Former Xbox Executive on All Things Xbox

Robbie Bach, former Chief Xbox Officer and Microsoft President, recently discussed the failures, successes and strategies concerning the Xbox division, which includes the preventable and predictable launch of the Xbox One, Microsoft’s eight-generation console. Bach was questioned about the policies and public relations missteps of Microsoft made with the Xbox One and under the leadership of Don Mattrick, the former Xbox boss. Bach said that in his opinion most of them could have been predicted and prevented. Nevertheless, he added, the console had managed to leave all its problems behind as it continues to gain volume and share.

He said that the most exciting part was the fact that the console market had expanded and was bigger than before. This has enabled, both Microsoft and Sony, to sell a greater number of units. The Xbox chief pointed out that people believed the console market to be dead and were wondering why Sony and Microsoft were making more consoles. When questioned about the future of console gaming, Bach asserted that he believes another generation of consoles will be launched. He said that it will be a whole new world as hardware developers are considering whether physical media is used by consoles and if they need to be traditional ‘game boxes’.

As far as the overall success of Xbox is concerned, which go back to the launch of the original Xbox console in 2001, Bach said that it was able to gain traction in the market because of three reasons. First was the fact that Microsoft had remained persistent, which may not have been logical, but it paid off. Second was Halo, which people forget as the game’s first version didn’t support Xbox Live as it wasn’t in existence when it was shipped. Last, but definitely not the least, Xbox Live had turned the tide for the software giant or the console could have failed.

According to Bach, the losses made because of the original Xbox were somewhere between $5 billion and $7 billion and this is without factoring in the $1.5 billion write-down made for the ‘Red Ring of Death’ problems associated with the Xbox 360. Current EA COO and former Xbox head had also discussed the RROD situation recently. He had worked under Robbie Bach, but he credited Steve Ballmer, then CEO, for saving the Xbox brand by giving his approval for the $1.5 billion solution to the problems of Xbox 360.

Lastly, Bach also said that it had been a good decision on Microsoft’s part not to make a handheld for the Xbox One as that would have entailed doing a hundred other things and it was not possible at that time. It was a good thing because the market eventually went away, according to Bach. In recent news concerning the Xbox One, details about backward compatibility was revealed by Microsoft at the E3. Current Xbox Boss, Phil Spencer also said that Microsoft needs to do better in Europe where PlayStation 4 is winning the console war and discussed the Kinect.