Microsoft: â??Weâ??re investing to win in Europeâ??

Microsoft: â??Weâ??re investing to win in Europeâ??
Michael French

By Michael French

August 6th 2008 at 1:42PM

VP Gosen says format-holder will put more cash into dev relations and content deals

A confident David Gosen this morning told Develop that Microsoft is prepared to further invest in Europe to ensure Xbox rules the hearts of gamers – and developers.

In a keynote address at the Gamefest UK event, held at Chelsea Football grounds today, the VP of strategic marketing and Live outlined Microsoft’s new strategy for 360 and explained why the firm believes “Xbox is going to be the platform that wins this hardware generation”.

“We’re investing to win in Europe,” he explained while offering a whistle-stop refresher of the Xbox facts and features unveiled at E3 last month.

“We can do better and we’re incredibly well-placed to drive success in the region. We’ve got to make sure we tailor our resource needs to the games we are making.”

He added: “We’re going to invest in more ways than we have before.” That includes more cash supporting Xbox Live Marketplace and Arcade content deals, he said, plus more money to support internal and external studios.

Microsoft has appointed new account managers specifically for third party developers in Europe to liaise with – a first for the company which previously favoured US ‘ambassador’ account managers visiting Europe.

Speaking to Develop after his keynote, Gosen explained: “We’ve got two new developer account managers dedicated to Europe, which we’ve never had before, to really work hand in glove with developers across the whole suite of different size and shape companies in the territory today.”

He also echoed a recent call by fellow Xbox exec Chris Satchell asking the games industry to be more willing to court the next generation of games developers.

"There is an obligation to all of us to have a good talent strategy.

“We have to grow new talent in the industry. [Our investment and the upcoming Community Games channel] is us supporting the industry, as we know you have to bring talent through. It’s really difficult today for new developers to break through and for them to get people to look at their games, and it’s really difficult once someone has looked at a game to give them access to sell that game on.”

In his keynote, Gosen also told attendees that he firmly thinks Xbox 360 will win out against the PlayStation 3 in this generation as Microsoft continues to promote the platform amongst consumers and developers, widening its audience and adding new features.

He also echoed comments from SCEE CEO David Reeves at Sony’s own developer event, saying that Microsoft also expects downloaded games to soon overtake traditional retail. “There’s no question digital will overtake physical. It happened in music and will happen to our industry,” he said, saying that premium downloadable content and Xbox Live Arcade proved that “digital will be the dominant force in future”.

But Gosen’s views differ with Sony’s on one key point – which next-gen console will rule the generation.

“We’re going to invest in this region to ensure we win,” he said, leaving attendees to look at his last presentation slide, which bullishly proclaimed ‘We WILL outsell the PlayStation 3’.

The full interview with Gosen, in which he discusses Microsoft’s ‘peripheral strategy’ and the way it plans to invest in the expansion of the games market and the development community supporting Xbox, will be published on Develop later this week.