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Lewis: 'No one can touch us online'

As new, non-gaming services launch on Wii, PS3 and 360, the Xbox Europe chief backs Live "innovation"

With the Big Three all hyping new online services for their home consoles, no longer is it all about the games. But Microsoft believes last week's Xbox Live update, coinciding with 360 hitting 10 million sales in Europe, shows "no one can touch" the company's online offering.

Speaking exclusively to GamesIndustry.biz in London last week, Microsoft EMEA vice president Chris Lewis claimed his firm's Autumn update - bringing Last.fm, Twitter, Facebook and Zune Marketplace to 360 - showed the company's ability to "reinvigorate the system... in a way that nobody else can."

"No one can touch us in terms of developing that service, completely reinventing that service in the way that we did last year with the New Xbox Experience update last November," he said.

And Lewis believes this validates Microsoft's oft-stated strategic focus on software and services in the current hardware generation, adding: "That was not predicated upon a new piece of hardware. We're able to deliver that kind of innovation via our Xbox 360 service without troubling the consumer in any way."

The launch of the new Live services, which followed the addition of Sky TV content on 360, comes as Sony last week launched its PlayStation Network Video Store and Wii followed PS3 in hosting a bespoke version of the BBC's popular iPlayer.

Lewis said hitting 10 million sales on the continent had given Xbox "critical mass" and "a large and broad footprint right across the region".

"Our games undoubtedly look better and play better on Xbox 360," he insisted. "We're the only console growing year-over-year in 2009 and we offer now fabulous value in terms of what we're bringing to consumers.

"We think we're in a fantastic position in the seven to eight weeks through Christmas and beyond."

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Johnny Minkley

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Johnny Minkley is a veteran games writer and broadcaster, former editor of Eurogamer TV, VP of gaming charity SpecialEffect, and hopeless social media addict.