Microsoft’s 10m challenge

Aside from the rumours of a handheld, there were arguably low expectations of Microsoft’s E3 revelations, with 360 having been on sale for five months already.

However, the media conference saw a keynote from Bill Gates, the announcement of the Live Anywhere service (which connects Xbox, PC and mobile) and key software deals on the next Pro Evolution Soccer and GTA titles.

Plus, there was the small matter of Microsoft throwing down the gauntlet to Sony and Nintendo, claiming that it will have shipped some 10 million 360 units by the time rival consoles hit the market.

“We’re so buoyed up by people’s reactions about what we’re saying and what we’re doing,” Xbox Euro boss Chris Lewis told MCV on the first day of the show. “We’re very confident about the position we’re in and that’s vindicated by what we’ve got on the stand here and what we’ve announced. Without doubt, the word ‘momentum’ has to be up there with what we’re proud of."

“When you think about us having 10 million units out there before the competition even arrives, that speaks of our trajectory.”

Achieving that 10m milestone will not, however, be underscored by any price cut, said Lewis: “We have no plans to make any price adjustment. The last couple of days have reinforced the fact that we have a great value proposition, giving consumers choice, thanks to the core system. We’re not forcing the consumer down a route with HD playback. We certainly don’t think it’s necessary to make any changes to the current price point.”

Meanwhile, despite some journalists’ insistence ahead of E3 that a handheld announcement was near, Lewis – and other senior Microsoft execs – have denied any imminent move into the space.

“We’re pretty focused on what we’re doing now,” he explained. “We’ve got quite a lot going on. It’s a hugely significant time for us and for gaming in general. We don’t have any plans to do anything in the handheld space. What we see as important is convergence and what we’re doing with Live Anywhere presents a huge step forward in terms of being able to experience the games on the device of your choice.”

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