Interviews

Microsoft's Ryan Moore

We grill Xbox's worldwide product marketing manager...

It's a largely accepted fact that Microsoft's Kinect-dominated E3 press conference didn't exactly set the hardcore on fire.

Until, that is, for those final moments - when a 250GB Xbox Slim was (finally) confirmed, and a sigh of relief was emitted from 'Xbots' everywhere.

It's hard to deny Microsoft the claim of having a iron-strong hardware line-up moving towards Christmas - but what does the console giant have to say for itself on the matter?

We caught up with Xbox's worldwide product marketing manager Ryan Moore to find out...

Why did you feel the need to replace the Elite's two fans with one fan - and what's the instant benefit to the consumer?

When we approached the design of the new console, we took a lot of consumer feedback to heart. We know that we've had reliability issues. We know people want Wi-Fi; that they want it to be quieter, they want it to look sleeker. We made all those changes.

Adding Wireless-N, making it a quieter console, slimming it down a bit; people had asked us for all these things. It's not just about makig it smaller - it's about making it smaller and adding features. We've made it a better console.

Have you fixed the Red Ring Of Death? Do you have any stats to share on failure rate improvement?

I don't have any stats, but obviously it's something we have taken very seriously. The engineering teams have done a great job and we're confident that this console is of extremely high quality.

And more reliable than previous models?

Certainly.

What does Xbox 360 offer now that your competitors cannot?

One of our main focuses is HD video and HD video over Xbox Live. Adding Wireless N makes it easier for consumers to get that HD content from Xbox Live into their living rooms and the best way to do that is with Wireless N. That was something we had to adopt to stay ahead of the competition.

We were quite surprised to see so much Kinect at the MS E3 conference. Are you confident hardcore gamers will adopt it

Yeah. I think we know that hardcore gamers will be the first to go out and buy it, as they are with any product. So we know we have to have a wide range of experiences, from things like the animals game you saw today to... to... games that are more geared towards the core. So I would expect a wide range of products to be released this holiday.

At E3, Metal Gear Solid Rising was sandwiched between Kinect demos. Was that a deliberate hint? Is it compatible with Kinect?

I honestly don't know. I don't know if that was inspired timing or incidental timing.

What about pricing of the Xbox 'Slim'? Will we see a similar price in Europe to that you've announced in the US?

In the States, the [250GB machine] is $299 - the same pricing as the current Elite. We're actually dropping the price on both the Arcade and Elite by $50.

In the States, that translates to $149 and $249 respectively. The currency translations are math I can't do in my head right now, but you'll see an equivalent drop in Europe.

Were you at all influenced by Sony's Slimmer PS3?

I think the decision to do this was made before their announcements last year. It's part of the natural generation of a console to refine the components and make it sleeker and quieter and all that. I wouldn't say it was directly related [to PS3 Slim].

We've had a few comments from CVG readers saying they were disappointed with what you showed for the hardcore at E3...

I think [our E3] was a great show for all consumers. With the announcements around Halo: Reach, Gears Of War, Fable III - this would be a great year even if we didn't have the launch of Kinect.

So we've got a great core line-up, along with all the exciting new experiences we're delivering Kinect. This leads us into a great year ahead.

Do you think that Kinect will lead to more Xbox 360 exclusives - particularly from third parties?

It's hard for me to say, but it is a technology we're very excited about and that we think can drive the industry forward. Hopefully we'll do that through some exclusive titles.

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