Microsoft 'encouraged the console wars' to promote competition, says former Xbox exec
Former Xbox executive Peter Moore said Microsoft stoked the console war fires for the greater good
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👊 Former Xbox exec said Microsoft encouraged the console wars during the Xbox 360 generation
🥇 Moore said the gaming industry would be a poorer place without competition from Xbox
🫂 Things are more cordial between Sony and Microsoft these days
🪓 CEO of Microsoft Gaming Phil Spencer said he can’t wait to play God of War Ragnarok
Former Xbox executive Peter Moore has admitted that he “encouraged the console wars” during his tenure at Microsoft.
Even though the tribalism shown by some PlayStation and Xbox fans is largely frowned upon these days by both Microsoft and Sony, Moore spoke about how the Redmond-based company leaned into the rivalry during the Xbox 360 generation.
Speaking on the Front Office Sports podcast, Moore said:
“We encouraged the console wars, not to create division, but to challenge each other, and when I say each other I mean Microsoft and Sony. If Microsoft hadn't stuck the course after the Xbox, after the Red Rings of Death, gaming would be a poorer place for it, you wouldn't have the competition you have today.”
The “Red Ring of Death” was an infamous error message thousands of Xbox 360 owners experienced during the console’s lifecycle. It was caused by components cracking over time as the console heated up and cooled down when the system was turned on and off.
In Power On: The Story of Xbox, a six-part documentary that revisits how Microsoft established itself in the console space, Moore touched on how the Red Ring of Death was an expensive mistake for Microsoft. Moore said:
“By the time we looked at the cost of repairs, the lost sales that we factored in, we had a $1.15 billion problem.”
Moore gained notoriety for revealing Halo 2’s release date in the form of a transfer tattoo and also announced GTA 4 was coming to Xbox 360 in the same fashion.
Moore parted ways with Microsoft in 2007 and served as the president of EA Sports from 2012 to 2017. Moore later became CEO of Liverpool Football Club and is now the senior vice president and general manager of sports/live entertainment at Unity. He’s also worked at Sega and Reebok.
🤔 Is the console war over?
Unfortunately, no. You only need to visit any social media site to see that countless individuals still love nothing more than to deem one console better than the other. That’s fine when done in good humor or delivered constructively, but it often descends into needless name-calling, ridiculous comparisons, and misinformation.
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Over the last few years, Microsoft and Sony have distanced themselves from the console wars by actively complimenting each other on new game releases, great reviews, or impressive sales figures.
For example, CEO of Microsoft Gaming Phil Spencer said he’s looking forward to playing God of War Ragnarok on PS5 when it releases on November 9, which would have been unthinkable during the Xbox 360 and PS3 generations.
However, make no mistake – the two companies are still in fierce competition with one another, which is vitally important. The more Microsoft and Sony push each other to improve, the more consumers benefit.
Microsoft and Sony have adopted similar services or innovations that may have debuted on PlayStation or Xbox in the last few decades. And it’s why there’s no real winner when it comes to PS5 vs Xbox Series X. This constant battle to be the best results in greater games, fairer pricing and contributes to the video game industry's success as a whole.
If Sony, Microsoft, or Nintendo were to drop out of the market, gaming would be a poorer place, just like Moore said.
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Yeah, two things that drew me to The Shortcut are the neutral-ground support for all platforms, and the sense that patient persistence makes its own luck with hard-to-find technology. Matt's invaluable data on Target's restock strategy (down to the minute!) enabled a real-life episode of pure joy, back in January: in-store pickup, carrier drop-off, next-day PS5 delivery for my sister. Heroic Uncle achievement, unlocked.