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Thompson: Home delay is "disappointing"

Microsoft's Neil Thompson has told <i>GamesIndustry.biz</i> in an exclusive interview that he feels Sony's delay to the Home project is down to the company underestimating the challenges of the platform.

Microsoft's Neil Thompson has told GamesIndustry.biz in an exclusive interview that he feels Sony's delay to the Home project is down to the company underestimating the challenges of the platform.

Thompson, senior regional director for the UK and Ireland at Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices division, said he was disappointed in the delay, but dismissed the idea that a lack of price cut had played into Microsoft's hands in the run-up to Christmas.

"Well, what they announce at TGS and what they decide to do in any given market in time are not necessarily directly aligned, I think. But Sony will be doing things between now and Christmas I'm sure, they can't afford not to really, given the way that that particular business is going for them at the moment."

"But I think one of the disappointing/interesting things I heard from them at the Tokyo Game Show was that they just delayed the [Home] online service delivery again. That's more interesting, because I think they underestimated how challenging it is to deliver this sort of service, and to deliver the elements of the service that consumers really want."

He went on to question whether or not the final product would be quite what Sony had hoped for originally.

"It would be good to see the reality versus what they had on the blueprints - what they wanted to deliver against what they can actually deliver, because I know they generated a lot of interest based on what they said last year."

When asked about the new rumble-enabled Sixaxis controller, Thompson felt that Sony was forced to release products early in order to try and counter the progress of the Xbox 360.

"I think when I went to E3 two years ago, and they were showing a lot of their first PS3 stuff there, it felt to me like they'd rushed a lot of things out because they felt the momentum on 360 was growing at a rapid rate, and they felt they had to come out with something early."

"I think it's fair to say that over the last 12 months or so, it's becoming more and more apparent probably to the market, and Sony are a bright bunch so they'll understand this, but there are certain aspects in the way that they're offering the product out that aren't resonating enough, or perhaps they've inbuilt too much cost in things."

He pointed to Nintendo's work in the area of the original Sixaxis' main selling point, motion-sensing, and praised the way in which the Wii design approached the market.

"Perhaps where Nintendo really did a very clever thing, they went for quite simple innovation, but it was aligned to where certain broad-range consumers' demand was. That's always the tricky thing with technology - not finding out what's technically possible, but what technology consumers will actually want and desire."

In the full interview, Thompson also discussed the success of Xbox Live, the challenges of Japan and other Asian markets, and the forthcoming launch of Marketplace. Part one of the exclusive interview will be available on GamesIndustry.biz from Monday.

Phil Elliott avatar

Phil Elliott