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Microsoft: "We're no longer just competing with console companies"

By Matt Martin

Microsoft: "We're no longer just competing with console companies"

Wed 21 Nov 2012 6:41pm GMT / 1:41pm EST / 10:41am PST

Microsoft Game Studios now "multiformat" according to new VP Phil Harrison

Microsoft's VP of the Interactive Entertainment Business, Phil Harrison, has acknowledged that the company's internal development studios are no longer competing with just traditional console manufacturers, but web and tech companies including Google and Apple.

Speaking at the London Games Conference this evening, Harrison said that his game development teams are now multiformat studios, working not only across Xbox but Windows 8, Surface and mobile devices.

"Our competitive landscape includes the likes of Google, the likes of Amazon, it includes obviously the likes of Apple"

"We are now really a multiplatform studio," he told the audience. "We are not just building games for Xbox 360, we're building experiences for smart glass, we're building dedicated games for Windows Phone 8 and for Windows 8."

Around 30 titles released for the Windows 8 launch period were developed in-house at Microsoft Studios, according to Harrison. Thinking multiformat at Microsoft is part of a wider remit at the corporation, he said, pulling other developments such as cloud computing into the entertainment business.

"We think this expands our competitive map," he said. "We're no longer just competing with the traditional console companies, but our competitive landscape includes the likes of Google, the likes of Amazon, it includes obviously the likes of Apple."

"We think that's great. We think it's good for us, we think it's good for the industry and we think it also moves us into this network generation more aggressively and with more determination. And this is in turn powered by the cloud, and this is another corporate investment that Microsoft is making the future of how technology and devices interact. We think of Microsoft as now being a devices and services company.

"There isn't an organisation that embodies that strategy more precisely and concisely as Microsoft Studios inside the interactive entertainment business."

He also went on to shed some light on the recently announced tablet and mobile phone studio in London, headed up by former Rare developer Lee Schuneman.

"We are trying to build a new kind of studio," he said. "We describe it as being a 21st Century studio.

"It will not make retail products. It will be making products largely based on the Windows 8 platform and technologies. And it's more about exploring new business models and pioneering new ways to play on devices that we think are going to be powering the future of our industry over the next five or ten years. We're hiring from the console industry, the web 2.0 industry and from the online gaming industry."

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