Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer Says Xbox Isn’t Just for Games

17 Jan 2011 | Posted by

xbox 360 isn't a gaming machineWe’ve been grumbling and moaning around here since E3 of last year about the Xbox 360 and Microsoft’s seemingly all-in strategy with Kinect, but I think that we took solace in the fact that the 360 would remain a bastion for the hardcore in some respects even after Kinect sold 8 million copies this past holiday season. Our hopes may be in vain, however, as Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer recently spelled out the company’s long term plan in an interview with USA Today, citing how the Xbox 360 isn’t only made for playing the video games.

“Xbox isn’t a gaming console. Xbox is a family entertainment center. It’s a place to socialize. It’s a place to watch TV. We have Hulu coming. It’s the only system where you are the controller. Your voice, your gestures, your body.”

Mr. Ballmer goes on to say that while the Xbox has the 15 year old boy demographic nailed down, they’re searching for ways to expand beyond that, into the 15 year old girl and the middle aged market. Things like Kinect will go a long way towards that end, especially after the aforementioned sales bonanza which outstripped Microsoft’s own internal estimations. Sounds like the Xbox only does everything, right?

Mobile applications are also going to be a big focus for the software giant going forward as Steve Ballmer spent a lot of the interview talking about Windows Phone 7 and how most mobile devices are PC like in their processing power.

The main thing I take away from this though, is that the death of the “core” gamer is quickly approaching. While there is an E3 coming up that may be the final nail in the coffin, part of me hopes that there will always be another hardcore offering to appease us. After all, we did help get all these consoles off the ground. Any thoughts on Microsoft’s about-face in their attitude towards gamers? Resentful that they’d rather go after the casual market?

Source: USA Today

4 Comments »

  • SkubaPatr0l said:

    I’m interested to see their tactics for the teenage girl market. Never before have I seen a tactic other than ‘PINK!’ so it ought to be intriguing as to what method they’ll try this time. Twilight Kinect?

  • SK Beans said:

    I don’t think Microsoft is turning away from the core gamers at all. Just because the are acknowledging the fact that there system is getting a wider fanbase and they’re broadening their horizons, doesn’t mean they are turning their back at all. I think you guys have overreacted to the whole Microsoft and casual players thing ever since their E3 press conference. I agree with Ballmer, the Xbox isn’t just for games. It’s this media center now, and I recognized this fully the other day when I realized that for the past two months even though I’ve had my Xbox on nearly every day, I haven’t played a single game on it in about two months. I use it to talk to my friends and watch movies and tv shows through Netflix and Zune all the time, which shows me that obviously it’s not just a gaming console anymore. Just remember to keep an open mind, and just because there are others now enjoying what we have been for years, and Microsoft acknowledges that fact, doesn’t mean they are going to give us the finger and tell us to take a back seat. They saw Halo Reach’s NPD numbers.

  • Sean said:

    I think they do this for the press. Honestly, you cant kill the ‘core’ gamer. How can they? We pretty much run everything. Look at the numbers. The #1 game played on XBL is not Kinetic Animals. None of the top games or selling games are marketed at non core gamers. Sure if you are the Wii maybe, but not systems like the xbox. Shoot even the PS3 sees its big sells for ‘core gamer’ games. If you ask me, they want to pretend and make it seem like they are gunna branch out. They probably will branch out, but they will never, and as a business should never, try and cut out the core gamers. It would be a disaster. My worries would be that hardware and abilities would be pushed more for other venues rather than what is better for gamers. More aimed towards supporting things that games may not fully adapt such as motion control or voice control. The core gamers will always be there.

  • Julez said:

    c’mon, it’s Microsoft after all. Just look at Windows. Started off pretty stable, and as they made it’s capabilities broader, spread it too thin, the more problems started to appear. As the xbox starts to appeal to other audiences and their research and developments gets wider and thinner, the crappier all of it’s parts will work together. Luckily, it’s 3rd party devs that make the games, so hopefully there will always be “core games for the core gamers” made by the guys we trust.

    As for Kinekt or Hulu or Chatting on the fly from my iPhone with my gunfriends connected to XboxLive, I think a lot of us have the same feelings here: do not want.