ongoing rumours about a motion controller. We sort of know that Sony is doing one, and obviously Nintendo's whole business is predicated on one. Do you have anything to say about that? Do you want to say anything about that?

Don Mattrick: Nah, I mean, look, what we want to talk about at E3 is we want to have primarily a holiday 2008 focus. Things that were coming to market in that timeframe had a lot of feature discussion. We had some stuff that's coming to market early in 2009 - that seemed reasonable and the right thing to do.

As you know, my background is as a creative and technical leader - we've got all kinds of cool things in all parts of our business in pre-production. We never comment, we never talk about speculation. What I want to do is build things that are amazing at their core, have excellence, and let products speak for themselves. So that's where we're going to stay - the speculation game just isn't a smart one.

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Tom Bramwell

Tom Bramwell

Contributor  |  tombramwell

Tom worked at Eurogamer from early 2000 to late 2014, including seven years as Editor-in-Chief.


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