Microsoft: The "X" Men

Microsoft: The

"'Eight years ago, when the group was first forming, many development teams questioned the benefit of having psychologists conducting user research on their titles,' Dan remembers, 'but our group has grown substantially over the past few years, which speaks to the importance Microsoft places on the work we do.'"

Spanner speaks with the psychologists at Microsoft whose serious business is making gaming fun.

Microsoft: The

"One thing these blogs lack is the full community aspect of blogging: namely, allowing comments. Would Xboxes put comments on each others' blogs? And what about if other machines began blogging, like our cars and refrigerators? I can see a flame war happening with the console system flaming the car when you drive away from home on vacation."

Mur Lafferty takes a hard look at the Xbox 360 ability to tell all in its own personal blog.

Microsoft: The

"'In entertainment, marketing and product development have to be completely hand in glove, because the entertainment experience starts at your first exposure and goes through the final credits, and your first exposure is usually via marketing,' he says. 'So, in my mind, that should all be one organic whole, right from the beginning, right to the very end.'"

Shannon Drake speaks to Jordan Weisman, founder of FASA, WizKids, 42, former Creative Director of Microsoft Game Studios and Alternate Reality Game pioneer.

Microsoft: The

"When Microsoft launched the 360 last fall, its executive team really didn't know that they would beat Sony's PlayStation 3 by a year. Now, as Microsoft enters its second holiday season, it has more than 160 games available, while Sony will struggle to get 22 out by year's end, and Nintendo shoots for 32 games on the Wii. Microsoft has a permanent advantage over Sony in this generation."

Dean Takahashi goes beyond the inside of the Xbox360 to look at the console's broader impact on the game space.

Microsoft: The

"'Rather than model itself around what we had done, our [culture] got forced into their model. ... We lost that special sauce that we had built.

'What Microsoft wanted was a culture, and what it ended up with was 40 very talented people, which are two different things.'"

For this article, The Escapist spoke with two men behind two companies key to Microsoft's dominance of the games industry. One was assimilated by the monolithic, monopolistic software giant, the other assimilated back. They speak to Russ Pitts about how Microsoft went "From Borg to Boss."