Former Xbox director Robbie Bach had a lot of praise for Xbox Live and Kinect today. Speaking at the Project Management Exp 2016, the former boss shared some interesting inside stories about the early days of the Xbox brand, and how it shaped up to be what it is now.
According to him, one of the major factors when the original Xbox launched was online gaming, which eventually gave rise to Xbox Live, and then later on Kinect. He addressed this during the Q&A session, suggesting how critical Xbox Live was to the overall Xbox program.
“When Xbox launched, one of the things we bet on was online gaming. That doesn’t sound very innovative today, but in 2002, it was very innovative. That business decision changed Xbox.”
In an era where Sony was essentially dominating the console market with the PlayStation 2, the original Xbox managed to survive during to the combination of Xbox Live and the critical success of Halo: Combat Evolved, according to Bach.
Despite the success of Halo: Combat Evolved, PlayStation 2’s overwhelming dominance still saw the Xbox witnessing a massive $5 billion loss. Back then, it was a loss Microsoft could afford because of success in other markets, primarily Windows.
Now, he believes Xbox Live has had a huge influence on the way people think and develop games.
“Now, the rest of the industry has copied and emulated to dramatic effect and has really changed the way people think about video games. You had voice with every customer; you could find your friends easily on the service. This was social networking before MySpace and before Facebook.”
During the speech, Bach also highlighted how the Kinect was not a part of Microsoft’s original version of the Xbox 360. Partially in response to Nintendo’s success with the motioned based Wii console, Microsoft decided to add motion-based equipment to the Xbox 360 system, and incorporate it into future iterations (the Xbox One).
Bach’s praise of Xbox Live isn’t without cause – it was recently revealed that Xbox Live concurrent user base amasses to a whopping 46 million, with a very large part of the base gaming on the Xbox 360.