It's a real pleasure to interview Peter Moore. He's the head honcho of Xbox 360, and unlike most high-ranking executives he's refreshingly frank and honest about his products - and of course his opinions of other people's products. So E3 was the perfect time to sit down with Moore again and get his views on all Microsoft's big announcements, from GTAIV and Halo 3 to HD-DVD and Live Anywhere. And we couldn't resist from asking a few questions about how he sees Sony's PS3 announcements, especially that price point...
It's the Xbox 360's second E3. How comfortable are you about what the console has achieved since you unveiled it last year?
Peter Moore: I'm feeling comfortable that we're delivering what we said we'd deliver. I don't think we've said we'd deliver on things that we haven't. Last year was tough for us because we took the high road and attracted a lot of criticism for showing off games running on alpha kits, but to me it would have been disingenuous to show videos of games we needed to ship that year. I haven't had the chance to go over to Sony's booth yet and see what they're showing, but I'm keen to get hands-on with Killzone 2...
You'll be lucky - it's not there
Peter Moore: Ah. What a surprise...
Speaking of Sony, they're promising a successful worldwide PS3 launch in November. Do you think they can pull it off?
Peter Moore: From our point of view we're totally focused on delivering supply and volume to retail because it's going to be another very difficult Christmas if we don't step up our supplies. Regardless of what people in Sony will tell you, they don't know what issues they're going to come up against before launch and it remains to be seen whether they can ramp up production to the levels they're promising.
I hope for the good of the industry that they can hit the volumes they've promised but that's a lot of units. They're going to have to get into production very soon, and with the complexity of Blu-ray technology and Cell technology and silicon yields they have quite a challenge. They'll figure it out, but it's not easy.
You've got a new tattoo: Grand Theft Auto IV. How important is it for Xbox 360 to have the new GTA on the same day as PS3?
Peter Moore: Here's the deal. We've done our research and that's told us that day and date is important for big third-party games. When we asked PS2 owners why they're going to buy PS3 the fact that they thought it would be the only place they could play GTA first came up a lot. That's empirical data. So neutralising that is very important for us.
Then when you start thinking about the fact that the Xbox 360 will be the only place to play Halo 3, Grand Theft Auto IV and Gears of War. That's how you switch people on a market share basis from one generation to another. But more importantly, on the Xbox 360 there will be exclusive downloadable content from Rockstar. If you think online is going to be important in the next few years, exclusive downloadable content is going to be even more important. Having someone like Rockstar on board with us and buying into our vision of the importance of episodic content like new maps, level, vehicles and so on is very important, as is having Grand Theft Auto IV available for Xbox 360 on the same day as the PS3.
Will Rockstar be offering exclusive content for the PS3 version?
Peter Moore: I don't know, you'll have to ask them. They won't tell me that, but how comfortable do you think Rockstar will be with the power and strength of the PS3 online network? What development environment are they working on and what kind of installed base are they dealing with? I can tell you that the guys at Rockstar are very smart and they haven't really had the chance to do anything with Xbox Live yet. That hurts them. People like Sam Houser and Terry Donavon are some of the most innovative guys in this industry and they really want to get connected to an online audience of millions.