Microsoft on the PS3 launch

Interview: "where are the killer games?" asks MS

Stephen McGill, Microsoft's head of gaming and Entertainment and Devises Division UK, speaks exclusively to CVG about the arrival of PS3.

With Xbox 360 and Wii already selling well across Europe, the obvious question is; has the PS3 launch come too late?

McGill: I think consumers are certainly going to see it as quite late and they've got lots of great choice already out here. I think the good thing is that they're actually here now; we've been waiting for them for quite a while and I think it gives consumers the chance to make an informed decision, because there's been a lot of hype and a lot of great demos. Now they can actually see the real thing and decide whether the £425 is worth it or not.

I'm feeling pretty good about where we are in the business; we've got a great install base, we've got fantastic membership on Xbox Live, we've got a portfolio that's unrivalled and I don't see that changing. It's a great position we're in and we're looking forward to continuing that position.

Do you think the average gamer will decide PS3 is worth the price tag?

McGill: I think there's certainly going to be a few people going out this weekend and buying it as a willingness to fork out that kind of money. If you look at what the difference is between the Xbox 360 and PS3 we're both big power-horses in terms of we've both got a lot of power in the box and we can both do amazing things.

Through us we're putting gaming in the centre and so games are part of everything we do, but we do do a lot of different things; you can play music, you can watch movies and look at your photos and stuff, which actually seems to be something that Sony is really focusing on - they don't seem to be focusing too much on the games.

So if you look at the early reports of people queuing outside of Virgin Megastore - there's another report in the paper today - they're already saying they've got 27 games that are already out but where are the killer games that will drive console sales?

With Blu-ray playback and a hefty hard drive, do you think PS3 purchasers get what they pay for?

McGill: I think it's incredibly expensive and I think that's certainly going to affect their demand. If you look at the difference between Xbox 360 and PS3 we've got a great portfolio, better than the PS3 has right now and we'll continue that.

If you think about service we've got Xbox Live and yes they've been doing but they've been doing online on PS2 for the last 4 years and haven't really got anywhere.

So really the big difference is Blu-ray and that's what you're paying for. I guess consumers have to decide if they're going to swap out their DVD collection and then go for HD movie discs.

Some people definitely want that but we don't think the masses will. Certainly right now the prices are geared to early adopters, so what we're doing with 360 is offering a choice to those people who want to make the leap into high-definition movies.

In the States we're already offering the choice of downloads so you can get tv programs and movies in high-definition straight down your broadband pipe. And as we see broadband around the UK and Europe now at 85 percent penetration and the pipes getting fatter and fatter, we'll be looking at how we'll be bringing that over to Europe.

So consumers have to decide if they're prepared to pay that money for technology they may or may not want.

The general consensus between retailers seems to be that there's plenty of PS3 stock for consumers to pick up. Is this down to Sony providing plenty of units or simply a low demand for the console?

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