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MS: PlayStation Plus "hasn't changed" us

"People value what we've done with Live."

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

Sony's new PlayStation Network premium subscription service PlayStation Plus has had no effect on the continued evolution of rival online service Xbox Live, Microsoft has insisted.

Jerry Johnson, general manager of Xbox Live Studios, told Eurogamer at the Edinburgh Interactive Festival this afternoon that PlayStation Plus "hasn't changed" Microsoft's £40-a-year online gaming service.

"We're continuing to look forward at how we innovate and smartly invest our resources and our focus related to Live. We're definitely not backing off of it.

"When you look at what we're continuing to put at the forefront as we talk about transforming experiences, it's Kinect and it's Live."

PlayStation Plus, launched in June with a £40-a-year price tag, provides paying customers with early access to games, demos and exclusive content.

Johnson said Microsoft's plans for Xbox Live are closely tied to the November launch of motion sensing add-on Kinect.

A new Xbox 360 software update, scheduled for release around the same time as the £130 sensor, will make changes to the user interface and incorporate voice recognition control.

"There will be a software update, a system update and a UI update to release things like the Kinect hub, the ability to navigate with both gesture and voice, the ability to be in party mode and be able to talk to your TV without having to wear a headset, these are all things that will be part of this release."

Johnson described Kinect's voice recognition feature as "extremely powerful".

"We might think it's cool to wear that headset, like we're on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise or something. My wife, she'll be like, do not ever wear that when we have company.

"This whole idea of being able to talk to your TV we think is going to be an extremely powerful thing."

Johnson is set to deliver a presentation at the Edinburgh Interactive Festival tomorrow entitled "Xbox Live – Transforming Entertainment".

In it he will reveal "aha moments" Microsoft experienced throughout the evolution of the ground breaking online console gaming service.

Speaking to Eurogamer, Johnson said the current £40 Xbox Live Gold member subscription fee has allowed Microsoft to invest in and improve the service.

"I've enjoyed the ability to continue to invest in what we're doing," Johnson replied when asked whether charging for Xbox Live was a bold move.

"You have to find ways to monetise any type of business, and it's either going to come from advertising transactions or subscriptions in our world.

"What we've seen is people value what we've done with Live. The business model, the commercial model that was set up around this was based on subscriptions.

"We have a responsibility to continue to innovate on it. Part of that comes from what we owe to the consumer. Part of it comes down to the passion and the people I work with on a daily basis want to continue to innovate on this as well.

"We continue to innovate because we can and we know the consumer wants it."

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