Natal is obviously a much more inclusive
type of environment for players. How do you foresee Microsoft as a company
trying to attract people to it? Is the scenario: the box is in the home on the
back of the hardcore kid who bought it, and now the mom is going to be
interested in it? How do you see yourselves pushing that forward?
SK: All of the above. I do think that
today, obviously, given the core gaming base that we have -- we have 30 million
Xbox 360s out there today -- we've already seen this with NXE and Netflix, that
there's greater usage in existing Xbox 360 homes. Do I think it's helping sell
Xbox 360 more people? Absolutely.
But where we're seeing a lot of benefit is
in those existing homes, where we're getting great usage, and I do think that's
part of the reason why our Live membership has grown so much now to 20 million
In the future, as we continue to add more
content, we expand the social networking integration, and create gaming
experiences like Natal
-- based on Natal
for a broader audience -- I think you're going to see Xbox 360 become much more
appealing to a much wider fan base.
The social networking and the accessibility, it strikes me more as something
that would support people that came to the console that were more casual -- rather
than drawing them in, necessarily.
SK: That's right. You know, I'd love for
this to be the case, that people went out and bought a 360 and said, "I
did it specifically because I want to have the Facebook experience on my
television instead of on my computer." But the more that we add
functionality like Last.fm, like instant-on 1080p HD, and so on and so forth, I
think it really starts to make those kind of scenarios more realistic.
You look at what we're doing in the UK
with SkyTV. With Sky, we're delivering live television programming now over
Xbox Live, something we don't do in the U.S.
today. That's again another compelling reason why you might go out and buy an
Xbox 360 even if you're not a core gamer.
Will Natal be usable on arcade consoles that don't have a hard drive?
SK: Yeah, I believe that.
How far off is it? I'm sure there's no specific date, but you're showing it
SK: No. There's no specific date. It's not
in 2009, but we have delivered development kits this week, so it's more real
than not. That was not concept technology. That's real technology. We wouldn't
be able to send dev kits for partners if there wasn't anything to start building
So, there's still a lot of work for us.
There's no question about that. We feel really good about the progress that
we've made. We've been working on it for quite some time. Now was the right
time to unveil it to everybody, and I think the reaction that we received
validates that decision.
How does the marketing shift? It seems like it's going to aggressively evolve once Natal changes the situation. You and I
have talked about going after casuals before -- but this goes way beyond just launching Banjo-Kazooie.
SK: Oh yeah. It's going to be the launch of
It's going to be like a relaunch?
SK: Absolutely. It will be that big. Now,
the good news is that it's not a new hardware architecture; we're not forcing
customers to have to go buy a new console because it will work with every
existing Xbox 360 out there. But in terms of its importance and scale of what
we're talking about, yeah, absolutely, it will be like the launch of a new