MGS Europe: Simultaneous releases would "shoot ourselves in the foot"

Microsoft Europe says that releasing games on PC and Xbox 360 at the same time would eat in to console hardware and software sales

Microsoft Games Studios Europe has said that while it continues to support the PC and Xbox 360 equally, consumers shouldn't expect to see hit titles released simultaneously on each format as the PC version would take away a significant portion of console sales.

As the company strives to sell more home consoles in Europe, releasing titles on both platforms would be damaging in European markets where the PC is the dominant gaming platform, said Peter Zetterberg, business development manager for MGS Europe.

"On a global scale the Windows Vista business is as important as our Xbox 360 business. But in Germany for example, we want more gamers to buy our Xbox 360,” he said in an interview published today.

"If we launch a game that is on 360 and PC simultaneously, we basically shoot ourselves in the foot by allowing the German market to choose to play the PC version – because they are more likely to buy that than spend their money on the Xbox 360."

"If we launched a Halo game on PC and 360 in Germany simultaneously, 80 per cent of sales would be on the PC," he added.

As part of the interview, Zetterberg also discusses Microsoft's observations on emerging PC business models, such as free-to-play, browser-based games and social networking titles.

"We need to not only do the big budget, big production value, global titles like Gears of War, but we also need to go with titles like World of Goo or Crayon Physics. Those are games that are made with an almost anarchistic approach to a business model," he said.

While smaller titles on there own might not provide a compelling business model, Zetterberg said that grouping projects under one roof might be a better opportunity for Microsoft.

"It's harder to go back to Microsoft Games Studios management and show them a smaller game and say 'we should do this.' But if you can find a business model that allows for a multitude of these independent games under an MGS flag, that's very interesting for us.

"The social networks are something that we are very, very interested in. If there's a gaming experience that you buy in a shop and through that you log in to a universe, not an MMO but a social network, where you play games, you meet, and interact – that's definitely something we're looking at," detailed Zetterberg.

The full interview can be read here.

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