Saturday, May 5, 2007

Wii: "Actually Not A Great Product" says Microsoft

In an interview with EWeek, president of Microsoft's Entertainment & Devices Division, Robbie Bach, laid into Nintendo, explaining just where he thinks the Wii fits in with the next-gen gaming crowd.

Asked if Nintendo was causing disruption for Microsoft, Bach said that while the product has "gotten more broad-base acclaim" than he would've expected, it has only one specific appeal - the controller - "And the rest of the product is actually not a great product—no disrespect, but … the video graphics on it aren’t very strong; the box itself is kind of underpowered; it doesn’t play DVDs; there are a lot of down-line components [that] aren’t actually that interesting."

Bach's rant continues...

"Nintendo has proven it can produce some decent software offerings which take true advantage of the controller, but the challenge, according to Bach, "is that third parties aren’t going to make much money on this platform because Nintendo is going to make all that money, and their ability to compete with something like a Halo or produce an experience like Madden on their system is going to be tough. They don’t have the graphics horsepower that even Xbox 1 had. So it makes sort of the comparison set a little bit difficult."

Asked whether he feels Nintendo is a fiercer competitor than Sony, Bach continued, "I think Nintendo and Microsoft are clearly in the driver’s seat on what’s happening in this generation. And they’re different driver’s seats. In a way, … our circle and Sony’s circle overlap I would say 90 percent. Nintendo’s circle and Microsoft’s overlap say 20, 25, 30 percent, something like that. We had people laughing and call it the Wii 360 because you already see a lot of dual-household ownership.

"But Sony I think has some real challenges," he said. "They’ve got a pricing problem, they have a cost problem, they have a content problem, and they don’t have an online service. But I’m just talking about the psychology of me doing an interview with you as a reporter coming in and not uttering the word Sony without me bringing it up."

I do love the way he couldn't help but bash Sony a little -yes, the Playstation Store is pretty bare at the moment but I think Bach is forgetting just how much clout Sony has in the film & TV industry, and what effect that might have on the future of content available to Xbox Live. Although Sony has been full of it in the run up to the PS3, I can't see them messing up the opportunity for content delivery that the Playstation Store offers to PS3 owners. Is this a case of the corporate willies? Paranoia for upper level MS management? Once you've sorted out the Xbox 360's notorious failure rate, then come back and bash the other consoles, eh?

Read the full interview here