Microsoft steps up family focus

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reports that Microsoft is looking to compete much closer with the Nintendo Wii and its wider, family audience by creating more family-focused video games, according to a story on the Dow Jones Newswires.

The story mirrors comments made by Euro Xbox boss Chris Lewis to MCV.

In a bid to raise 360 sales further, Microsoft Asia-Pacific’s Alan Bowman said the company plans to cater for different age groups, naming cartoon-based titles and word-puzzle games as specific types of new titles the firm wants to introduce.

"A key strategy for us is to give broad choice for people. You need to provide content which broadens your base of users from core gamers to different age groups," said Bowman.

"We’re doing a lot in broadening the content for the Xbox 360."

UK studio Rare is key to the push, he added, saying the studio was already developing new games for wide audiences.

"Now they’re starting to produce games with very, very broad appeal," Bowman said. He added: "If you look at Guitar Hero, it’s something which can be played by the whole family, by kids, males, females, adults.

Kids also love our Viva Pinata Party Animals game, so it’s games like that."

Analysts that spoke to Dow Jones said the strategy was a clear bid to compete with and copy the Wii, but that Microsoft might have to think about introducing its own new innovative controller in order to compete directly.

"Besides software, [Microsoft] also need a new controller. They need to change interface and offer a unique new hardware," UBS SEcurities Japan analyst Shunsuke Tsuchiya is quoted as saying.

Earlier this week, Microsoft Game Studios’ Phil Spencer told Develop that Rare’s work developing new games for Nintendo’s DS was helping the company learn design disciplines regarding the new installed-base Nintendo has built around its handheld and home console hardware.

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