In his keynote on the second day of the DICE Summit in Las Vegas, Microsoft's Peter Moore, the corporate vice president of the Interactive Entertainment Business in the Entertainment and Devices Division, was tasked with talking about Microsoft's renewed attention to the PC market in his speech 'The Changing World Of PC Games', something most recently exemplified by the announcement that Halo 2 is coming exclusively to Windows Vista.
Windows Vista, Moore asserted is not a mere operating system, but a genuine platform, and must be supported as such. This was followed by a technical demonstration of the Windows Vista platform, and its exploitation of the DirectX 10 technology. But the Microsoft VP was particularly keen to leave attendees with something to reflect upon.
"We are an interactive medium that is far superior today than TV and movies and music", he commented. "The fact that Hollywood’s greats, whether it’s Spielberg with EA, whether it’s Peter Jackson getting involved with King Kong, are recognizing what our medium stands for."
|Microsoft's Peter Moore|
He continued: "We’ve gone from DOS all the way to the twenty-first century. One of the things I want to encourage everyone to do is, and certainly at Microsoft Game Studios, we take this very seriously, is drive the industry forward in the revolution. I’m very concerned. We’re still too reliant on sequels. We’re still too reliant on formulaic gameplay. We’ve got to be able to drive the user experiences. It drives the industry forward."
Moore stated that the industry is not taking risks. "We’re getting more like TV and movies a little bit, in that we’re taking that formula. We’re bringing people sequels one and two and three and four", he raged.
Now You See The Xbox 360?
Elsewhere in his speech, Moore commented in detail on Microsoft's next-gen console, suggesting of the severe and actually continuing Xbox 360 shortage, suggesting: "Within the next four to six weeks, anybody will be able to walk into a store and buy an Xbox 360."
Microsoft is now focusing on a target of 4.5 million to 5.5 million Xbox 360 consoles by the end of the fiscal year in June, after its initial 90 day target of 2.75 to 3 million consoles shipped appeared out of reach, mainly due to unspecified manufacturing slowness.
In addition, Moore revealed that there have been around 2 million Xbox 360 Live Arcade downloads thus far, and the average conversion rate for games is 20 percent from demo download to game purchase, with Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved reaching a spectacular 36 percent conversion rate.
This is a gigantic figure (admittedly spurred by hardcore early adopters) compared to the conventional 1 to 2 percent for PC casual titles, and bodes well for the future of online downloadable content for consoles, for which Sony is rumored to be adding similar functionality to a relatively robust PlayStation 3 online platform.
|The conversion-happy Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved|
But it was particularly in inspiration to developers that Moore returned, calling on attendees: "There is no reason we need to recycle our talent. Many of you have created the most interactive, immersive, and intense content ever, for any medium. When you think of all the first person shooters and role-playing games, in particular, action-adventure games. All of the things that we’ve done. We’ve created these genres."
While he encouraged the audience, as developers, he also promised that he would also push the envelope, and think outside the box. "As a platform holder, Microsoft takes that responsibility very, very seriously. You’re going to see us do more and more. We’ll continue to build and innovate."
In conclusion, Moore stated: "And I look forward to working with everyone here. You have my commitment, and I hope I have yours."