Sony's announcement that the PS3 will launch around the world in November will not divert Microsoft from its strategy to win the next-gen console war, according to General manager of Microsoft Game Studios Shane Kim.
Speaking at the New York unveiling of Rare's Viva Piņata, Kim spoke of how Microsoft was currently leading the next-gen battle and that Sony will have to fulfil a lot of promises before it wins gamers over with PS3.
"I have a philosophy: Leaders don't react," said Kim. "For us, Sony's announcement doesn't change anything. We've had a very clear strategy for a long time now and we're not going to change that. We're not going to react to anything that they do."
And Kim told us how he felt the pressure was on Sony to prove that the hype surrounding PS3 is not all just smoke and mirrors. "I think it's a good thing that they're finally starting to reveal more," he said, referring to Sony's recent silence as the proposed spring release date of the PS3 gave way to November. "They've made a lot of promises and people want to know what's happening with PS3"
Referring to the infamous PS3 'unveiling' at last year's E3, where several concept videos of alleged PS3 footage were shown, Kim stuck the knife in further. "We didn't want to go out to E3 and show a bunch of rendered videos that wouldn't necessarily reflect reality. Sony has created that expectation and we'll have to see if they can deliver on it."
He also feels that the Xbox 360's head start of a full year before the PS3 launches will cause serious problems for Sony. "We'll be in full supply of Xbox 360s shortly, we've got great content on the way, and we've got fantastic third-party support. If Sony happens to stumble - and we know first-hand that there are a lot of challenges in a worldwide launch - then we'll be in an incredibly strong position to take advantage."
And after the Xbox 360's problematic launch, which saw severe stock shortages and shipping problems, Kim feels that it will be difficult for Sony to follow through on a global release. "They said they'll launch worldwide? We'll see if they can pull it off. It's very challenging."
As for the coming E3, Kim told us that Microsoft doesn't feel it has to compete with Sony for the biggest announcement. "We'll have real content at E3, real games that people can go out and get their hands on."
But that doesn't mean that Microsoft won't have anything big to shout about. "Of course, there are strategic announcements in our game plan and if we've done it right they'll have some impact on Sony. But we're not sitting down and thinking, "Okay, what's the best way to hurt PS3?" We'll do things our way, Sony will do it theirs, and the customers will decide."
Shane Kim also talked at length with us about Viva Piņata and Microsoft's desire to go after the younger gaming audience, the possibility that Halo 3 won't be seen until 2007 and some interesting ideas for the future of Xbox Live. You can read the full interview right here shortly.