On Monday, November 19, the LA Times ran an article featuring an interview with Robbie Bach, the 45-year-old president of Microsoft's gaming division. Bach comments on Xbox Live's performance and what the future holds for Microsoft's lucrative gaming service.
Back in 2002, Microsoft unveiled its ambitious online gaming service with the hopes of one day seeing millions of players subscribe to interact and compete online.
As of today, the company has realized its vision with more than 8 million subscribers, resulting in a steady and healthy flow of revenue. Never one to sit still, Microsoft continues to broaden its target demographic, with a quarter of its current subscribers being female -- a small yet significant improvement since its debut.
Currently, Live already offers popular arcade titles, game demos, TV shows and movies for download. In December, gamers will also have access to games from the original Xbox console, including hits like Fable and Halo (and much, much more).
Bach also told LA Times that Microsoft will be introducing new parental control features to Live...
"...such as the Family Timer that lets parents assign how many hours their kids can play on the Xbox 360."
Sony is attempting to squeeze in with its own online gaming service PSN (Playstation Network) on the Playstation 3, which currently has over 3 million subscribers of its own. PSN's revamp will be making its grand entrance next year, trademarked as "Home™." When asked about this, Bach dismisses the notion of Playstation's Home posing any sort of threat to Xbox Live:
"It's fair to say that Xbox Live is clearly head and shoulders above anything anyone else has tried to do. We don't have competition. Sony has done some things online, but nothing that can be called a service. We have a big advantage and we're going to keep pressing that advantage.
We have a very strong, very powerful computer network that provides the backbone for our service. We have game demos that can be downloaded, video downloads and game downloads. It's a broad cross section of consumer services. Perhaps the most important thing we have is over 8 million passionate members who create and define what Xbox Live is. It's a tough thing to create, and we're going to continue to nurture it."