MS confirms Xbox commitment

Bach says current gen will live on.

With the launch of the Xbox 360 looming near, Microsoft's chief Xbox officer Robbie Bach has spoken of the firm's commitment to the original Xbox platform - with software launches expected into 2007.

Speaking to our sister site GamesIndustry.biz, Bach said that "we're definitely going to ship Xbox hardware units into 2006. We've been very clear with publishers that we want them to do titles through 2006 and even into 2007."

He also revealed that Microsoft has been in discussion with key retailers to ensure that Xbox is not removed from the shelves to make way for the Xbox 360 when it arrives at the end of November.

"We're working with our retailers on shelf space, displays, and keeping interactives in stores," he said. "There are some space constraints but we'll manage around them - most of the retailers are actually expanding their shelf space, so I think that will be quite good."

However, Bach doesn't expect there to be any price drop to the Xbox in the near future, saying that the firm is "quite happy" with the level of demand for the console at its current $149 / 149 Euro price point.

He confessed that the Xbox hardware has never broken even over its lifespan, but argued that this has been something that Microsoft had planned for from the outset.

"We didn't design the hardware to be a break-even endeavour over the life cycle, we designed it to be the most powerful console, and to have an impact," he said. "We think it did that successfully, and it just required us to fund that. Now with Xbox 360 we have the opportunity to make that investment pay off. "

You can read all of Bach's comments in the second part of GI.biz's extensive interview with the Microsoft executive - or check out the first part, which was posted yesterday.

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