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J Allard on Revolution remote

And disappointed 360 developers.

Xbox corporate VP J Allard has criticised Nintendo's "freestyle" Revolution controller, claiming that he had a similar idea which was rejected after consultation with gamers and developers.

Speaking to US website Gameinformer, Allard said the controller was "Well intentioned" but argued that he couldn't see it being used to play sports or racing games.

"I don't think most Electronic Arts games are going to be played with that thing, I think they're going to be designed for the classic controller," he added.

"Four years ago I wrote an email treaty and said, 'Why aren't accelerometers in remote controls? Why can't I scroll down my channel guide with a gesture instead of up, up, up, up?"" Allard revealed.

"We did a lot of research with gamers, talked to a lot of game developers and said, 'Should we put an accelerometer in there and do the tilt thing?' And there wasn't that much enthusiasm around it."

Allard did note that the Xbox 360 remote control features A, B, X and Y buttons, and confirmed that "You're going to be able to play casual games on Live Arcade with the remote control."

He also conceded that Nintendo could make good use of the controller in first party games, and that it could prove a hit with gamers as a result. He went on to praise Nintendo for its innovation, suggesting that Microsoft might also consider producing a simplified controller in the future.

"Remote control, that's great," Allard said. "Let's take it one step further and do a simple controller. We've talked about it. I like the idea."

But that doesn't mean Allard is sold on Nintendo's version - "I don't know if I like the implementation because it ain't my remote."

"How am I going to watch a movie on Revolution? Am I going to have a different remote than that or am I going to have to use the four colored buttons?"

Allard's comments suggest he is less keen on the Revolution controller than fellow Xbox VP Peter Moore - speaking to GamesIndustry.biz at the Tokyo Game Show last month, Moore said he wanted to "give kudos" to Nintendo, adding that he could see how the device might bring lapsed gamers back to gaming and attract new consumers.

Allard hit back at critics of Microsoft's decision to offer two versions of the Xbox 360 in a separate interview with Edge Online, claiming that the move will be welcomed by consumers.

"Consumers like choice, and it's a very pro-consumer move on our part," he told the website.

"You buy the Xbox 360 Core system, you can build up to the premium system and you won't be left out of anything along the way. You can pace into this however you want, unlike any of the traditional categories," he said, citing the iPod Shuffle as an example of a piece of technology that can't be upgraded - leaving consumers who want an iPod Photo "screwed."

"There isn't a game on 360 that you can't play without a hard drive, so I think that's a good thing for consumers. We've made a commitment to broadening the audience," Allard stated.

He went to concede that some developers may have been disgruntled to learn that not all Xbox 360 consoles would come with a hard drive as standard, telling Edge Online: " Sometimes doing the right thing means doing the hard thing."

"Are there developers who are disappointed? Yeah, sure... It was a difficult one. I was the biggest fan of the hard drive and its potential, but the problem is that we sold 22 million Xbox consoles and 5 million, maybe 10 million just don't care about it."

But Microsoft picked up the tab for those unused hard drives, Allard pointed out - which raised the question of who should pay this time around.

"We can either ask the gamer to pay for it, pay for it ourselves, or prove that there's enough value in it and have the gamer say 'I want to pay for it'," he said, adding: "I think that's the right model."

"You know, being first you sometimes get some crap, and we've had some crap," Allard concluded.

"But I think it's very pro-consumer and very pro-developer, and I think that in five years everybody will look back and say that this was a very, very good move on our part to launch worldwide and to have the flexibility for consumers to decide on their products."

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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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