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Microsoft CEO insists that Xbox is NOT a gaming console



/ 6 years ago

USA Today had an interesting interview with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer who as always had an interesting take on things, especially when it comes to the Xbox. USA Today’s focus was originally on the Kinect which has to this date sold over 8 million world-wide.

Plenty of questions were asked, but the stream of conversation gradually fell into the direction that Microsoft’s Xbox is NOT a gaming console as one would expect, but is more of a family entertainment center.

The following were the main question asked to Ballmer, and the answers given:

  • Q: You sold 8 million Kinects over the holidays, more than you expected. What differentiates it from other gaming consoles on the market?
  • A: Xbox isn’t a gaming console. Xbox is a family entertainment center. It’s a place to socialize. It’s a place to watch TV. We have Hulu coming. It’s the only system where you are the controller. Your voice, your gestures, your body.

This is not exactly new news as other manufacturers including the likes of Nintendo insist that their console is the same, and is not in fact a console, but is a family entertainment center instead.

  • Q: But does the Microsoft brand resonate with that younger person who’s looking at companies like Apple and Google thinking there is a so-called “cool factor”?
  • A: Maria, you go to your average 15-year-old boy, and he will say “I’ll take an Xbox.” I want that average 15-year-old girl as excited about the Kinect, and we haven’t done as good a job drawing in that broader set of demographics.

CES recently showed Ballmer being really interested in Kinect and explaining that Microsoft shall be supporting Kinect for PC users in some shape or form.

  • Q: What has stopped you from making really bold bets on technology? You’ve got more than $40 billion on the balance sheet. If you want to have substantial market share in smartphones, why not just acquire Research In Motion, maker of the BlackBerry?
  • A: We’ve made bold technology bets. We’ve bet on the Cloud and our Enterprise business; it’s going fantastic. We made the bet on Xbox; we made the bet on Kinect. We bet on Bing and are growing like a weed in that business. So I feel pretty good about the bets. When do acquisitions make sense? That’s a complicated subject.

This leads to the age old ways of bigger companies buying smaller companies which is why the logical move would be for Microsoft to acquire BlackBerry manufacturer Research In Motion, but Mr Ballmer seems to have the theory set in place and we’re not one to tell him how to run one of the most successful businesses of all time.

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