The world's eyes may be on PlayStation this month, but it is Xbox that is on the cusp of becoming the UK's No.1 games console.
Xbox 360 has surpassed 8m UK sales and will overtake Wii in a matter of weeks.
A major push from a revamped SCEE team has seen an upturn in PS3's performance, but it's Xbox that has maintained market leadership. And now the platform holder is adding new faces to its team to ensure it stays there.
Ten years ago, to think we would be the leader in our second generation is a achievement,” said Microsoft regional boss Jon Grimes.
We have great people that have been with us a long time, and now it's about strengthening that team.
But what has got us to where we are today is not going to be what gets us through the next ten years. Now we've also got to start from scratch when thinking about the future. Driving creativity, whether around marketing, retail or new business models, is key for us.”
UK INDUSTRY IN A 'SPIRAL' OF NEGATIVITY
Xbox UK's team says the games industry needs to be more positive.
Retail boss Jon Grimes and marketing director Harvey Eagle believes
the negative press about video game sales are having a detrimental
impact upon the market, and that there are reasons to be optimistic.
I think we've got ourselves into a bit of a spiral,” said Grimes.
We've had some great titles over Christmas, but people were
picking out the negative parts. FIFA had its biggest year ever.
Skylanders was a wonderful success. That didn't tend to hit the headlines.”
Eagle added: The traditional life cycle of the console is changing.
The market is behaving as we would have predicted. We've had
great growth over the last four years. At some point
that begins to tail off and that should be expected.
It's not a sign of hardship in the future.”
The new Xbox team includes marketing director Harvey Eagle, who was promoted to his role late last year, and sales lead James Wareing, who joins from Nokia. A second sales lead – Anne Lipissier –will join next month from LG.
But does Xbox need to make a move to counter next week's PlayStation announcement?
Whatever gets announced on February 20th, the majority of UK consumers won't know,” Grimes added.
They'll still want to buy the devices out there. Our job is not to get lost in the industry chatter, but to ensure that the consumers going into stores, going online, still experience Xbox. The announcement is important for the industry, but it is also important to remember who is buying right now.”