Despite Microsoft’s assertion that it has "broken industry models" by stealing control of the current generation five years into its life cycle, EA boss John Riccitiello says that the Xbox brand is not yet able to stand toe-to-toe with Sony’s PlayStation.
"I think that Microsoft has done great work the last couple of years, and they’ve made a lot of smart moves: hitting pricing when they needed to, the right combination of hitting price points and disk drive sizes that allow them to hit price points that matter, and they’ve done a great job with Xbox Live," he told Industry Gamers.
"At the same time, the Xbox brand, the Microsoft brand, doesn’t carry anywhere near as much sway as the Sony and PlayStation brand do outside the United States.
"I think the reality is the international marketplace is just so important and it’s a natural advantage that no matter how good Microsoft is at growing their business, Sony has an almost-impossible-to-supersede head start.
"In the last couple of years, Sony’s sharpened their marketing message, you know, ‘the platform with everything’. They’ve actually gotten past simply Home as an online connected system for them. While I’m not sure that one would compare them in depth and breadth and features and support to what you have at Xbox Live, it’s good now."
However, that’s not to say that Riccitiello think Sony hasn’t made any mistakes.
"We have a similar share on both platforms – it’s not that I wouldn’t want to criticize one of the other; I’m not shy. I just think they’ve actually both done a pretty good job," Riccitiello added.
"The big disadvantage Sony carries is they have an expensive platform because of Blu-ray, so they have a harder time hitting price points. Microsoft has taken advantage of that and their online service, which really is the gold standard. Sony has [leveraged] their limited amount of unique content really well. They’ve done a nice job promoting the Blu-ray, their advertising and marketing campaigns have been stronger, and they’ve done a nice job of supporting some EA content to their own advantage.
"I don’t know that you’d point to either of them and say they can’t shoot straight or that they’ve given it up."