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Microsoft promises biggest year yet for Xbox 360
Microsoft promises biggest year yet for Xbox 360 Exclusive
March 2, 2012 | By Christian Nutt

March 2, 2012 | By Christian Nutt
More: Console/PC, Exclusive, Business/Marketing

"2011 was our biggest year -- the biggest year in Xbox history. So we're feeling fantastic. We want to continue to build on that momentum," says Steve Beinner, Microsoft's director of global marketing first party games.

"Without a doubt, I can tell you that 2012 can be a bigger year, and will be a bigger year, than 2011," he says.

The Xbox 360 accounted for "nearly 40 percent of annual 2011 new physical retail sales across all categories," said NPD analyst Anita Frazier this past December.

Beinner spoke to Gamasutra at Microsoft's Spring Showcase 2012 event in San Francisco, where the company showcased first party titles such as Halo 4, and third party titles such as EA/BioWare's Mass Effect 3.

"We want to be the home of interactive entertainment," Beinner says. Microsoft wants to make sure it delivers "content you can play with your friends that's easy to access."

While Beinner wouldn't be specific about how much longer the Xbox 360 will be a driving force for the company, he did say that there's "a lot of life left in the Xbox 360" and he teased that new IP for the platform will be revealed later in the year.

"It's early in 2012 and we're just peeling the curtain back, but stay tuned," he says.

He offered no comment on a potential price drop for the system.

"We look forward to continuing to build on the momentum we have and continue the strategies we have," said Beinner.

These strategies include continued support of its Kinect motion controller, which has an install base of 18 million units -- both as the primary controller for exclusive games, and in concert with controller-based games.

The peripheral is something Microsoft is "committed to and very proud of," says Beinner. When it comes to marrying it with traditional controls, he says, "the opportunities for us are big in 2012."

The company is also "committed" to improving the Xbox Live service, he says. "You see us doing things on the Live service to keep the development community engaged -- doing things to update the service, to continue to serve up new and unique content."

He sees Xbox Live Arcade moving into a role where franchises can be extended, such as the recently-released Alan Wake: American Nightmare.

"Giving them the right tools to continue to be innovative and creative, rather than saying, 'Hey these are the kinds of games we are looking for'," says Beinner, is how Microsoft views its relationship with developers. This strategy extends to Xbox Live Arcade, packaged games, and Kinect, he says.

"There's no one specific kind of developer" the studio wants to work with, Beinner says. Microsoft Studios is "very committed to innovation on the box."

Speaking of Microsoft Studios' overall strategy, he says, "We're very proud of our IP and we have some of the biggest IP in the industry."

"It's all about quality; it's never been a game of quantity versus quality."

"First party's role is to really be pioneers," he says -- to "really be a showcase for what the platform's capabilities are."

"That's the way we look at it," he says: "showcases for what the platform's capable of."

And he's not really worried about franchise fatigue for Halo, either, with this year's release of Halo 4, which follows the Anniversary edition of Halo 1 from last fall and Halo: Reach before that.

"I really love the Xbox lineup that we're bringing," says Beinner. "I think gamers want great games."

Gamers, he says, thus won't get tired of high quality content like Halo 4. "It's in the game -- it's a matter of delivering a blockbuster game, which the team is doing."

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Leon Jackson
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I love my 360 but why don't people get real with MS. The 360 is selling the most in a declining market and to make matters worst their hardware sales are inflated by NPD counting consoles given away for free with PC sales. It's nice PR for MS , but really it is a small victory considering how much they sunk into the Xbox consoles for them to keep coming in 2nd place.

It will be great if it all pays off for them next gen , but as Sony and Nintendo have already learned momentum doesn't always translate over.

kevin Koos
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"but really it is a small victory considering how much they sunk into the Xbox consoles for them to keep coming in 2nd place."

I dont get what you are saying? They have been in first place for a long time, and they account for over 40% of the total market REVENUE then any "free" console would not be included. Its a "declining" market because the Wii went from record selling to not selling at all, xbox had its biggest year in sales in its seventh year on the market which has never been done. Now I am pretty tired of this generation over all but have to give msft credit on this one.

Leon Jackson
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Kevin, they get credit for finishing a strong second place. There is still about 30 million units in the install base between 1st place and 2nd.

"xbox had its biggest year in sales in its seventh year on the market which has never been done."

A lot of sales achievements have been reached this generation and I just wouldn't put taking 5 rather mediocre years to reach 2 years of good sales as a really good one. Its an unusual thing to happen , but this a been a rather unusual generation. Its better than have an entire mediocre run like the PS3, but not better than having explosive sales out the gate and ending at a normal decline. Maybe its better for PR statements, but not overall profits for the generation.

Harlan Sumgui
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Yeah, and don't forget the cablecos giveaways (36 month contract, free xbox woohoo).

If someone really really wants to win the next console war on day one, pay to make COD: The Next Generation an over.

k s
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Sad but true, CoD as an exclusive would win hands down.

Bob Johnson
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Is it me or did this article not say anything?

Heng Yoeung
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"I think gamers want great games."

sums it up. Really? Nah, I want crappy games. Please.

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Bisse Mayrakoira
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And here I was thinking the Microsoft rep would say, "Yeah, we're wrapping this 360 thing up, it's pretty much done. Don't expect much from here on out."

Aside from the mention of Microsoft hinting at a new IP, which would have fit in one short paragraph, this reporting is completely useless.

Geoffrey Mackey
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I'm very concerned about the MS first party status. Halo is coming, and I'm sure someone is working on a new gears, but the one thing I really like when I got an Xbox was so many exclusives. They didn't get the credit they deserved, but Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey were probably the best RPG's released on this generation. Also during that time Mass Effect and Bioshock were both exclusive. There isn't much I can't find on the PS3 now. I understand this is a new age where games cost incredible amounts of money, but they are not doing enough to build new IP's. I really think MS needs to rethink their first party strategy.

Eric Geer
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^I was thinking the same thing.

'Speaking of Microsoft Studios' overall strategy, he says, "We're very proud of our IP and we have some of the biggest IP in the industry."'

I read this and thought "....Halo and Gears.... ..... ..... .. . . . . ."