Eurogamer: When you look at the success of the DS and the PSP, don't you wish you'd gotten in on the handheld market?

Shane Kim: I'm very happy we didn't get into it, because launching a handheld platform is like launching another Xbox 360. You have to be fully committed, as an organisation, from a resource standpoint, to doing that. Frankly we've got a lot on our plate with Xbox 360 and Xbox Live. We don't have any experience in that space. Our content assets don't naturally lend themselves to driving success in that particular market. So we're happy to let Sony and Nintendo slog it out. I do think mobile is probably the more important platform in the future, and the number of Windows mobile devices and hardware that's capable of running Windows mobile in the future is really a compelling opportunity, and one where we don't have to worry about launching a new hardware platform too.

Eurogamer: What about the rumours you're going to do a Wii-style motion-sensing controller?

Shane Kim: Just rumours, just rumours. We don't...

Eurogamer: Comment on rumour and speculation.

Shane Kim: See, the standard answer. No, what I would say is that we have a tremendous amount of R&D efforts going across the programme - not only in hardware but in content and the online services too. I'm very proud, actually, of the success we've had in the hardware, accessories and peripherals area. It's been a commercial success for us, a great business.

We've also had a lot of critically received pieces of hardware. So I think it is fair to say we're always going to continue to push our innovation in the hardware space, just as we are in the software space. But what form that will take, what technology that will really emphasise... I do think that would be a mistake, if we just tried to come out and copy what Nintendo has done. What Nintendo has done has worked well for them, but we have to think about what our innovation aspect is going to be.

3
Scene It's innovation was wireless controllers, says Kim.

Eurogamer: But you have been accused of copying in the past - at looking at others' successes...

Shane Kim: Where?

Eurogamer: With Scene It!, for example. Scene It! was a very similar thing to Buzz!...

Shane Kim: Sure, sure. I do think it depends on the category too. While I do think there's room for improvement and innovation and trivia-based experience, I do think there are some fundamentals of that experience too that are going to look very similar. The fact we included four wireless controllers in the box, I do think hey, that's somewhat innovative in that space. Now you don't have to deal with the rats' nest of the wiring.

In the future, I think online will be a more differentiating aspect for us. Each of the competitors has its own unique approach, and those approaches have strengths or weaknesses. Nintendo - physical play. Sony - emphasising Blu-ray. And for us obviously, it's online. I think online is going to be where you see most of our differentiation efforts emanating from, whether it's online experiences or continued distribution of digital content and soforth.

4
GTA IV. It seems to have done alright, but they don't like to shout about it.

Eurogamer: The Grand Theft Auto IV downloadable content is of course a big thing for Microsoft. But Sony boss David Reeves has said we'll see it on PS3 eventually...

Shane Kim: Really? Well, maybe he knows something we don't. Until I hear that from Take-Two I'm not going to believe anything that Sony says. We feel very confident in the exclusive content we're going to get for Grand Theft Auto IV. I think that's a big contributor to the inital success we're seeing on Xbox 360. The fact that almost two-to-one people are buying Grand Theft Auto on Xbox 360 versus PlayStation 3 speaks volumes. I think a large part of that is because they understand we're going to have additional content to complete the Xbox 360 later this year.

Eurogamer: You've also got a platform exclusive with Rock Band, at least for a limited time in Europe. There's been a big furore about the price - it's equivalent to USD 360 for us to get the whole kit. European gamers are saying, why are we being shafted here? Why do we always get things late and why are they so much more expensive? With Rock Band, there's a more than 100 per cent mark-up - how is that fair?

Shane Kim: Honestly, I can't answer that, it's not my product. It's distributed by Electronic Arts and best to ask them, because I don't know the answer.

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Ellie Gibson

Ellie Gibson

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Ellie spent nearly a decade working at Eurogamer, specialising in hard-hitting executive interviews and nob jokes. These days she does a comedy show and podcast. She pops back now and again to write the odd article and steal our biscuits.

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