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Microsoft: Too Early To Declare a Winner

| 21 May 2008 16:30
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Microsoft's Shane Kim says that despite the enthusiasm of Don Mattrick, it's still too early to call a winner in the console wars.

Earlier in May, Mattrick, Microsoft's senior vice president of interactive entertainment, claimed Microsoft had sold more than ten million Xbox 360 systems in the U.S. and said, "History has shown us that the first company to reach ten million in console sales wins the generation battle." But in an interview with Wired.com, Kim, in charge of Microsoft Game Studios, said the battle wasn't over.

"We've always known that we weren't going to win in Japan, right?" Kim said, discussing the worldwide viability of the platform. "And I think we can build a very good business, an exciting business with a pretty big installed base with success in places like North America and Europe. Even though you may not think it's big numbers, we're actually strong in Latin America as well. Canada's been a big market for us as well. So there are ways to get the scale."

"Now, if you don't get ten million units in Japan, can you get 100 million units overall?" he continued. "I'd love to get 90 million units and have that problem. That's what we're really trying to focus on. I think it's way too early to declare a winner. Some guys were trying to declare Nintendo the winner of this generation last night."

Kim said it would take numbers approaching 100 million units sold to declare victory in the marketplace, which he admitted was a long way off. "This is only the third year of our existence and only the second year of Sony and Nintendo's existence," he said. "Are we just amusing ourselves by trying to declare a winner and loser while the customers are still out there deciding?"

While many analysts believe Nintendo's Wii console is poised to claim the crown in this round of competition, it may not be as relevant as it has in the past. Colin Sebastian, an analyst with Lazard Capital Markets, recently said that while the Wii was set to pass the Xbox 360 in market share, "In this cycle we see the potential for three healthy console platforms, unlike the PS2 dominance last time around."

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