Former Microsoft President and Chief Xbox Officer, Robbie Bach, revealed several interesting facts, some of them concerning the early days of Xbox and the creation of the console.
Bach stated that during his management, from 1988 till November 2010, the hardest time was the launch of the original Xbox and how they had to do it in less than 18 months. He also said that the team “didn’t work very well together” and that he wasn’t a “complete leader” at the time, which resulted in the company losing more than $5 billion, according to his evaluation.
Bach sees that Xbox Live has changed the gaming industry “in a dramatic way,” and has put the infrastructure for all the online social gaming services after it. Xbox Live was supposed to launch alongside the original Xbox, but we saw it a whole year after. Bach explained that the reason for this delay was because they didn’t have “a real, committed vision” for it, so that “wasted a lot of time.”
He detailed how and why Microsoft acquired Rare. Microsoft lacked first-party developers at the beginning, so they chose Rare, as they were “interested in changing their relationship away from Nintendo,” and they took advantage of the opportunity. Although, he described the Rare acquisition as “not as successful as acquiring Bungie.”
At any company, their teams pitch concept ideas all the time, and at Microsoft, the Xboy was one of those weird concepts. For those of you who don’t know what the Xboy was supposed to be, it was set to be a handheld gaming device.
Bach revealed that the original idea came out after the launch of the Xbox, and then it was proposed again in the days of the Xbox 360. He sees that not going forward with it, was for the best, since it wouldn’t have been successful anyway.
He commented on the industry’s status now, saying that “it’s much healthier than it used to be in the past”. In addition to that, he sees that the industry now isn’t just about gaming, since there is the mobile market and entertainment aspects.
He talked about the rise of the PC market, and that “it’s stronger than it has ever been before”. He also sees that virtual reality can really add to the industry as a whole, once it gets stable and supported.
Be sure to check out his upcoming book, Xbox Revisited: A Game Plan for Corporate and Civic Renewal.