Microsoft: New console generation can grow market by 30%
Support for Xbox 360 will continue for "multiple years" says Lewis
Microsoft is predicting that the new round of home hardware - the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Wii U - will help the overall console market grow by 30 per cent.
The current generation of Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii have sold over 253m units combined, with the Wii leading the pack at close to 100 million and the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 almost neck and neck.
"We've already got meaningful marketing plans for the next 12 months for Xbox 360 and beyond"
Chris Lewis, Microsoft
"This generation 7 that we're in right now, it's 50 per cent bigger than generation 6 and I think double the size of generation 5. Our anticipation is that generation 8 will be at least 30 per cent bigger still," Chris Lewis, Microsoft Europe's VP of Interactive Entertainment told GamesIndustry International.
The current generation has played out much longer than the previous. The Xbox 360 originally launched in 2005 and the PlayStation 3 a year later, with Sony continuing to bang the drum for a ten year lifecycle. Lewis added that it was right to support the hardware, updating the systems, adding new services and software as formats matured.
"There is a strong trajectory there," he said. "I think people liked the length of the generation. Our partners certainly did. Retail loved the length of the generation, at least in terms of the attach and the additional services and content they can attach. Our developers like the longevity of the platform because they get better at bringing and optimising content for that platform."
When the Xbox 360 was introduced to the market, Microsoft and its partners quickly dropped support for the original Xbox. That was in contrast to Sony's shift from PlayStation 2 to PlayStation 3, which still saw continued support for the PS2, from best-selling and critically acclaimed first-party titles, as well as big franchise hits from EA, Activision and THQ.
Now Lewis has suggested that Microsoft hopes to take a similar approach and will continue to support the Xbox 360 despite the release of the Xbox One later this year.
"Xbox 360 will continue for another multiple-year time frame," he told GamesIndustry International. "We've already got meaningful marketing plans for the next 12 months for Xbox 360 and beyond.
"Our third-party publishers will bring more content to it, because the installed base is so high," he added.
Interview conducted by Jeremy Parish, Games Editor at USgamer. USgamer is an upcoming consumer website published by Gamer Network and launching in early June, and will be located at http://www.usgamer.net.