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Harrison: consoles still "generate the majority of the money" for industry

Also, could we see the Rift on Xbox One?

Microsoft's Phil Harrison has said that he still sees consoles as the industry's main business, producing the majority of revenue.

Speaking to CVG at Gamescom this week, Harrison defended the console market as a viable ongoing business, showing unsurprising optimism in a sector which has been marked as declining by many proponents of social, mobile and free-to-play.

"Well the Xbox 360 continues to make a profit, and we hope a substantial contribution not just to Microsoft but to the industry as a whole," Harrison explained. "There are various stakeholders who are publishing, developing, retailing, distributing, manufacturing - there's still a very substantial economy around the console business, and it still generates the majority of the money in the computer games industry.

"Hardware is a significant part of that, and it's significant because of how much consumers spend on Xbox Live and the amount of games people spend every year. We see games with multi millions of unit sales going on for a very long time."

However, he was unwilling to put into black and white the issue of whether the 360 had made or cost Microsoft money over its lifetime. Instead, he pointed readers to the press releases and financial statements of his corporation, whilst simultaneously acknowledging that the company chooses not to fully delineate fiscal figures for the console arm of its business.

"We don't break down the specifics, but if you look at Microsoft's public statements you can see a lot of details about our business, and that would be the only place where you would get the facts."

After a punishing schedule of presentations, interviews and interrogations, it's perhaps understandable that Harrison is a little cagey with his answers, but a response to one question in particular might give Microsoft fans a more positive spin - Harrison seems to think that there's no reason to rule out the Occulus Rift coming to the console.

"Yeah there's high-speed USBs on the back of the console that allow for high-speed data transfer, and our platform is designed to be open and extendable," Harrison mused, before adding that "we have no particular plans at the moment."

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Latest comments (12)

Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game3 years ago
Bruce, that report compares Google Play to gaming handhelds. It makes no mention of home consoles?
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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 3 years ago
@ Andrew Goodchild
I know.
But everyone here goes on about what a huge success the DS is. The commercial reality is somewhat different.
And belies the title of the article.
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Show all comments (12)
Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game3 years ago
I would suggest though, that an MS executive may not care about handheld consoles, they shelved their plans for one in 2007/2008.
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Steve Goldman Journalist. 3 years ago
Handhelds are where the majority of my money go. They are also where the quality is. Along with consoles
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Daniel Hughes Studying PhD Literary Modernism, Bangor University3 years ago
@ Bruce

The 3DS is a successful machine. Not as wildly successful as the original DS, sure, but still a successful machine. It'd be interesting to compare those current iOS/Android figures to DS/PSP revenue figures during their peak years, and see exactly to what extent mobiles have increased the amount of money in portable gaming, and how big Sony and Nintendo's comparative shares are now. It seems obvious that Sony have been hit harder by the changes in the market than Nintendo, and if I'm not mistaken, early data from 2007/2008/2009, charting the growing impact of iOS in North America, indicated that this was so: DS held steady into 2010, while PSP dropped off rapidly as iOS grew.

It'd be more interesting, and relevant, Bruce, if somebody could compile figures across the entire industry, and then we could see just how much money each segment is generating now.
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Caspar Field CEO & Co Founder, Wish Studios Ltd3 years ago
Seemed to me that 3DS and Vita (plus the tailend of DS/ PSP) doing a full quarter of the revenue that's generated by hundreds of millions of iOS and Android devices was a quite remarkable achievement. What's the revenue per-device? That might be an interesting metric.
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Tom Keresztes Programmer 3 years ago
But everyone here goes on about what a huge success the DS is. The commercial reality is somewhat different.

Apple sold more than 300m iOS devices (ipad+ phones) and that moved twice as much the 32.48m 3DS users moved.

Another point : it reports indexed consumer spending, but in what measurement units? Revenue or unit sales?
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Keldon Alleyne Handheld Developer, Avasopht Ltd3 years ago
Apple sold more than 300m iOS devices (ipad+ phones) and that moved twice as much the 32.48m 3DS users moved.
Tom, mobile phones have always sold in much higher numbers than handhelds.

Mobile phones are essential for communication, it's what allows us to be a highly connected society. It's a part of every day life, not primarily for gaming. Also devices like iPad are being used for general entertainment. Gaming is just one form of entertainment. It would be like comparing general purpose entertainment devices with dedicated cameras. I'm sure more people have iPhones than camcorders, but the comparison in numbers is irrelevant, they are in a completely different market that just happens to have higher associated numbers.

So the comparison has absolutely no relevance other than pointing out the obvious: communication devices are important to every day modern life, and general purpose entertainment devices appeal to more people than dedicated devices, such as Kindles.
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David Serrano Freelancer 3 years ago
He chose his words very carefully. He claimed consoles "still" generate the majority of the money... not that consoles "will continue to" generate the majority of the money for the industry.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.3 years ago
It should also be noted that the handheld figures do not count digital download sales, only retail.
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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development3 years ago
I think the addition of the word "still" shows he knows which way the wind is blowing.
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