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Y Control: Joe Ybarra On Cheyenne Mountain's Massive Plans
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Y Control: Joe Ybarra On Cheyenne Mountain's Massive Plans

March 24, 2008 Article Start Previous Page 4 of 6 Next

So if you do any console type stuff, if online it's a prerequisite for your games, how would you be able to tackle the handhelds, which have much more limited online capability?

JY: From my perspective, I think the problem is more of a business and a relationship problem than it is a technology or content problem. If you look at the way, as you just described, Nintendo works, is different from the way Microsoft works with Xbox, which is different from the way Sony works with PS.

From a business standpoint, the deal-making, the infrastructure that they supply, the rights that they're willing to let you have, the profit margins that are available, et cetera. I think that's the biggest hurdle we have, because we can completely build the products for these platforms, and we can completely build a product to fit the needs of these customers, but trying to make money at it is the next trick.

Yeah, it's true. And especially when the online infrastructure is not very streamlined. Like, again, when I was talking to Min, one of the major things: how do you put money in the game?

Like, through a console, what is the interface for spending money in the game? And that is an issue that some console makers are better equipped to handle than others. I wonder if that's going to be a big factor for online console games, going forward.

JY: It certainly is. I think there are additional hurdles there, too, because in addition to just capturing the revenue -- which is what you're articulating -- how do you protect kids from spending money when they shouldn't be?

Again, it goes back to the visibility. How do you convince somebody that has a lot of choices on Xbox Live that your product would be the one that they play, versus something else, and so on? I guess the point of this conversation is, we've got a ways to go here before we figure all this stuff out.

Right, yeah. There's a lot of that that I've been thinking about. There's been some talk about the potential for a single console instead of the fractured environment that we have now, and it seems like it would be very difficult to make yourself known withing the existing models that we have.

If everyone is competing in the same space -- and you see it on a small scale, like Xbox Live -- it's really hard to see what can rise to the top, and to make your product known, if you can't do it directly in the service itself. So, yeah, I've been thinking about it for a while.

JY: You know, we have a model already that exists, that works: It's about brand. And the model that I'm articulating is Blizzard. You know, Blizzard has achieved, over a long period of time, a consistency of performance.

Every time they produce a product, the customers now have an expectation for a quality level... and they've been consistent about it. They deliver every time. So after a decade of doing this, now if Blizzard were to say, "Now I'm going to put a game up," in anybody's faces, they have enough brand recognition that people would be willing to try.

The problem with a company like us is, you know, they achieve that goal over a long period of time. We're just getting started, so I'm thinking, "Oh my God, is it going to take me ten years to establish a brand that everybody really believes in, and wants to use the products on?" And maybe it will.

I think that that's one of the ways that you overcome this issue. You know, there are other ways to do it as well, but as far as a model is concerned, we look at what they've accomplished, and said, "Wow, it would be really great if we could do that, too."

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