Innovation & Design

Kevin Bachus on Next-Gen Console Wars


Former Microsoft exec Bachus, who was part of the team that proposed the original idea of the Xbox to Bill Gates, said in an opinion piece for MCV, "...I believe that regardless of who comes out on top this time, the margin will be the closest it's been since the heady days of Nintendo and Sega. And as always, the winners will be the consumers and the publishers."

While most can acknowledge that the gap between the winner and loser will be slimmer than the previous generation, industry figures and the gaming public alike have to wonder if the Xbox 360 can possibly topple the juggernaut that is the PlayStation brand.

"360 still has a chance of winning the next-gen battle, but it’s far from a certainty," Bachus conceded. "If our industry's brief history has taught us anything it's that there are no set ‘laws’ regarding console adoption - despite what the manufacturers might claim."

He continued, "This generation will be decided not on production capabilities or on technology, but on brand, price and content. If Sony can leverage its brand, aggressively cut prices on both hardware and software, and deliver just a few platform-driving franchises as they've done in the past with Final Fantasy, GTA and others, they can quickly reverse Microsoft's early lead."

Concerning the hype surrounding the online capabilities of next-gen consoles, Bachus speculates whether or not online features are really that important to consumers.

"Sony is clearly playing catch-up in this area, but it's unclear whether online is the console purchase driver that Microsoft believes it to be. There seems to be a growing awareness that bad behavior of online gamers has become an impediment to online gameplay."

Bachus also commented on the PS3 delay and worldwide launch announcement, saying, "I think that Sony really had no choice but to announce a global release for PS3."


Steve Ballmer, Power Forward
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