Microsoft CEO: Xbox isn't a gaming console

By on January 17, 2011, 3:26 PM
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was recently interviewed by USA Today. As usual, Ballmer had some interesting things to say; here are what we consider the top three questions and answers:

Q: You sold 8 million Kinects over the holidays, more than you expected. What differentiates it from other gaming consoles on the market?

A: 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.

Ballmer has always insisted that the Xbox is an entertainment system, but the problem is that executives from Nintendo and Sony insist them same. Microsoft is a unique position because most people have a Windows PC in the house as well, but the company has not leveraged this as much as it could.

Q: But does the Microsoft brand resonate with that younger person who's looking at companies like Apple and Google thinking there is a so-called "cool factor"?

A: Maria, you go to your average 15-year-old boy, and he will say "I'll take an Xbox." I want that average 15-year-old girl as excited about the Kinect, and we haven't done as good a job drawing in that broader set of demographics.

The Kinect is definitely more consumer-focused than other Microsoft products. Ballmer has already said that PC support is coming. Here he's just reaffirming that the Kinect is Microsoft's answer to the Wii, and the casual gaming market in general.

Q: What has stopped you from making really bold bets on technology? You've got more than $40 billion on the balance sheet. If you want to have substantial market share in smartphones, why not just acquire Research In Motion, maker of the BlackBerry?

A: We've made bold technology bets. We've bet on the Cloud and our Enterprise business; it's going fantastic. We made the bet on Xbox; we made the bet on Kinect. We bet on Bing and are growing like a weed in that business. So I feel pretty good about the bets. When do acquisitions make sense? That's a complicated subject.

This directly addresses one of those rumors that keeps coming and going in the mobile industry. As analysts continue to flog RIM and Microsoft, some believe the bigger should buy the smaller, join forces, and essentially turn two smaller competitors into one bigger and better one. Ballmer isn't denying an acquisition outright, but he is denying that Microsoft purchasing RIM makes sense.





User Comments: 19

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madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

DERP DERP, XBox was and still s first a gaming console, then second a entertainment/multimedia platform. Only Sony (of the big three) can reasonably argue the entertainment system marketing, since when it came out it actually made more sense to buy a PS3 for it's web browsing, music/media playback, and relatively inexpensive bluray capability than it was to buy a standalone bluray player or a web accessible TV back when they came out. Now, not necessarily as much, but that argument can still be defended to some degree.

And Wii... well, I don't count it as an entertainment platform at all beyond it's games, even if they they can now stream netflix. It's a step too short too late in that regards. =/

Guest said:

Ballmer really does insist on consistently embarrassing Microsoft and tarnishing their image in every media appearance he makes. Why don't they hurry up and replace him already?

princeton princeton said:

What I found funny was them insisting that RIM would be bought out at all.

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

"family entertainment center" my arse!...When ours gave us "the finger", or the red ring of death as it was known, we had to think another game up.

As it happens, we only got four kicks out of it before it shattered into pieces...Boy i enjoyed them kicks!

Cota Cota said:

Anyhow, i still think PC gaming/media/social network/movies/etc/etc/etc are better.

Prosercunus said:

Why can they not just admit the Xbox 360 is primarily an gaming console? What is the harm? The Xbox 360 is great and is my second platform of choice (first being PC).

Guest said:

"like a weed"

In those three words I think Ballmer pretty much sums up Microsoft's place in the industry in these days.

Tizzlejack Tizzlejack said:

"Xbox isn't a gaming console. Xbox is a toaster. It's a place to make breakfast. It's a place to eat. We have waffles coming. It's the only system where you are the chef. Your bread, your butter, your jelly."

I like this one better

#makestuffup

Sarcasm Sarcasm said:

tizzlejack said:

"Xbox isn't a gaming console. Xbox is a toaster. It's a place to make breakfast. It's a place to eat. We have waffles coming. It's the only system where you are the chef. Your bread, your butter, your jelly."

I like this one better

#makestuffup

Wrong again. Real toasters don't get as hot.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Guest said:

Ballmer really does insist on consistently embarrassing Microsoft and tarnishing their image in every media appearance he makes. Why don't they hurry up and replace him already?

I am not interested in some strange outcomes of this interview, however, I know one thing, if you were half as smart as he is, you wouldn't be a guest !

ramonsterns said:

Xbox isn't a gaming console. Xbox is outdated hardware. It's a place to waste your money. It's a place to shred your disks. We have gimmicks coming. It's the only system where you have to buy a new one every year. Your money, your time, your space. All gone.

Guest said:

From WikiPedia "The Xbox is a sixth-generation video game console manufactured by Microsoft."

Yes X-Box, you are a gaming console.

Guest said:

THE XBOX IS NOT A GAMING CONSOLE. OKAY GAIS??????

It's a deep fryer they use at japanese restaurants that cook infront of you.

nismo91 said:

i got the xbox slim with kinect bundle, and the console gets pretty hot even in air-conditioned room. wonder how hot the non-slim version is.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Xbox hits the market, with Microsoft pushing it as the ultimate gaming console. Then the PS3 hits, and is pushed from day 1 as a media/gaming system. Now, Microsoft is saying that Xbox is a media system, like that was how it was intended from the beginning, and nothing has changed.

Microsoft pushes Office and its other PC-centric products, demanding high prices and scooping up gobs of money. Google and others start pushing "the Cloud" and Microsoft resists, often pointing out serious issues with Cloud-based products, and how superior their local products are. Now, Microsoft has made "bold technology bets" on Cloud computing, and is pushing it like it was their idea from the start...

Anyone else noticing a continuing comical trend here?

ddg4005 ddg4005 said:

I hate to break to Stevie boy but the Xbox 360 was, is, and will be-first and foremost-a gaming console. Its streaming capabilities are secondary not to mention is lack of a Blu-ray drive (which procludes the playback of said movies on disc).

Wagan8r Wagan8r said:

I miss Bill...

OUTLAWXXX said:

ddg4005 said:

I hate to break to Stevie boy but the Xbox 360 was, is, and will be-first and foremost-a gaming console. Its streaming capabilities are secondary not to mention is lack of a Blu-ray drive (which procludes the playback of said movies on disc).

um honestly though I don't care about blue ray... I just stream my shows IF i'm even gonna sit there and watch a show or movie... We need to just move on to digital distribution so we can always re dl them instead of trying to figure out if game crazy can buff the stupid DVD or if Comp USA will take it back and give me another copy ><

Doesn't matter how well you try to take care of them besides just not using the disc... they ALWAYS SCRATCH eventually

But seriously the xbox is a gaming console and so is the PS3 and my PC is the entertainment hub...

viperfl said:

When I think of an XBOX, I think of it as a gaming system. When I bought my XBOX, I bought it to play games. I didn't buy the XBOX to watch movies or browse the internet. If I am going to play a game like Halo, I am going to play the game the whole way through. Not going to stop in the middle of the game and say, "Excuse me, I have to stop so I can check the weather on the XBOX."

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