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MS: Xbox exclusive games, DLC "critical"

Explains how it secures exclusive content.

Exclusive games and downloadable content are "critical" for the Xbox 360, Microsoft has said.

Exclusive content - even if it's only for a set period of time - is crucial for differentiating the Xbox 360 from the PlayStation 3 and Wii, Microsoft's European boss Chris Lewis told Eurogamer.

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

Microsoft has throughout the Xbox 360's six years of life been active in sourcing exclusive games and DLC from third parties.

The exclusivity window of Grand Theft Auto IV expansions and Call of Duty map packs in particular have helped Microsoft generate more money from Xbox Live transactions than subscriptions.

In addition, Microsoft actively works with publishers to try to make multi-platform games better on Xbox 360, Lewis said.

"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."

Lewis said Microsoft uses the Xbox 360's 55 million installed base and the Xbox Live experience to convince publishers to get on board.

"We have good, healthy partnerships with all the publishers around the globe, now," Lewis said. "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.

"Our publishers, they see that, they see that ambition, 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.