What follows are some more highlights from the interview. I recommend you read the entire interview because I think it's a good read.
Source: CNet News
What are some of the primary goals with Xbox 2?
Broadening the market, having media capabilities that when there's a PC, we connect up to that. This whole story of the Windows Media Connect and how all the formats and rights management and that simple Media Center menu that's just got TV, photos, music right there--those are common elements we're bringing to all the home devices.
We didn't do Xbox just to do a video game; we did it to be part of our vision of the digital lifestyle, and with the next generation, we really get to go there. In the first generation, we had one simple goal, which was to establish credibility as a great video game platform.
Yes, great video gaming but videogaming for a broader set of people, more communications, more media, more connectivity. And at the same time, we move up to things like high-definition graphics and wireless that the chip breakthroughs allow us to get to.
There's a big debate over whether games will surpass movies and TV as a bigger portion of revenue in the entertainment industry. What do you think will happen?
Well, there are a couple things to look at. Instant messaging will go from just being a text thing to also being voice and video and music, so instant messaging, particularly for young people but in general, is very, very explosive.
And Xbox Live is really talking to your friends, doing things with your friends. And as we bring in new game titles that are more approachable, appeal to different demographics, the boundary between what's game playing, what's socialization and what's communication--you will have really broken down the barriers there.
We can make these hot, super great graphics games something that are easy for people to use. That's a big initiative we have as we move to the next generation of Xbox. Likewise, the connection between the Xbox Live and our Messenger will be really simple so people can say, "Hey, come and play," "Oh, okay, I'm finishing my homework, I'm almost done, I'll get on and play with you." And so even as they're connected up to each other, they don't think of, "Oh no, now I'm gaming, now I'm communicating."
One thing that's kind of intriguing in Xbox 2 is you're participating a little more on the design of the silicon.
Well, we have some key partners that we've announced. ATI and IBM are the key chip partners, and there are some others. But I'd say our sophistication is much higher in this second generation. So every level, what we're doing in tools, what we're doing in Live, the way we're working with the publishers, the way that we've gotten involved in the hardware design--we're being very coy about when and all that, but I'm certainly excited when it comes time to show at how much smarter we are getting to do it a second time with the team that's been built there.
What changes does this mean for Microsoft? Do you see yourself becoming, let's say, more of a seller of content?
Well, the most explosive piece of content this holiday season was "Halo 2." We sold 6.3 million copies, we've had 69 million hours of online game play. And so is Microsoft a content company? Well, I'd say "Master and Commander" is good--people have talked about how the story made them cry--that's content, but it's also software.