June 11th, 2012, 23:03 Posted By: wraggster
Microsoft executive Phil Harrison insists his new employer isn't leaving gamers behind in its bid to transform the Xbox 360 from a games console into a multimedia device, telling us he believes "gamers are going to be pretty well catered for" during the next 12 months.
Microsoft's E3 2012 press conference last week suggested that the company was more interested in playing up Xbox's new role as its all-in-one entertainment brand than as a games console. There was the announcement of the Spotify-rivalling Xbox Music service, the Nike + Kinect Training fitness software, and the intriguing, multiplatform SmartGlass technology.
Gamers felt rather left out, but speaking to us at the show last week, Harrison - the former Sony exec who joined Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business division two months ago - said the games shown on stage and the show floor proved that Microsoft still had gamer interests at heart.
"Game consumption on the console is going up," he said. "Entertainment consumption is going up, and is now higher then games, but games are growing as well. I have no concerns about what that means for gamers, whether they're core gamers or casual gamers or somewhere in between.
"This E3, we have announced that our top five franchises are all returning on Xbox 360 within the next 12 months, and I don't know of many times in a platform's history when that has happened, whether on Xbox or any other console.
"Halo, Gears Of War, Forza, Fable and Dance Central, all returning in a bigger, better way. I think gamers are going to be pretty well-catered for."
The suspicion remains, however, that E3 2012 was light on surprise new announcements because, behind closed doors, the industry is gearing up for the next generation of console hardware. Harrison wouldn't be drawn on whether there was ever any weight to claims that Microsoft had planned to unveil the Xbox 360 successor at E3 this year, but does confirm that the company has more in the works than it showed on stage.
"From a Microsoft perspective, I think we showed in a 90-minute press event a pretty good selection of the things we're working on," he told us. "But by no means did we show everything. Inevitably, there'll be new games available for next year."
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