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MS exec questions long term potential for Nintendo Wii

Chris Satchell, general manager of Microsoft's Game Development Group, has questioned whether the Wii has got what it takes to keep gamers' interests in the long run.

Chris Satchell, general manager of Microsoft's Game Development Group, has questioned whether the Wii has got what it takes to keep gamers' interests in the long run.

Speaking in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Satchell said, "I think the Wii is of interest, I'm not sure what its long term potential is. It's a super-strong for Nintendo's first-party IP, but beyond thatâ¦

"I get that it is getting more developer support and that's good, but I just don't know if it's going to be that compelling."

The Wii hit UK shops earlier this month, racking up sales of more than 105,000 units over launch weekend. That makes it the fastest-selling home console in history, beating Xbox 360 - which sold 70,000 units in the first few days after its launch last year.

But according to Satchell, it's still to early to tell whether the Wii will be the winner in the end. "It's going to start very fast, it's a cool thing that's different, but Iâm not sure how big it's going to be in the long term," he said.

Satchell also questioned whether Microsoft's other rival in the console space is taking the correct approach when it comes to online services and user-created content, stating, "I donât think Sony has the right focus. I'm not even sure, looking at how they execute, that they even think that it's important.

"Like providing people with tools so that they can be creative; they certainly don't seem to do it in their professional space, so I don't really believe they're going to do it in other spaces."

He observed that it takes "many many years of technology investment and many tens of millions of dollars" to get an online service like Xbox Live up and running, adding, "They're not chasing a fixed target, they're chasing us constantly innovating.

"So I think that's where we do something different - we desperately care about the game development platform. How you enable the developers, how you give them a great software platform to build on. I don't think our competitors care in the same way; they have different interests," Satchell concluded.

Part one of the full interview with Satchell and Lionhead boss Peter Molyneux is now on GamesIndustry.biz. Part two will be published tomorrow.

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