Kim: Mid-tier publishers are struggling

Xbox boss prepares for "tough times" due to current economic pressures

Microsoft's Shane Kim has said that the company is planning for "tough times" as the economic climate continues to toughen around the globe.

Speaking to Reuters, Kim said that mid-tier publishers are already facing difficulties in the market, adding that even marginal growth next year could be seen as a success.

"There are a number of mid-tier publishers behind the Electronic Arts and Ubisofts and Activisions of the world who are struggling."

"Who knows, maybe flat performance will be considered a remarkable achievement," added Kim. "It's difficult to predict the future."

The vice president of strategy and business development said that he was "cautiously optimistic" of Xbox success during the current Christmas shopping season, but expected 2009 to be a harder year.

"A big objective for us is to deliver most entertainment value for the dollar," he added.

On a creative note, Kim said that he was pleased to see the return of small team success in games, as developers take advantage of opportunities via digital downloads, and is keen to see more product that is less generic.

"That would be a good thing... because one of the challenges the industry has had, in my opinion, over the last five to 10 years is a growing reliance on sequels and licensed properties as opposed to those new creative hits.

"If we can find those nuggets that start smaller and can grow into big hits, that's a great thing."

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